Tag Archives: tim pawlenty.

2012 Presidential Republican Primary Debate In Iowa pt.9

2012 Presidential Republican Primary Debate In Iowa pt.9

JOHN PODHORETZ comments on the Republican debate below:

Republican debate: Time to get real


Last Updated: 8:28 AM, August 12, 2011

Posted: 1:55 AM, August 12, 2011

Last night’s Fox News-Washington Examiner debate in Iowa was the most sheerly entertaining political event in decades — a rapid-fire, no-holds-barred multiplayer smackdown with the toughest set of questions ever posed to presidential candidates.The Republicans were challenged as candidates rarely are challenged, and by two journalistic organizations generally considered friendly to the GOP.The questioning was so sharp that Newt Gingrich was reduced to complaining about having to explain two contradictory quotes about Libya because Fox hadn’t included a third quote of his.Indeed, the debate ranged so widely and so quickly that several candidates rose and fell in the course of it.Take the breakout star of the first two debates, Michele Bachmann.She saw an opening when she was attacked by her fellow Minnesotan, ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and proceeded to chew up him and spit him out.Advantage Bachmann.

But then she chewed on him and chewed on him and began looking mean.

Ten points taken from Bachmann.

Then she was asked a real doozy by Byron York of the Examiner about whether she actually believed a woman should “submit” to her husband — a view she has promulgated in the past — and answered quietly and with a profession of love and respect for her husband. Bachmann was back!

Then, 10 minutes later, she gave an answer on her opposition to raising the debt ceiling so incoherent that even those inclined to support her view must have been baffled and confused.

She claimed the Standard and Poor’s downgrade supported her view when S&P actually said the very fact that the need for a debt-ceiling increase had been in dispute helped cause the downgrade. Bad Bachmann.

Charting her performance in the debate would be like charting the Dow over the last week. Volatile would be the word for it, and volatility is not what Republicans are looking for in a candidate.

As for Pawlenty, rarely has a fluent and well-prepared candidate with a solid record of accomplishment and an ability to think and argue on his feet proved so . . . meh. His candidacy is a wet match, and last night probably marked its end.

Utah ex-Gov. Jon Huntsman’s baffling decision to run for president proved even more baffling when he began the debate by admitting he didn’t have an economic plan ready yet. Throughout, he looked as though he was in the middle of one of those school-anxiety dreams where you’re got to take a final exam on material you’ve never studied.

And then there was Rep. Ron Paul, who said it was fine with him if Iran got nukes and there should be no Federal Reserve Board and America should get off everybody’s lawn. His major combatant was ex-Sen. Rick Santorum, and the two of them sparred and scuffled for no particularly good reason, as neither of them has any business pretending he might be president.

What Republicans nationally are looking for in a candidate is someone who can win next year. And yet again, there was no question that the only plausible candidate on the stage fitting the description was Mitt Romney.

Romney is a weak frontrunner for all kinds of reasons, but standing on a stage next to seven other people who have no chance of being president, he looks like a Colossus.

So he won. Again. But his performance was sufficiently unmemorable that he is clearly vulnerable to a strong showing by the incoming Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Or just about anybody else serious who might want to get in.

This is a race Republicans can win. There’s still time. Romney’s got problems. Perry’s far from perfect. The next debate should be one that isn’t just fun, but that actually features a genuine argument between two or three people who might actually be president.


2012 Presidential Republican Primary Debate In Iowa pt.8

2012 Presidential Republican Primary Debate In Iowa pt.8

Iowa debate turns Minnesota nasty
By: Alexander Burns
August 11, 2011 10:14 PM EDT
AMES, Iowa — The simmering rivalry between Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmannerupted at Thursday night’s Republican primary debate here, transforming Iowa’s first 2012 forum into a full-blown slugfest.The Minnesota duo have been in a low-grade tug of war for months over the affections of Iowa conservatives. With a crucial test looming for both at the Ames Straw Pollthis Saturday, the Pawlenty-Bachmann rivalry turned so intense that it threatened to crowd out the other candidates completely.The charges were familiar: Pawlenty once again called Bachmann’s accomplishments “nonexistent.” Bachmann wielded well-worn attacks on Pawlenty’s tenure as governor.But this was their most ferocious exchange to date — with more than a hint of desperation visible for both.

“She speaks of leading these [conservative] efforts in Washington and Minnesota,” Pawlenty lashed out. “Leading and failing is not the objective.”

Bachmann assailed Pawlenty with a litany of alleged deviations from conservative orthodoxy, blasting: “When you were governor, you implemented cap-and-trade in our state and you praised the unconstitutional individual mandate.

“You said the era of small government is over. That sounds a lot more like Barack Obama if you ask me,” Bachmann said.

The caustic exchanges were no accident: A defeat on Saturday could snap Bachmann’s momentum in the race, or seal Pawlenty’s fate as a 2012 also-ran.

For the race beyond the straw poll, however, neither the candidates nor the moderators did much to draw blood from national front-runner Mitt Romney, who sauntered unscathed through his second consecutive debate.

The questions from Fox News and the Washington Examiner lobbed potentially difficult questions at Romney, asking him to defend his record on taxes in Massachusetts and his near-absence from the recent debate over whether to raise the federal debt ceiling.

On both issues, Romney stuck to narrow talking points, declaring that his support for the conservative Cut, Cap and Balance pledge told voters all they needed to know about his views on the debt ceiling.

Asked about a presentation his administration once gave to Standard & Poor’s, saying that Massachusetts deserved a credit rating upgrade in part because it raised taxes, Romney sidestepped the issue entirely.

Romney was barely challenged on his carefully parsed answers. With Pawlenty and Bachmann focused on each other, and several of the other candidates flailing in their attempts to stand out from the crowd, Romney took little heat from his fellow Republicans.

Indeed, virtually all of the candidates helped confirm — in one form or another — that Romney will likely face a tougher political challenge from a late-announcing candidate like Texas Gov. Rick Perry than from any of his currently declared rivals.


With the exception of raucous back-and-forths between Rick Santorum and Ron Paul on Iran and marriage, they did little to capture the spotlight.

Jon Huntsman, who was making his first performance in a 2012 presidential debate, fell short of his campaign’s recent promises that he would take a more aggressive approach to delivering his message to draw contrasts with his rivals. On Thursday night, the former Utah governor delivered only the softest and most implicit of criticism of his opponents, alluding to candidates who want to “run from their record,” in an apparent reference to Mitt Romney.

For the most part, Huntsman spoke softly and carried an exceedingly well-mannered set of talking points reminiscent of the civil campaign he promised when he launched last month.

None of the other candidates seemed to have a moment on stage to give them an extra head of steam going into the straw poll, though Paul drew repeated rounds of applause from his enthusiastic fans as he delivered his distinctive libertarian message.

Perhaps the most memorable moment of the night — outside the Bachmann-Pawlenty blowups — wasn’t instigated by a candidate at all, but rather by Byron York.

The Washington Examiner columnist queried Bachmann about a story she once told, relating how she decided to become a tax lawyer at her husband’s urging, out of a belief that wives should be “submissive” to their spouses.

Would Bachmann, York asked, be submissive to her husband if she were president?

Bachmann paused as a murmur ran through the crowd, and then began her answer: “Thank you for that question, Byron.”

“Marcus and I will have been married for 33 years this Sept. 10,” Bachmann said, explaining that to her and her husband, being submissive “means respect.”

“I respect my husband,” she said. “And he respects me as his wife. That’s how we operate our marriage. We respect each other. We love each other.”

Gingrich, too, won a moment of applause by pushing back at the moderators, in a blunter way than Bachmann.

Asked for the umpteenth time to explain the mass exodus of campaign staffers in June by Fox’s Chris Wallace, the former House speaker fumed: “I took seriously [Fox anchor] Bret [Baier]’s injunction to put aside the talking points. I wish you would put aside the gotcha questions.”

At times, Gingrich displayed the kind of fluency with issues that earned him a reputation as the GOP’s ideas man. He cut the professorial, wonky profile he cultivated for years before deciding to seek the White House, seeming closer to finding a comfortable role for himself in the 2012 field.

Still, overshadowing the whole debate was anticipation of a new strong candidate — Perry — entering the 2012 field Saturday.

And as the moderators noted, at least two other prominent Republicans, Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, have not ruled out campaigns of their own. Palin is scheduled to visit the Iowa State Fair on Friday.

