With 17 months to go until the 2012 presidential election, the party in power has signaled its intention to go negative early and often.
Even before former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty formally announced his intention to run for president on the Republican ticket, the Democratic National Committee responded with a video entitled, “Why.”
“Despite spending the last two and half years putting aside his duties as Governor to set up his campaign, Tim Pawlenty doesn't have a compelling rationale for his candidacy,” the DNC said in the video released at 5 a.m. Monday.
As the Associated Press noted, Pawlenty isn’t well known nationally and he ranks low in popularity polls.
The DNC video attacked Pawlenty’s record as governor and asked him, “Why are you running?”
According to the DNC: “Maybe Tim Pawlenty can't articulate a coherent vision for the country because he doesn't have one. He may want to be all things to all people, but desperately trying to ingratiate himself with everyone, anyone, is not a substitute for strong Presidential leadership.”
(A number of conservatives similarly have criticized President Obama's vision and leadership.)
On Monday, Pawlenty was making his first campaign stop in Iowa, where he will officially announce he’s in the race. He’ll also say that President Obama’s policies have failed and he’ll accuse Obama of refusing to “tell us the truth about what it's really going to take to get out of the mess we're in."
"I'm going to take a different approach,” Pawlenty said in prepared remarks. I am going to tell you the truth."
Pawlenty previewed his official announcement in an Internet video Sunday night, and the DNC was ready with its video response early Monday morning.
As the Associated Press noted two days ago, Republican Mitt Romney was the focus of the first attack ad of the 2012 presidential race.
Priorities USA Action, a group run by former aides to President Obama, described Romney as a flip-flopper and a politician who would not protect Medicare.
“Mitt Romney says he’s ‘on the same page’ as Paul Ryan, who wrote the plan to essentially end Medicare,” a narrator says as black-and-white images of the former Massachusetts governor flash across the screen. “But with Mitt Romney, you have to wonder … which page is he on today?” the ad says.