Michele Bachmann is no longer putting up with her rival presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty’s repeated jibes about her “nonexistent” executive experience, finally hitting back on Sunday.
“Executive experience is not an asset if it simply means bigger and more intrusive government,” Rep. Bachmann of Minnesota snapped, marking a departure from her previous resolve not to respond to negative attacks by her home state rival Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota.
The Minnesota congresswoman sought to draw a contrast between her “accomplishments” in Congress – namely opposition to the recently passed health-care reform law, cap-and-trade legislation, and $700-billion TARP or Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout – and Minnesota’s “budget woes” for which she holds Pawlenty responsible.
“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,” added Bachmann, a former federal tax attorney who made appearances in Davenport, Muscatine and Marion in Iowa Sunday.
She quoted Pawlenty’s 2006 statement, “The era of small government is over… the government has to be more proactive and more aggressive,” and said that’s the same philosophy Obama subscribed to that has brought “record deficits, massive unemployment, and an unconstitutional health care plan.”
The mother of five, and foster mother to 23, said she had a “lifetime record of success and action in the real world.”
“At 55, I bring a record of success in the real world in business, the law, and in fighting for our principles. I am self-made. I worked my way through school. I have a post-doctorate degree in federal tax law from William and Mary. I worked in the U.S. Federal Tax Court as a federal tax litigation attorney. I am a job creator,” said Bachmann.
Pawlenty’s camp, which seemingly views Bachmann as the biggest threat, was prompt in issuing a rejoinder. “The truth is that there is very little difference between Gov. Pawlenty and Congresswoman Bachmann on their issue positions,” Pawlenty’s spokesman Alex Conant said.
The difference, Conant added, was that when 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, Bachmann was “giving speeches and offering failed amendments, all while struggling mightily to hold onto the most Republican house seat in the state.”
Pawlenty’s reply was greeted with another statement by Bachmann. “There is very little difference between Governor Pawlenty’s past positions and Barack Obama’s positions on several critical issues facing Americans,” the Congresswoman said. “On issues such as unconstitutional healthcare mandates, climate change regulations, and Wall Street bailouts, there’s very little daylight, indeed, between Governor Pawlenty’s record and the Obama administration’s policies.”
Bachmann said President Obama would surely applaud Pawlenty’s 2006 statement that the “era of small government is over,” and that the government would have to be “more proactive and more aggressive,” adding that there was “a world of difference between the two [Bachmann and Pawlenty].”
Pawlenty’s sharpest jibe at Bachmann came earlier in the month on July 10 when he told CNN that he doubted America would “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.”
But now, Bachmann has made it clear: Pawlenty’s sneers, if they continue, will no longer be a monologue; it’s a dialogue.