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Entries in Pawlenty (4)

Friday
Aug052011

Countdown to Ames: Key Iowa Event Fast Approaching

Comstock/Thinkstock(AMES, Iowa) -- A week from Friday the year's biggest event in Iowa will kick off when the state fair opens its doors to more than a million visitors. But just up the road from the state capital, a far more serious contest -- and one that doesn't involve a butter sculpting contest -- will unfold only days later when many of the top Republican presidential candidates descend on a college town for an event that could set the tone for the crucial campaign battles ahead: the Ames straw poll.

Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have all been touring the Hawkeye State in recent weeks in an attempt to build support for the straw poll, set for next Saturday.

While other contenders -- frontrunner Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman -- are not officially competing in Ames, they will be keeping a close eye on what happens there. After all, they are on the ballot too.

Four years ago Romney won the straw poll, but it was Mike Huckabee's surprising second-place finish that sent the former Arkansas governor surging to victory in the Iowa caucuses that winter.

This time around Bachmann, Pawlenty and others are hoping to tear out a page from the Huckabee playbook. The secret to success in Ames, pundits say, is the right mix of strong organization, a passionate base, and low expectations. In 2007, Huckabee hardly boasted the organization or war chest of Romney, but his second-place finish -- fervent supporters flocked to Ames -- far exceeded expectations. As Huckabee said at the time, the runner-up result was really "a victory."

Various candidates in this year's field appear to possess ingredients needed to win in Ames. Rep. Bachmann, for instance, enjoys passionate support that has sent her surging up polls in recent months.

In addition, her popularity among evangelicals is similar to Huckabee's four years ago. At events across Iowa, Bachmann's staff typed furiously on iPads to sign up voters for the straw poll. But the flip side to her rise in the polls is that it raises expectations: the Minnesota congresswoman is now viewed as the favorite to win in Ames.

Fellow Minnesota native Tim Pawlenty is in almost the exact opposite position. The former governor has been languishing in the polls. A slew of "pre-obituaries" for his campaign have appeared in the national media.

Even if Ames might not crown an eventual winner, it can spell doom for a candidate who has a dismal performance. The poll has serious financial ramifications: if donors decide on the basis of the Ames results that a candidate cannot win it all, they could stop filling that hopeful's campaign coffers with money.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug032011

Pawlenty to Pull Iowa Ads Off Air Three Days Before Ames Straw Poll

Scott Olson/Getty Images(AMES, Iowa) -- Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty will pull his radio and TV ads off the Iowa airwaves three days before the Aug. 13 Ames straw poll in an effort to focus his resources on turnout at the highly-anticipated event.

“Ames is all about turnout so, of course, in the final few days we're focusing our resources towards getting our supporters to the straw poll,” Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant told ABC News. “We like the position we're in and the direction we're headed.”

Pawlenty has been touring Iowa relentlessly over the past few weeks, at one point trekking around the state in an RV. Later this week, he embarks on another eight-day tour, planning to cover 1,366 miles as he hits 26 cities in 21 counties across the state.

The former Minnesota governor has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ad purchases in Iowa, part of his campaign’s massive push in the Hawkeye State. But come late next week, when the straw poll is just three days away, the Pawlenty campaign will turn its focus from the airwaves to phone calls and mailers to supporters reminding them to turn out on their behalf in Ames.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug032011

Pawlenty Campaign Denies Trying to Manipulate Ames Poll

mn.gov(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Tim Pawlenty’s campaign is pushing back at reports that it's getting help from outside groups at the upcoming Ames Straw Poll.

Craig Robinson at the Iowa Republican reported Tuesday that four Pawlenty consultants in Iowa are working for outside interest groups. The paper claims three of them, Chuck Larson Jr., Karen Slifka, and Ed Failor Jr., reportedly work for the America Petroleum Institute’s Iowa Energy Forum. A fourth, Nicole Schlinger, works for Strong America Now, a debt reduction effort, the paper alleges.

The overlap between the Pawlenty campaign and the outside groups is even evident in one of the former Minnesota governor’s campaign ads. Pawlenty’s ad “The Only Candidate” shows two girls wearing Iowa Energy Forum shirts.

Both the Iowa Energy Forum and Strong America Now are offering free tickets and transportation to the Aug. 13 straw poll, something that could potentially provide a big boost to Pawlenty: if the campaign can tell supporters to hitch a ride to Ames with one of the outside groups, then they can focus their efforts elsewhere.

A top Republican operative in Iowa told ABC News earlier today that such an arrangement would be “a big deal” for Pawlenty, who has a lot riding on Ames -- he is reportedly shelling out around $1 million of the $1.4 million cash on hand he held at the start of the current quarter in an effort to secure a strong showing in the key poll.

Tuesday, the Pawlenty campaign responded. Alex Conant, a spokesman for Pawlenty, said, “The Bachmann campaign’s accusation is malicious and, like so much of what she says, simply not true.”

In addition, a source with the Iowa State Republican Central Committee told ABC News that “there’s nothing illegal, nothing unethical, no coordination there -- to even insinuate that someone is trying to manipulate the straw poll is bogus.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wednesday
Jul062011

Minnesota Blame Game: Pawlenty vs. Mondale

Scott Olson/Getty Images(ST. PAUL, Minn.) -- With the Minnesota government shutdown now in its sixth day, the blame game has broken out in full force, playing not just on the state level but on a national one.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale, a Democrat, and GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty fired the latest shots on Tuesday.

After announcing creation of a bipartisan panel to try to end the stalemate in St. Paul, Mondale told Politico that Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, is to blame for the state's budget problems that have been at the root of the shutdown.

Mondale, a native Minnesotan, served under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.

Pawlenty, 50, quickly fired back at Mondale, as well as at former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, who joined Mondale today in unveiling the new committee.

"Walter Mondale ran for president against Ronald Reagan on a platform that called for higher taxes," Pawlenty said in a statement on the 1984 presidential campaign. "Arne Carlson supported John Kerry, Barack Obama and other Democrats. It should surprise no one that they both support more spending and higher taxes in Minnesota. We did it the right way for the last eight years, with dramatically lower spending and tax cuts. I commend the Republicans in the Legislature for sticking to their guns, even when politicians of the past call for old-fashioned high tax and spend solutions.

"The last budget on my watch ended last week with a positive balance," he added. "The projected deficit for the upcoming two years is based on large projected spending increases, which I never would have allowed as governor. Minnesota government is shutdown because of Democrats' insistence on Obama-esque solutions to increase spending and raise taxes."

That is only the latest salvo fired by Pawlenty, who has gone on the offensive in recent days in an effort to convince Republican voters that he is capable of solving a budget mess far larger than Minnesota's. As the fight for the GOP presidential nomination heats up, a central issue for the candidates is how they would deal with the country's soaring deficits.

With the state government poised to shut down last Thursday, Pawlenty held a brief news conference to voice his support for the GOP legislators who are at odds with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton on how to solve the state's projected $5 billion deficit for the next two years.

Pawlenty Tuesday released a new television ad in Iowa touting his role in Minnesota's last government shutdown six years ago, a stalemate in 2005 that lasted 10 days.

"Minnesota government shutdown. Why? Because Tim Pawlenty would not accept Democrats' massive tax and spending demands. Result: Pawlenty won," the ad says.

Not so fast, critics warn. The Democratic National Committee responded to the new Pawlenty ad by stating that the GOP candidate did not shut down the government six years ago because of a desire to cut taxes but, rather, because he wanted to raise taxes on cigarettes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio