Global Warming Issue Haunts Pawlenty in GOP Debate

Published August 12, 2011

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty paid a heavy price in last night’s Republican presidential candidate debate for his prior support for carbon dioxide restrictions. 

Attempting to spark his lackluster poll numbers at the expense of Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Pawlenty repeatedly criticized Bachmann for her failure to convince a Democratic president and a heavily Democratic Congress to support the ideas and programs she has been vocally championing in Washington DC. However, each time Pawlenty criticized Bachmann for her lack of results, Bachmann reminded the audience how Pawlenty championed cap-and-trade carbon dioxide restrictions and a government-run medical system.

Although Pawlenty reminded the audience how the free-market Cato Institute named him as one of only four governors earning an “A” grade for fiscal policy last year, Pawlenty’s argument – and his attacks against Bachmann for not achieving tangible results – quickly fizzled in the wake of Bachmann’s bulldog-like tenacity in making sure the audience knew Pawlenty worked to impose cap-and-trade restrictions to fight speculative global warming.

The consensus among pundits after the debate was that Bachmann was a clear winner in the debate. This will further damage Pawlenty’s hopes at gaining the Republican nomination, as Pawlenty needs to leapfrog Bachmann to establish himself as the perceived alternative to Mitt Romney. Pawlenty might have done much more damage in his attacks on Bachmann had he not handed her in advance the global warming issue to tie around his neck like a millstone.