Tim Pawlenty positioned himself as the underdog going into the Ames Straw poll, saying he hoped the campaign would move from “back of the pack to closer to front of the pack.”
“We’re going to show good progress at the Ames Straw poll,” Pawlenty said on Fox News Sunday, but added that the “real goal is those caucuses.”
Pawlenty, who acknowledged that his campaign is “seeing momentum on the ground” in Iowa, pushed back against the perception that he was in third place in Iowa (as the RealClearPolitics analysis of recent polls shows him to be) and instead cited the June Des Moines Register poll that showed him in sixth place.
He also maintained that Michele Bachmann does not have the executive experience necessary to be president.
“I said her record was non-existent,” Pawlenty said, noting that Bachmann had not succeeded in passing legislation that cut government spending or reformed health-care. “That’s not disputable. That’s a matter of fact.”
Pawlenty pointed to the difficulties caused by President Obama’s lack of executive experience. “He hadn’t run anything … And his record of results are essentially non-existent. We don’t want to repeat that mistake,” Pawlenty observed.
Asked by Fox News host Chris Wallace if he was comparing Bachmann to Obama, Pawlenty spoke carefully. “Whether it’s any candidate, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say . . . that the next president should have executive experience,” he said.
He brought up his work in Minnesota as proof that he could help Washington out of gridlock, noting that he had never had both state chambers have a Republican majority. “I don’t just flap my jaw,” he said, pointing to his successes in Minnesota, including balancing budget without hiking taxes and appointing conservative judges. “My record is one of the best, maybe the best, of any governor in the country,” Pawlenty said.