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Campaign Roundup: Pawlenty’s Nice Pastor Emerges As Liability

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Tim Pawlenty's nice pastor could sink his presidential hopes.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The best of today’s 2012 coverage.

Tim Pawlenty’s nice pastor could sink his presidential hopes, reports The Daily Beast‘s McKay Coppins: “The political perils of Pawlenty’s niceness have been well-documented. But through all the punditry and speculation, little attention has been paid to the man who has spent the past 20 years teaching the candidate how to be so nice: his longtime minister, the Rev. Keith Anderson …. There’s no question Anderson has rubbed off on Pawlenty, says Doug Pagitt, a pastor in Minneapolis who knows both men. ‘If you listen to them talk, they even talk in the same cadences,’ he says. ‘They have the same mannerisms; they’re very similar communicators …. I think they’re very temperamentally similar.'” [The Daily Beast]

Republican 2012 candidates pulling a Bill Clinton on the debt ceiling, suggests the Washington Post. “In order to prove their own conservative bona fides, 2012 candidates can – and likely will – oppose any deal cut by the party’s congressional leaders. This makes it even harder for congressional Republicans to strike a debt deal, with party leaders from the outside railing against them and riling up the base in advance of the 2012 elections …. Triangulation – the idea of running against two established positions in an attempt to find a third way – was brought into common parlance during the presidency of Bill Clinton …. And it’s already reared its head – albeit in a new sort of way – in the 2012 presidential race.” [Washington Post]

Bachmann is the early favorite in Iowa, Reuters reports: “Only two weeks after announcing she was seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann is already looking like the candidate to beat in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses in February …. Bachmann, 55, is running neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney among Republicans in Iowa. But Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has signaled that he will not campaign hard in the state so he can concentrate his energies elsewhere.’Iowa is hers to lose,’ said Brent Parks, 45, who chairs the state’s Buchanan County Republicans.” [Reuters]

Bachmann might be the GOP’s Howard Dean, suggests Politico’s Jonathan Martin: “Michele Bachmann hasn’t declared yet that she’s running to represent ‘the Republican wing of the Republican Party,’ but that’s all that’s missing from a presidential bid that bears more than a passing resemblance to Democrat Howard Dean’s in 2004. The kicker of her first ad in Iowa – ‘I will not vote to increase the debt ceiling’ – shows the Minnesota congresswoman is betting that she can find the same sort of success as an insurgent taking on her party over spending as Dean did when Democrats felt their Washington leaders caved to George W. Bush in authorizing the Iraq war. ‘Like Dean, she fits the mood and moment of her party,’ said veteran Republican strategist Tucker Eskew.” [Politico]

GOP presidential candidates pressure Boehner to resist tax hikes, reports The Hill: “Several Republican presidential contenders have joined the chorus of voices pressuring Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to refuse tax hikes as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling. Boehner is already feeling the heat from members of his conference (and his leadership team) as he works to get an agreement ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline, after which the U.S. would default on its debt. But in their fervor to oppose Obama on the issue of spending and the debt limit, some of the presidential contenders have stymied their congressional party’s leaders, risking a rift between Capitol Hill and the presidential campaign trail.” [The Hill]

Mild Huntsman gently jabs at bland Romney over jobs, reports The Hill: “An attack by former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) on Mitt Romney’s (R) record of job creation as governor of Massachusetts erupted into a war of words Tuesday between the two presidential candidates. Huntsman, the former ambassador to China, criticized Romney’s record as governor, echoing Democratic criticism that Massachusetts ranked 47th in the nation for job growth during the time when Romney was governor. ‘Take a look at we’ve done in Utah,’ Huntsman said Monday in South Carolina in comments circulated by his campaign. ‘When you look at absolute increases in job creation, Utah led the nation … contrasted with other states say, Massachusetts, not first but 47th.'” [The Hill]

Why would you run for president when, like Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), you have no chance? The National Journal sat down with McCotter to learn a bit more about him: “A fifth-term Republican representing the populous suburbs of metro Detroit, McCotter’s unlikely candidacy for the nation’s highest office seems driven less by his own political ambitions than by his visceral dissatisfaction with the Republican field. When discussing his unexpected entry into the presidential campaign, McCotter repeatedly alludes to the fact that ‘the public says they’re not happy with the field and they’re open to other messages from other people.'” [National Journal]

Mr. “End the Fed” to end his career, notes the Atlantic: “After representing his Texas district for over 22 years, Ron Paul will not run for Congress again in 2012, instead focusing on his presidential campaign… Given Paul’s age, it seems he will retire if he doesn’t win the presidency. A senior adviser wouldn’t say whether Paul is open to running for Congress again, or another office in Texas, if he doesn’t win. More likely than not, then, this decision will mean the end of Paul’s career as an elected official, as he is a long shot to win the White House in 2012 despite enjoying probably the most enthusiastic supporters of any candidate in the race and performing solidly in national polls. Paul placed second in a recent nationwide NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, collecting 11 percent (tied with Rep. Michele Bachmann) behind Mitt Romney’s 43 percent. His best showings in 2008 came in North Dakota and Maine, where he finished second.” [The Atlantic]


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