Pawlenty clarifies Bachmann jab
July 21st, 2011
08:16 AM ET
12 years ago

Pawlenty clarifies Bachmann jab

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty walked back earlier criticism of rival Michele Bachmann's migraines on Wednesday, calling the attention over her headaches "a sideshow."

"I think it's mostly a sideshow," Pawlenty said on Fox News. "I've observed Congresswoman Bachmann. I've never seen her have a medical condition or impairment that would seem to be a concern."

Earlier in the day the former Minnesota governor said "candidates are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job, all of the time."

But on Fox, Pawlenty said his remark was aimed at the entire Republican field.

"What I said today generically, applying to all candidates, not her, is that anybody who's going to serve as president of the United States, of course, has to be able to do all of the job all of the time, 24/7," Pawlenty said. "That's just common sense. It's not a debatable proposition."

After a report in the Daily Caller, the Minnesota Congresswoman said Tuesday she treats her migraines with medicine as needed and emphasized the rigorous pace of her campaign schedule since she entered the 2012 race. On Wednesday she released a letter from the attending Congressional physician, which said her migraines occur "infrequently and have known trigger factors of which you are aware and know how to avoid."

While Pawlenty sought to clarify his position, GOP candidates Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas said Bachmann's condition should not be a focal point of the campaign.

"There's no question in my mind that Michele Bachmann's health is in no way an impediment to her being able to serve as president," the former Massachusetts governor said.

In a radio interview Wednesday, Paul, a medical doctor, said the electorate has a right to know "what a president is capable of doing," but that it does not disqualify her as a candidate for the presidency.

"I don't think that should be the deciding factor on how well she does, but I would say the information is reasonable to know about," Paul said.

- CNN's Rebecca Stewart contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Michele Bachmann • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. TomInRochNY

    It's her stand on the issues that disqualifies her.

    July 21, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Does anyone else see a pattern here with T-Paw? The man seems to lack the courage to stand on his own, to take the lead on an issue. T-Paw is a follower, not a leader.

    July 21, 2011 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  3. Sortakinda

    "Never seen her in a state of impairment?" Pawlenty needs HIS eyes and ears checked. They are obviously impaired.

    July 21, 2011 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  4. Dave

    Pawlenty is right... Bachmann may not have medical impairments; however, other impairments like her single-digit IQ, her childish temperment, and her lame bigotry are more than enough to discount her. The woman is a nut. Period.

    July 21, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    There's no question in my mind that Michele Bachmann's health is in no way an impediment to her being able to serve as president," the former Massachusetts governor said
    An ailment that consistently lands you in the hospital, and necessitates medication that impairs you does indeed represent an impediment to being able to serve as president.
    I am glad we're not dealing with the questions in your mind Paw, but we are trying to answer the many questions that keep popping up in regards to your ability to govern and Michele's ability to think and act coherently.

    July 21, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  6. John

    Man I have never heard so many Lie than you do when you look and listen to the Republican. All the do Is LIE , COMPLAIN AND SPREAD HATE. And flip flop In what they say. These People are a Joke.

    July 21, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  7. ConservaFASCISTS/Alan West = Masogonist

    What I said today generically, applying to all candidates, not her, is that anybody who's going to serve as president of the United States, of course, has to be able to do all of the job all of the time, 24/7,"
    6 billion debt left in Minnesota after Paw-lenty of failed leadership. Enough said!!!

    July 21, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  8. GI Joe

    It's NOT her migraines - it's her idiot views on almost everything.

    The woman is an idiot.

    Totally submissive to her husband (being just one thing). Would YOU vote for HIM to be president? He makes all decisions for her. She's under the mis-guided belief that "gay" can be prayed away - why can't they pray away the migraines? The list is too long to go into detail.

    The woman is an idiot.

    July 21, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  9. K Wilson

    It seems that just about every week you see a story of how Pawlenty is walking-back another statement...this seems to be a harbinger of his potential as the possible lead spokesperson for the country. Scary

    July 21, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  10. Mindie in Indie

    Bachman's 'headaches' will be the excuse she uses to leave the campaign. Why she feels the need to blast this revelation all over the internet is one indication of just that.

