Iowa Debate: Tim Pawlenty And Michele Bachmann Square Off In GOP Primary Debate (VIDEO)

Bachmann And Pawlenty Square Off

Chris Wallace can ruffle some feathers when he wants to, and he wasted no time in inflaming the tensions between Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann, asking Pawlenty, "Is she unqualified, or just beating you in the polls?"

Pawlenty's opening gambit was to try to be nice. He never criticized her migraines, he said, and the bigger headache was Barack Obama. But soon he went at her with his constant refrain: as a governor, he has a list of accomplishments, whereas Bachmann's is "non-existent."

"We need someone who can contrast with Barack Obama in terms of accomplishments."

Bachmann, given the chance to respond, was quick to escalate: “When you were governor in Minnesota, you implemented cap and trade in our state and you praised the unconstitutional individual mandate ... You said the era of small government is over. That sounds a lot more like Barack Obama if you ask me.” By contrast, she said she fought Obama, and "led against raising the debt ceiling."

Pawlenty was like Obama? "Isn't that the worst thing you can say" about a fellow candidate, Wallace asked. Bachmann said that she's proud of her record of fighting Obama. "That is what qualifies me," stated Bachmann firmly.

She also introduced the lightbulb freedom of choice act.

Pawlenty had no choice but to up the ante. "She has a record of making false statements," he complained. And then he went down her list of battles: "You fought Obamacare and we got Obamacare, you fought the debt ceiling deal and we got a debt ceiling deal," Pawlenty ranted. If that's her idea of leadership, Pawlenty said, "Please stop because you're killing us."

Bachmann got the last word: "I gave [Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid] a run for their money ... when others ran, I fought."

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