Bachmann, Perry seek advantage as Pawlenty exits GOP race

As Tim Pawlenty exited the presidential race, his former rivals sought to position themselves in the rapidly shifting Republican field.

Fresh off her win in the Iowa Straw Poll, Michele Bachmann appeared on five Sunday shows seeking to boost her exposure beyond the Hawkeye State. In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley, Bachmann insisted that she could broaden appeal beyond conservative and “tea party” voters to Democrats and Independents.

Reprising a line that Pawlenty had often used on the campaign trail, Bachmann noted that she is from Minnesota: “It’s not a conservative state; it’s more of a liberal state—"

“But a conservative district,” Crowley interrupted.


“It’s a swing district and it’s a district that elected Gov. Jesse Ventura, and so I’ve been able to attract a lot of people to vote for me who are Democrats and independents,” Bachmann said. “That’s what we have to do. This won’t be just a conservative election, this is really going to be an economics election. People will want to know who can turn the country around; that will be the big question.”

Contrasting her record with Perry’s, Bachmann argued that she is “a proven, effective advocate in Washington, D.C., against the issues people really care about.”

“I’ve been on the front lines,” she continued. “I was the first member of Congress to introduce the repeal of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank. I led for the last two months against raising the debt ceiling, against the TARP vote.”

“Issue after issue after issue, I’ve been at the tip of the spear and I’ve been a champion for people on these issues,” she said. “I’ve been the fighter.”


Meanwhile Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who announced his presidential bid Saturday in South Carolina, continued his swing through New Hampshire before heading to Iowa later today, where he will share a stage with Bachmann.

During an interview with WMUR-TV in New Hampshire, Perry took an early swipe at Mitt Romney’s record on jobs as governor of Massachusetts. During Romney’s years in office, Massachusetts ranked near the bottom of the 50 states in job creation – with a percentage increase of about 1%, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Perry said voters should look at Romney’s track record as governor of Massachusetts against his years as governor in Texas. “Mine doesn’t need any propping up. We’ll just let it stand there and let people examine it.”

“The fact is this race is going to be about jobs; this is going to be about who can create an environment where people know that they can take care of their families,” Perry said in the interview when asked about his record compared with others in the field.


“I happen to think that I’m as qualified, or better qualified, than anyone in the field to not only make that claim, but to lay out that vision and then lay out those principles that have worked well in Texas. We’ve created more jobs than any other state in the nation. As a matter of fact in the last two years, we’ve created almost half of all the jobs created in America.”