Tim Pawlenty Now Airborne in Iowa

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is up and on the air in Iowa with a slew of cable ads highlighting his record of accomplishments during his tenure as Minnesota’s governor.

“A lot of candidates will come to Iowa and say the same things. The question is have they done it?” is Pawlenty’s opening line in his first commercial.

In addition to the $50,000 cable buy, the Pawlenty campaign unveiled a new website dedicated to the Iowa straw poll and his ads. Pawlenty is seeking to break away from the pack by being the first to go into Iowa living rooms. The ads are currently scheduled to run from June 22 to July 3 in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Omaha, Ottumwa, Rochester and Sioux City markets.

The new spot appeals to the Republican base and touts his conservative credentials in saying he “reduced spending in real terms” and “took on the government unions and won.”

The Democratic National Committee was quick to respond saying the title of the ad should be “smell test” – “because it doesn’t pass it.”

“The Minnesota Tim Pawlenty left behind wasn’t nearly as rosy as he’d like voters in Iowa to believe,” the DNC said today. “Tim Pawlenty left Minnesota with a projected $6.2 billion deficit, higher property taxes, higher tuition rates and all this after spending on critical services for education and seniors.” The DNC also went on to challenge Pawlenty on increasing health care cost for families.

But increasing health care costs are also a subject Pawlenty routinely brings up when referring to former Governor Mitt Romney’s health care experiment when he was governor of Massachusetts. While he doesn’t mention Romney in the ad, it says Pawlenty “passed health care reform the right way – no mandates, no takeovers.”

Pawlenty often refers to Romney’s health care plan as “Obamneycare” or a phrase he began using on Tuesday, “Robamacare.”

If the former Minnesota governor gets under the Democrats skin on healthcare, then his longtime and on-going feud with the teachers union, who Pawlenty describes as “out of control,” will find him further at odds with the democratic base.

“As to the teacher unions, they are most formidable obstacles to meaningful and rapid education reform in the country, bar none. They stand for defending the status quo at all costs, at every turn,” Pawlenty said during a visit to POLITICO offices. “The number one impediment to almost every aspect of education reform, from a conservative perspective, has been the teachers unions and the gig is up on them.”

Speaking on issues of international intervention, Pawlenty also told POLITICO, “I don’t like the drift of the Republican Party toward what appears to be a retreat or a move towards isolationism.”

Pawlenty’s statement puts him at odds with candidates such as Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), but it is still Romney he is aiming for.

“I don’t know how to interpret his comments during the [recent New Hampshire] debate,” he said. “He walked them back post-debate in a couple of publications, so I’m not sure where he landed finally on that.”