Urged to give opponents ‘hell,’ Pawlenty says: ‘We will”
August 8th, 2011
09:09 PM ET
11 years ago

Urged to give opponents ‘hell,’ Pawlenty says: ‘We will”

Johnston, Iowa (CNN) – Should Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and other Republican presidential candidates beware political “hell” served up by Tim Pawlenty at Thursday’s presidential debate?

At a small gathering of voters at a coffee shop in Johnston, Iowa on Monday, the former Minnesota governor was told by a supporter in the crowd, “You’ve got to be up there and give them hell.”

“We will,” Pawlenty replied.

He then urged the crowd to support his candidacy in Saturday’s Ames straw poll that will test his organization and popularity in Iowa along with that of the other candidates.

The governor’s response suggests his manner could be far more confrontational than the last time he faced off with Bachmann, Romney and the other candidates.

At June 13’s CNN, WMUR-TV, New Hampshire Union Leader debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, Pawlenty declined to go on the attack against Romney while on stage. But just days before, Pawlenty slammed the former Massachusetts governor, saying the health care plan enacted during Romney’s governorship helped create the nation’s health care reform law. Pawlenty merged the two laws into a single slam, labeling them “Obamneycare.”

Days after the debate, Pawlenty acknowledged he missed an opportunity to go after a prime political opponent.

Since then, Pawlenty has stepped up his criticism of Romney and Congresswoman Bachmann.

If Pawlenty decides to display that amped up effort on Thursday in Ames, it would be the first time he’s gone on the attack against Romney and Bachmann while in their presence.

After Monday’s event in Johnston, CNN asked Pawlenty exactly who he’d “give hell” at the debate.

Pawlenty responded that President Obama would receive a fair amount of criticism, acknowledging he’s listening to supporters who want him to “strike the right balance between Minnesota nice and holding the president accountable…for his broken promises and the failures of the economy and his presidency.”

Then Pawlenty added: “But there will be some policy differences between the Republicans. And I think as long as its not personal, it’s okay to have a debate about those things.”

Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Michele Bachmann • Mitt Romney • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Oooooooo .... shaking in my boots .... NOT!

    August 8, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. JLP

    Give them hell Timmy!

    August 8, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  3. Derek Wain

    Yeah, right, Pawlenty was a total wuss at the Manchester, NH debate. He can't give his pussy cat hell.

    August 8, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  4. Indy

    Give em Hell in the coffee shop Timmy, you know you are good when you get to the big stage in a coffee shop !!

    August 8, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |

    T-Paw has no charisma nor new ideas. Regurgitating his political party's talking points is his forte. He left a legacy of dismal financial failure in Minnesota; please note the recent Minnesota government shutdown. I ask you, dear bloggers, does he really think he's got a chance with educated voters? We are not as dumb as he looks. Somebody should tell him.

    August 8, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  6. thomas

    He needs a theme song or sound track !

    Something similar to the good the bad and the ugly , or high noon !

    August 8, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  7. SecedingfromTexas

    "............as long as it is not personal, it is okay to have a debate those things."
    They will roast this marshmallow so fast he won't know what hit him.

    August 8, 2011 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  8. Ron

    Why is this guy wasting his time/money running for president? He's a fish out of water. I feel sorry for him, but not sorry enough to vote for him. "Pawlenty is Paw-empty"!

    August 8, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  9. A Real Patriot

    Go Get 'em Goober!

    August 8, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  10. JB

    This girl/boy cannot through any punches!! go have some magarita! then come back and I will serve you tequila neat!!

    August 8, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  11. Jason

    It amuses me that Pawlenty still thinks he's in this race. He's sold his soul to try and reinvent himself into some sort of faux-super conservative, evangelical tough-talker and nobody cares. He's been constantly campaigning since 2008 and he's polling below Gingrich and Cain. That must really suck.

    August 8, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  12. Independent Texan

    Give `em hell Timmy, boy. I`m behind you- watching. Better than a soap.

    August 8, 2011 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  13. Seattle Sue

    Pawlenty does not have the spine to give any one hell. He is a loser and should not have even entered this race as he will never win the primary much less win the Presidency.

    August 8, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  14. Sebastian

    He seems to miss the point. He's not in the Superbowl yet – he's not playing against Obama.

    Timmy, you are a 6th seeded wildcard. You have to win 3 playoff games BEFORE you can hope to play the President for the championship. As in sports, looking ahead to a future opponent in politics only guarantees you won't even make it to the final contest. Why don't you just quit now?

    August 8, 2011 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  15. Don H

    LOL Give them Hell, wow it feels like we are in hell already with your fellow GOP and Republican jokers ruining this country.

    August 9, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  16. Larry L

    Republicans like to swift-boat their own before they tell the big lies. They could start with explaining to the world how their political hostage game killed the stock markets all over the world and sunk America down the the level of second-world nations. They could explain how this is a different political party than the one who got us into this mess during the Bush debacle. They said they had the correct solution in 2000 & 2004 yet that solution wrecked our economy and ended up in two hopeless wars. Start with those explanations...

    August 9, 2011 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  17. T'sah from Virginia

    Yep – you better give each other HELL because that is where your fight should be. “BASHING" President Obama and having NO SOLUTIONS of your own – is OLD!!!

    Look @ the next Ticker – "Santorum launches pre-emptive attack against Perry" YES YOU CAN and that is where you should knock each other out because in the end – you will ALL get beat in 2012!!!

    As quiet as it's kept – President Obama's approval rating is still in the mid-40's – better than everyone else out there and remember – during the 2008 campaign – he was at the same spot or higher!!!

    August 9, 2011 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  18. Still Standing

    When will the Republicans stand up for the middle class?

    August 9, 2011 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  19. Sonnie2

    Pawllenty is out of the running. Sorry to say their are lots of good ones to choose from. Michelle Bachmann is leading him by twice the votes in the straw poll. Michelle had lots of followers includeing this Iowa Farmer. Common Sense willl end up with my vote. Cut Cap and Balance is a must.

    August 9, 2011 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  20. Done With You All

    with obama in command, I suggest all Americans start stock piling Food and Ammo.

    August 9, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  21. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    He's just another GOBPbaggin' wimp. These corrupt corporatist cult members can't defend their failed policies so they try to cover their moral, political and intellectual bankruptcy with sound bites and "get tough" imagery (propaganda). Their is nothing "tough" about caring for the greedy and not the needy.

    August 9, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He has to give them something other than "Hi, I'm Mr. Bland." Pawlenty isn't showing great charisma at all. I think that he has shown less than Gore which he has been compared to as of late.

    August 9, 2011 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  23. ConservaFASCISTS/TeaHadists

    I swear T-Paw is such a cornball. I think Trump said it best. He thinks he's a tough guy, but no one is buying it.

    August 9, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  24. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Because "HELL" is what he left Minnesota looking like!

    August 9, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  25. nagrom

    Well here is another attacker that won't be considered for a VP let alone a PRESIDENT!! Phew! Thank goodness he won't even be considered for second in command. Hmmm Of course, that is incumbent upon if the Repukes win the Oval Office. Well they at least will win the orifice office. That is what they talk out of most of the time anyway.

    August 9, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |