Tim Pawlenty countered fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann’s big day in Iowa Monday with a radio ad that highlights his record of “results not rhetoric” as the conservative former governor of a liberal state, who slowed government spending growth and appointed conservative Supreme Court justices.
Bachmann, a member of Congress from Minnesota whose feisty rhetoric has made her a national leader of the tea-party movement, formally kicked off her candidacy for president with a speech in Waterloo, Iowa, her hometown, at the beginning of a three-state barnstorming tour.
She has taken on high profile causes – including introducing the first bill to repeal President Obama’s health-care overhaul – but has had few concrete legislative results in her six years in the U.S. House.
But Bachmann is killing Pawlenty in Iowa, at least according to a Des Moines Register poll of likely caucus-goers, released Saturday – and the former governor needs to close the gap.
Bachmann was the first choice of 22 percent of respondents, tied with early frontrunner Mitt Romney, named by 23 percent. Pawlenty was in sixth position, as the first choice of six percent of likely caucus-goers, according to the poll.
Pawlenty said he wasn’t worried about the poll results during an appearance on the NBC “Today Show” Monday.
“These early polls are not very good predictors of how the race is going to come out. If they were, we would have Hillary Clinton as president,” Pawlenty said. “Iowans decide late.”
Indeed, a similar poll ahead of the 2008 caucuses found former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 4 percent, and he ended up winning the state – a fact Pawlenty noted.
Here’s the script for the new radio spot. Pawlenty already has television ads up in Iowa, and has staked a great deal on a strong showing in the August 13 straw poll run by the state party in Ames, Iowa.
Not exactly a conservative place.
Then came Tim Pawlenty, widely recognized as the most conservative governor in Minnesota history.
Here's Tim Pawlenty:
Pawlenty:When I ran for governor I said, look, we have to tell the truth, and the truth is, the liberal approach has failed our state.
Announcer: For decades, Minnesota spending had grown at twenty percent. Tim Pawlenty shrank that down to one percent, and cut spending in real terms for the first time in history.
But that's not all.
Pawlenty did heath care reform the right way. No mandates. No takeovers.
And on nominating judges?
Pro-life Pawlenty turned a liberal supreme court into a conservative one.
Pawlenty: If I can do it in Minnesota, we can do it in Washington.
I'm Tim Pawlenty and I approved this message.
Announcer: Tim Pawlenty: Results, Not Rhetoric.