Rep. Michele Bachmann and fellow Minnesotan former Gov. Tim Pawlenty wasted no time in taking each other’s records to task in Thursday’s Iowa GOP debate, with Pawlenty saying Bachmann’s time in Congress was void of accomplishment and Bachmann countering that Pawlenty’s decisions as governor were similar to those of President Barack Obama.
“As to Congresswoman Bachmann’s record, she’s done wonderful things in her life, absolutely wonderful things — but it’s an indisputable fact that in Congress her record of accomplishment and results is nonexistent,” Pawlenty said. “That’s not good enough for our candidate for president of the United States — that’s not going to be good enough for the president of the United States.
“The American people are going to expect more and demand more and we need somebody who can contrast with Barack Obama on results,” he said. “My record in Minnesota — you’ll see government spending went down from historic highs to historic lows; we appointed conservative justices, transformed the court in the conservative direction. We did healthcare reform the right way — no mandates individually, no government takeovers . . . that’s the kind of record we’re going to need to contrast and beat Obama.”
Bachmann argued her congressional record shows she has fought against Obama’s “unconstitutional” policies, while Pawlenty as governor made decisions in lock step with those of the president.
“Governor Pawlenty: When you were governor in Minnesota you implemented cap and trade in our state, and you praised the unconstitutional individual mandate, and you called for requiring all people in our state to purchase health insurance that government would mandate,” Bachmann said. “You said the era of small government was over — that sounds a lot more like Barack Obama if you ask me. During my time in the U.S. Congress, I have fought all of these unconstitutional measures, as well as Barack Obama, and I lead against increasing the debt ceiling in the last two months.”
Pawlenty said Bachmann’s comments were surprising, as she did not criticize him when he was Minnesota’s governor, adding misstatements were in her repertoire.
“That’s not the kind of things she said when I was Governor of Minnesota — moreover she has a record of misstating and making false statements — and that’s another example . . . that list,” Pawlenty said. “She says she’s fighting for these things: She fought for less government spending, we got a lot more. She led the effort against Obamacare — we got Obamacare. She led the effort against TARP, we got TARP. She says she’s got a titanium spine — it’s not her spine we’re worried about — it’s her record of results. If that’s your view of effective leadership with results, please stop — because you’re killing us.”
Bachmann said she fought against Obamacare and it was passed despite her opposition.
“I was at the tip of the spear fighting against the implementation of Obamacare in the U.S. Congress — Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama ran Congress, but I gave them a run for their money,” she said. “Again, on cap and trade, I was there from the very beginning giving Speaker Pelosi a run for her money. When others ran, I fought.”
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