Pawlenty vs Bachmann: Debate Quirrel Extends into the Press

As much of a #facepalm moment the debate became when Gov. Tim Pawlenty started a back-and-forth, playground-style tiff with Rep. Bachmann, it didn’t end there.

Press releases were sent immediately to all news outlets explain why each one was right and who had lied.

The fight started on July 10th when Pawlenty hinted that he was going to try to knock Bachmann off of her high-polling perch.

Then Bachmann hit back on July 25th comparing Pawlenty to Obama on everything from climate change to taxes.

We finally get to August 11th and the GOP debate – nothing has changed.

Bachmann has been strong in the polls lately while Pawlenty has been struggling, to put it lightly. Grabbing just 2% of likely voters, the former governor seemed to be grasping at straws – no pun intended.

After the debate, both campaigns sent out a flurry of press releases to try and re-message the disaster this little cat fight turned into.

45 minutes into the debate, we received this:

Tim Pawlenty’s executive experience is not an asset if it simply means bigger and more intrusive government.

“The era of small government is over,” Pawlenty said in an interview with the Star Tribune. “I’m a market person, but there are certain circumstances where you’ve got to have government put up the guardrails or bust up entrenched interests before they become too powerful … Government has to be more proactive, more aggressive.” (Star Tribune August 19, 2006)

That’s the same philosophy which, under President Obama, has brought us record deficits, massive unemployment and an unconstitutional health care plan.

“Back in 2006, Pawlenty was portraying himself as a conservative who was willing to intervene in markets, and he said that government has to “bust up entrenched interests before they become too powerful.” It appears he’s been backing off those positions in 2011, but that doesn’t change what his views were years ago. If he was quoting David Brooks when he said “the era of small government is over,” he seemed to be doing so approvingly… (https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/jul/26/michele-bachmann/did-tim-pawlenty-say-era-small-government-over/)

Tim Pawlenty supported a cap and trade system, but tried to deny it.

“Pawlenty told Fox News Sunday on Jan. 16 that he ‘never did sign a bill relating to cap and trade’ when he was governor of Minnesota, but that’s not true. He also said: ‘I’ve opposed cap and trade.’ However, that’s been the case only since 2009.

“In fact, the bill he signed in 2007 specifically required a task force to ‘recommend how the state could adopt’ a cap-and-trade system. Furthermore, he also signed a regional compact with other Midwestern governors agreeing to ‘jointly endeavor’ to ‘develop a market-based and multi-sector cap-and-trade mechanism.'” (FactCheck.org https://www.factcheck.org/2011/01/pawlentys-political-climate-change/)

Tim Pawlenty was for government bail-outs before he was against them.

“So from a pure marketplace principle, you would not bail them out. But we also have to measure that against the consequences to the rest of the country. And, you know, that is an imperfect solution, but, like has been said, they are too big, the consequences are too severe for innocent bystanders to allow them to fail.” (National Press Club on August 6, 2008)

Tim Pawlenty held views on health care that are strikingly similar to Barack Obama.

“He favored exchanges and was ‘open to’ mandates. Then he ran for president.”

“In 2006, Pawlenty praised Romney for attacking health care costs, said he was ‘open to’ a similar insurance mandate and endorsed the idea that ‘everybody should be in a health plan of some sort.’

‘We all, I think, can chart a path toward universal coverage,’ he said in a luncheon speech to a Minneapolis health reform conference. ‘We’re going to have to move in stages.”

“In 2007, Pawlenty asked the Legislature to create a state-regulated health insurance exchange for individual health insurance policies — now the centerpiece of Obama’s plan to expand access to those who don’t have group insurance through their employers.

“‘It seems like there were two Pawlentys with regard to health care,’ said state Rep. Paul Thissen, a DFL leader who served on the governor’s bipartisan Health Transformation Task Force.” (Star Tribune August 6, 2011)

Tim Pawlenty raised taxes in Minnesota

“Tim Pawlenty misled readers in an op-ed by saying he solved Minnesota’s budget crisis in 2005 without raising taxes. Pawlenty’s 75-cents-per-pack cigarette tax — which he called a “health impact fee” — helped forge a budget deal…” (https://www.factcheck.org/2011/07/pawlenty-taxes-and-budget-crises/)  

10 minutes later, the Pawlenty campaign sent this:

Fact check on Bachmann's false attack

Pawlenty Cautioned Against Political Meddling In Health Care Policy And Twice Rejected The Individual Mandate, In 2003 And 2006:

Governor Pawlenty CriticizedPolitical Meddling In Health Policy. “Pawlenty also peppered his remarks with broad criticism of the nation’s current ‘tattered, outdated, inefficient’ health care system and hard shots at health maintenance organizations (HMOs), prescription drug advertising and political meddling in health policy” (Conrad Defiebre, “Pawlenty: Give Health Coverage To All Kids,” MinneapolisStar Tribune, 11/15/06)

The National Journal Singled Out Pawlenty For Rejecting Individual Mandates Twice As Governor Of Minnesota, In 2003 And 2008. “MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) defied recommendations made to him by advisers twice in the last 6 years about working to install individual mandates for health insurance coverage — and in doing so may have stockpiled some points he can use to score with the GOP base.” (Erin McPike, “Pawlenty Twice Turned Down Mandate,” The National Journal, 3/31/10)

The Star Tribune Issued A Correction For The “Era Of Small Government” Misquote Three Days Later After A Battle Pawlenty Discussed On Rush Limbaugh Several Months Ago:

The Star Tribune Issued A Correction For The “Era Of Small Government” Misquote. “An article on Page 01B Saturday quoted Gov. Tim Pawlenty saying ‘The era of small government is over,’ a comment he made in reference to a point made in a 2004 column by New York Times columnist David Brooks. Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said Monday that Pawlenty’s record shows he is not a supporter of ‘big government’ and that he was ‘simply talking about the need for government to be more effective and active.'” (“Corrections,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/22/06)

In May 2011, Pawlenty Addressed The Misquote On Rush Limbaugh And The Battle To Get The Correction Printed. “Gov. Pawlenty: ‘Well, actually I’m glad you brought that up, Rush, because it gives me a chance to clarify. The other side has pushed that falsely for a number of years. What happened is in the Minnesota Star Tribune — not exactly a conservative publication — I made reference to an articlethat David Brooks wrote which was entitled, “The Eera of Small Government is Over.” I didn’t say those words myself; I was referencing his article. Yeah, and so the next day — the very next day — the Star Tribune, after a big battle, printed a clarification or a correction in their correction page. Of course, the main article was on page one and the correction was buried in some footnote in page three, but that incorrect quote has haunted me — and I’m glad I had a chance in this big national forum on your great show to clarify, because if you go to the next day’s newspaper you’ll see the clarification in the Star Tribune.'” (“Our Interview With Tim Pawlenty,” Rush Limbaugh, 5/23/11)

Neither Pawlenty nor Bachmann fared well in this exchange. The petty and angry exchange came off a bit raw. Bachmann had nothing to gain and failed to ignore the fledgling candidate. Pawlenty had nothing to lose and probably harmed a fellow Republican.

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Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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