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Bachmann, Pawlenty Trade Barbs at Iowa Debate August 12, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

Barry Carr~

The two Republican presidential candidates hailing from Minnesota exchanged fire Thursday in a high-stakes debate that could separate the contenders from the pretenders.

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is seeking to boost his flagging campaign, dismissed Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s record of accomplishments and results in Congress as “nonexistent.”

“That’s not going to be good enough for our candidate for president of the United States,” he said. “The American people are going to expect more and demand more. And in fact we need somebody who can contrast with Barack Obama on results.”

Bachmann fired back that Pawlenty’s actions as governor, including implementation of cap and trade and praising the individual mandate in health care, “sounds a lot like President Obama.”

“During my time in U.S. Congress, I have fought all of these unconstitutional measures,” she said.

Pawlenty replied that Bachmann has a record of misstating and making false statements. He also questioned her fighting skills, saying that her efforts to prevent more government spending, to derail “Obamacare” and to stop government bailouts after the 2008 financial crisis didn’t work.

“She says she’s got a titanium spine.It’s not her spine we’re worried about, it’s her record of results” he said. “If that’s your view of effective leadership with results, please stop because you’re killing us.”

Fox News, the Washington Examiner and the Iowa Republican Party sponsored the two-hour nationally televised debate.

The debate capped off an eventful day in which Romney took on a liberal heckler and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was not on the state, revealed he was joining the GOP race.

Candidates kicked off Thursday’s debate by attacking President Obama’s economic record.

“Two days from now, we get to send a message to Barack Obama: You are finished in 2012 and you will be a one-term president,” Bachmann said, referring to the highly-anticipated Iowa straw poll on Saturday, an early test of strength for Republicans competing in the state.

“If you spend your life in the private sector, you understand what President Obama has done is the complete opposite of what needs to be done,” former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said in response to how he would turn the economy around.

But Pawlenty later put Romney on the defensive about the health care program he signed into law in Massachusetts for its similarities to Obama’s signature initiative — an opportunity he passed up in the previous debate.

“Obamacare was patterned after Mitt’s plan in Massachusetts and for Mitt or anyone else to say they’re not essentially the same plan, it just isn’t credible and that’s why I called it Obamneycare and I think that’s a fair label,” he said.

Pawlenty also attacked Romney’s record on spending and judicial appointments as governor.

Romney replied by joking that he liked Pawlenty’s answer in the last debate better, drawing laughs. Romney then defended his health care program, acknowledging there are similarities but also differences, mainly the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution that protects states’ power.

“We put together a plan that was right for Massachusetts. The president took the power of the people and the states away from them  and put in place a one-size-fits-all plan,” he said, adding that he would grant all 50 states a waiver from that law if he is elected.