In its early stages, the Republican presidential contest has subdivided into two separate but equally important two-person races.
In Iowa, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is fighting for his life against fellow Minnesotan Rep. Michelle Bachmann, each seeking to become the right-wing alternative to frontrunner Mitt Romney by winning that state’s caucuses. And New Hampshire features a kind of establishment primary between Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, fellow Mormons who both occupy center-right ground.
Pawlenty ripped into Bachmann on “Meet the Press” Sunday. He had to hit her at some point. She has completely overshadowed his campaign, which was predicated on winning the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. Bachmann had 22 percent in a Des Moines Register poll two weeks ago, to an alarmingly low 6 percent for T-Paw.
“Her record of accomplishment in Congress is non-existent,” Pawlenty said on Meet. “We’re not looking for folks who just have speech capabilities…We’re looking for people who can lead a large enterprise in a public setting and drive it to conclusion. I’ve done that; she hasn’t.”