Open Thread: What Should Be the Focus of GOP Campaigns?

July 25th, 2011 11:07 AM

For a field of Republican presidential hopefuls spread so thin, it seems that the clearest strategy to gain support would be to orchestrate the best campaign against President Obama, especially against his failed economic policies. Instead of focusing all their attention on the president's failures, though, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michele Bachmann, both of Minnesota, are also spending time campaigning on the shortcomings of each other.

Do you think the candidates should instead limit their campaigns to the current problems America is facing? Or do you think the climb to the top is most successful with a combination of campaign tactics? Let us know what you think in the comments.

On Sunday, Bachmann and Pawlenty fired up their feud, each arguing for their stronger conservative credentials via press release.

Bachmann took the first swing, blasting Pawlenty for many of his spending policies. From the Associated Press,

Minnesota Rep. Bachmann accused Pawlenty of supporting policies that are anathema to her tea party supporters, such as the individual mandate to buy health insurance and a "cap-and-trade" agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. And she slammed the former Minnesota governor for praising the federal government's 2008 bailout of banks, auto makers and insurers.

"I have fought against irresponsible spending while Governor Pawlenty was leaving a multi-billion-dollar budget mess in Minnesota," Bachmann added.

Pawlenty's campaign responded with a rejection of Bachmann's statements, claiming that there is "very little difference" between Pawlenty and Bachmann's positions.

However, Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant said, "The difference is that when Governor Pawlenty was scoring conservative victories...Congresswoman Bachmann was giving speeches and offering failed amendments, all while struggling mightily to hold onto the most Republican house seat in the state."

Earlier this month, Pawlenty raised Bachmann's ire when he called her record of accomplishment in Congress "nonexistent."

Bachmann may have gotten the last word though, arguing, "I have demonstrated leadership and the courage of my convictions to change Washington, stop wasteful spending, lower taxes, put Americans back to work and turn our economy around." Even more, her press secretary Alice Stewart added, "There is very little difference between Governor Pawlenty's past positions and Barack Obama's positions on several critical issues facing Americans."

Both Bachmann and Pawlenty have situated their arguments into the economic crisis America is facing, but both their attacks can also be seen as attacks against each other instead of solutions to fix the country's problems.

While campaigning against other GOP candidates will be necessary closer to spring once the field has been whittled down, do you think this strategy can also help candidates like Bachmann and Pawlenty now? Or do you think they should shift their focus to campaigning solely on solutions to fix America's problems?