The candidates professed indifference at the prospect of new competition.

“Welcome to the contest,” Herman Cain said when he was asked about a potential Perry campaign. “From my perspective, it doesn’t bother us or my campaign. That’s just one more politician and that makes this business problem solver stand out that much more.”

2012 Presidential Republican Primary Debate In Iowa pt.3

2012 Presidential Republican Primary Debate In Iowa pt.3

Analysis from Politico below:

Pawlenty: ‘It’s not about gender’

By ALEXANDER BURNS | 8/12/11 9:48 AM EDT

Tim Pawlenty kept up his searing criticism of Michele Bachmann Friday morning, deriding the notion that the Minnesota congresswoman has been a “leader” for conservative causes.

At POLITICO’s Playbook Breakfast in Des Moines, Pawlenty disputed the notion that he had gone after Bachmann too harshly in Thursday night’s GOP presidential debate. Pawlenty said he didn’t think he’d pay a price for attacking the lone female candidate on the stage.

“It’s not about gender. It’s about the issues and it’s about results and it’s about leading and saving our country,” Pawlenty said, noting that “Congresswoman Bachmann likes to assign herself the label of the leader.”

“She says, ‘I led the charge against Obamacare.’ Well, we ended up with Obamacare,” Pawlenty said, mentioning Bachmann’s unsuccessful opposition to federal spending and the 2008 bank bailout.

“Everything she’s led the charge against, she’s failed to accomplish. That’s not gonna be good enough for our nominee for president of the United States,” Pawlenty said. “We’re not gonna have a nominee and we’re not gonna put somebody in the Oval Office who has not achieved results during her time in Congress.”

2012 Presidential Republican Primary Debate In Iowa pt.1

2012 Presidential Republican Primary Debate In Iowa pt.1

Jason Tolbert on his blog made these comments:

The next couple of days will lead to major events in Iowa impacting the Republican 2012 Presidential race, including tonight’s Fox News debate and the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday. 

We have already seen Mitt Romney have an interesting “Corporations are people, my friend” moment with a heckler at the state fair, which sort of reminded me of Charlton Heston in Soylent Green.  Tomorrow, Sarah Palin will be making a surprise stop on her bus tour.  It is not completely clear exactly why – something about preferring fried butter-on-a-stick to peas.  Mike Huckabee will also be making the round airing his Fox News show live and playing the bass guitar at the booths of candidates that he likes.

Here is my take on how the events can affect the candidates from a right-leaning blogger located 600 miles away.  For insight from Iowa bloggers, I would recommend Iowa Independent and Iowa Republican.

Michelle Bachmann – Expectations for Bachmann are sky-high going down the stretch.  Since the last debate a couple of weeks ago, she has become the Iowa “non-Romney” front-runner.  Anything less than a first-place finish in the straw poll and a solid debate performance could burst her bubble.

Ron Paul – Mark my words, Paul will do well at the straw poll.  His supporters are die-hard and would walk through walls to vote for him.  The problem for Paul is that he shows no signs of being able to attract support from the other 80 to 90 percent of the party.  His supporters will have a big weekend, but it very well could be the high point of their campaign.

Tim Pawlenty – In my opinion, this weekend is “make-or-break” for Pawlenty.  He has completely fallen off the map in the last couple of months and a poor showing in Thursday’s debate and/or the straw poll will all but end his chances.  However, unlike Bachmann, the expectations for Pawlenty are very low.  A third place finish could be a glimmer of hope that keeps him alive for another day, but anything less and he really ought to drop out.

Breakout candidates – There is a chance for a long list of candidates to surprise folks with a strong showing.  Rick Santorum probably stands the best chance of doing this as he appeals to the socially conservative Iowa Republican voter.  Herman Cain could get a small boost from the FairTax group, although they are not providing him anywhere close to the support they provided Huckabee four years ago.  Newt Gingrich could also surprise people, but I doubt it.  I have not figured out why he is still running.

Mitt Romney – Romney is still the national frontrunner, but is making the conscious decision to ignore Iowa.  After tonight’s debate, he is leaving Iowa and heading to New Hampshire.  Iowans do not like to be ignored and he will probably pay the price at the straw poll