Reporting from Cedar Rapids, Iowa —
After ignoring jibes from her homestate rival, Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann hit back at Tim Pawlenty on Sunday, accusing him of aligning himself with President Obama.
“Real-world actions speak louder than the words of career politicians,” Bachmann said in a statement.
The Minnesota congresswoman has been drowning Pawlenty in the polls since entering the race in June. In recent days Pawlenty has directly called out Bachmann, saying her congressional record is nonexistent and that voters cannot afford to send another politician to the White House who lacks executive experience.
“I really doubt … that the nation will or should put somebody into the Oval Office as president of the United States and commander in chief who lacks substantial executive experience running a large enterprise in or out of government," Pawlenty told CNN. "Maybe they will, but I don’t think so. These are really serious times. And there hasn’t been somebody who went from the U.S. House of Representatives to the presidency I think in over 100 years. And there’s a reason for that."
Bachmann avoided engaging with Pawlenty until Sunday, when she ripped his record as governor of Minnesota. She accused him of praising the mandate in Obama’s healthcare reform law and the Wall Street bailout, and backing cap-and-trade legislation while he was governor. She touted her own resume, saying that she worked her way through school, worked as a tax lawyer, is fighting Obama’s healthcare reform law and is a leader of the "tea party" movement.
"These are serious times that require serious solutions, not more of the same. Being right on the issues is critical — it is what the American people demand. Executive experience is not an asset if it simply means bigger and more intrusive government,” Bachmann said.
Pawlenty's campaign responded to the congresswoman's comments by saying that she is inaccurately charachterizing Pawlenty's governorship and arguing that Pawlenty has the more substantive record.
"The truth is that there is very little difference between Gov. Pawlenty and Congresswoman Bachmann on their issue positions," said Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant. "The difference is that when Gov. Pawlenty was scoring conservative victories to cut spending, pass market-based health care reform, and transform a supreme court from liberal to conservative, and was elected twice in a very blue state, Congresswoman Bachmann was giving speeches and offering failed amendments, all while struggling mightily to hold onto the most Republican house seat in the state."