    July 21, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  11. markfromdover

    both of them give me a headache

    July 21, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  12. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    If she wins, and the job gets too tough, she can always just quit. Republicans all respect and support quitters!

    July 21, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    Paul is right that it is reasonable for the country to know if Bachmann is ready to answer the hot line at 3 am without any physical or mental limitations.

    July 21, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  14. Sobelle

    My mother suffered from migraines and would end up in bed for at least 3 days because of them. The medication she took was a narcotic. Don't know what MB takes, but I, for one, would not like to have a president with migraines. They are from what I understand, debilitating. I have a friend who simply can't function when she has one and another one who would get nauseated. This could happen at a time of dire straits for the country. I'm all for women in politics, but I cannot vote for this woman and not just her migraines, but her politics.

    July 21, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I think it's mostly a sideshow," Pawlenty said on Fox News."

    Heads up, Pawlenty ... you, and yes, Bachmann, too, ARE the sideshow. Neither one of you have enough backing from your own home-state, yet you are both courting Iowa with an intensity (from a fellow Minnesotan's perspective) that is ...well... embarrassingly juvenile. Too bad each of you never cared enough about your home-state to actually achieve political respect from your fellow citizens, but rather, left us all in financial ruin while the two of you furthered your own career goals during your tenures here. That each of you won't make it past Iowa is a fitting enough political eulogy, after which, I ...for one... am very much looking forward to bidding each of you a political adios.

    July 21, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  16. maggie

    Let the party begin. her own colleagues will make mincemeat out of her.

    July 21, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  17. Mike

    This is why the Pawlenty campaign is faltering. He makes a statement and then refuses to back it up...same thing happened when confronted with the "Romneycare" position.

    July 21, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  18. Indy

    Typical spineless Republican steps back from yesterdays comments to a member of their lock step cult. Republicans have a joint mission to destroy the middle class and will skirt around any real issue and as a cult they will do anything to band together to get the black man out of the Whitehouse. I would not doubt if they sigend a secret pledge to not publicly challenge another cult members resume.

    July 21, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  19. Murf

    What a tool. It's interesting that the timing of his comment just happened to coincide with news about Bachmann's migraine situation. Given this fact and In my book it shows that Pawlenty can at times lie to suit his personal agenda. Therefore I would argue that the highest political office in the world must be governed by a straight-shooter who speaks the truth. If it wasn't already, this guys campaign is sinking fast.

    July 21, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    With the exception of the migraines, I still don't think that Bachmann is focused enough (or has enough of anything) to be president. She is too much of an ideologue to be president. I don't think she can be flexible enough to be a good president. A good president knows that all of his/her ideals shouldn't be set in stone. There needs to be some wiggle room along with the goals and ideals.

    July 21, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  21. Seattle Sue

    Pawlenty is still a weasel. Mr. Pawlenty try to be a man and say what you mean the first time you say it. You are worst than I thought if you think people don't know what you meant when you said it.

    July 21, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. End GOPorate greed

    The problem for all Repubs is that all of the clowns in the primary make up a circus of sideshows. Not one main attraction under their shrinking shallow tent.

    July 21, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. blaqmajik

    It seems Pawlenty is quick to say something about people, and then when questioned on it, or when the person is there in his face, he changes his story. He did this in the debate when they asked him about his comments on "Romneycare". This is not the type of image I look for in a leader. Obama/Biden 2012

    July 21, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. SayWhat

    "I think it's mostly a sideshow," Pawlenty said on Fox News.

    I think you meant that its a sideshow to the sideshow of unqualified GOP candidates running for president for four years.

    July 21, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  25. Teacher

    Bachmann and Paul are the only two patriots in the race... Pawlenty has an 'issue' with Bachmann because HE brought the UN into the Minn schools (imagine that????) while Bachmann fought him on it... valiantly. Pawlenty will not admit this was a mistake as the program from the UN ( is 100% collectivist socialist brainwashing of your children.

    July 21, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |