The harsh words from the GOP presidential debate spilled over into the spin room Thursday night. Surrogates for the candidates continued the mudslinging that highlighted the feisty debate. The Pawlenty campaign was very vocal in its criticism of Michele Bachmann.
“The bottom line is you have somebody who’s done it, who has been the executive and you have somebody who’s just taken positions and voted no and to me that’s not leadership,” said Pawlenty’s state chairman Matt Whitaker.
Pawlenty’s campaign chairman Nick Ayers claimed it was Bachmann that launched the offensive. “She showed up with a planned assault on Governor Pawlenty,” Ayers said. “They preplanned it to get preprinted pamphlets of misleading facts and statements that she’s got a long history of.”
Bachmann’s state chair Kent Sorenson brushed off the criticisms. “I think Pawlenty feels threatened, spending two years running in the state, trying to win over Iowa Republicans and I think he decided to come out, throw a few shots and I think she responded.”
Congressman Steve King is a close ally of Bachmann’s in the U.S. House, but he has remained neutral so far in this race. He felt Bachmann got the better of her spat with Pawlenty. “She’s an effective counterpuncher and I actually thought that after she counterpunched the first time that he wouldn’t go back at her again, but he did,” King said. “I don’t think that helped Pawlenty at all.”
There were also heated moments in the debate between Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Senator Rand Paul was dismissive of the criticism of his father. “I’d rather not talk about other candidates, particularly if they don’t have a chance of winning,” Paul said. “I think there are some other significant candidates and significant issues, but I didn’t see that as one.”
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