Posts Tagged ‘Tim Pawlenty’

DEBATT | Inför deras första debatt har Barack Obama och Mitt Romney gått inför att skapa låga förväntningar kring deras egen debattskicklighet.

Strategin går naturligtvis ut på att överraska väljarnas med att de gjorde bättre ifrån sig än väntat när det väl är över.

“Governor Romney he’s a good debater, I’m just okey”, poängterade t.ex. Obama under ett kampanjevent i Las Vegas under förra söndagen.

Och Romney spelade samma spel i en intervju med Fox News i vecka som gick.

”I don’t know how to raise or lower expectations,” sade Romney. ”The president is a very eloquent, gifted speaker. He’ll do just fine. I’ve never been in a presidential debate like this and it will be a new experience.”

James Fallows, nationell korrespondent på tidskriften The Atlantic, har tittat närmare på debatternas betydelse för utgången av ett presidentval och de två kombattanternas olika styrkor och svagheter.

Mitt Romney is far less effective as a big-speech orator than Barack Obama, and in many other aspects of campaigning he displays what appear to be laboriously studied moves rather than anything that comes naturally. But debates are and have been his strength. He grew up enjoying “big, boisterous arguments about everything around the dinner table,” according to his campaign strategist and main debate-prep specialist, Stuart Stevens. “He loves the dialectic of arguing the different sides, and he’s most uncomfortable when no one is disagreeing with him.” He will enter this fall’s encounters with very recent, successful experience in a very wide range of formats and challenges.

In none of the Republican-primary debates was Romney judged the big loser; in many he was the clear winner, and as the campaign wore on, the dominant image from the debates was of a confident Romney, standing with a slight smile on his face and his hands resting easily in his pockets, looking on with calm amusement as the lesser figures squabbled among themselves and sometimes lashed out at him.

Civics teachers won’t want to hear this, but the easiest way to judge “victory” in many debates is to watch with the sound turned off, so you can assess the candidates’ ease, tenseness, humor, and other traits signaled by their body language. By this standard, Ron Paul, with his chronically ill-fitting suits, often looked cranky; Rick Santorum often looked angry; Rick Perry initially looked pole­axed and confused; Jon Huntsman looked nervous; Newt Ging­rich looked overexcited—and so on through the list until we reach Mitt Romney, who almost always looked at ease. (As did Herman Cain, illustrating that body language is not everything.) Romney looked like the grown-up—the winner, the obvious candidate—with or without sound. “He is as good as it gets in debating,” former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who was the first major contender to drop out of the Republican race, told me. “He is poised, prepared, smart, strategic—tactical, too.”


Romney is very strong as a debater but has also shown two repeated weaknesses: a thin command of policy details, and an awkwardness when taken by surprise.

When the subject is one he’s prepared for, he rarely falters. When it’s not, or when an exchange goes on longer or in a different direction than expected, many of his ad-libbed responses turn out to be mistakes (“I’ll bet you $10,000!”). Thus the Romney team has the impossible challenge of trying to imagine every question or attack line that might come up in debates with Obama, while the Obama team tries to imagine what Romney’s might have missed. This kind of chess game is always part of debate preparation, but it is unusually important this year, because the gap between Romney at his best and at his worst is so wide.


“The history is that challengers tend to profit, particularly in the first debate,” David Axelrod, Obama’s chief campaign strategist, told me in June. “Just the act of being on the stage with a president is an elevating thing.” This sounds like a small matter, but through the years, analysis of debate reactions has shown that the public takes a candidate more seriously after seeing him, for the first time, on equal footing with an incumbent president.


In this year’s debates, Barack Obama’s most inspiring and powerful message as a candidate will no longer be available to him. Four years ago, “Change we can believe in” suggested that things could be different and much better with him in charge. Now even his most fervent backers doubt how much better things are likely to get in a second Obama term. His critics put the same point more harshly. “This time, the president won’t have the luxury of making stuff up and speaking aspirationally,” Tim Pawlenty told me on a campaign swing through Pennsylvania with Romney in June. “He actually has to defend his record and attach facts to it.”

One more factor is working against Obama in the debates. When the economy is bad and an incumbent is beset, the challenger’s task is simplified. He doesn’t need to belabor the case against the incumbent. Reality has already done that; everyone knows what’s wrong with the president they have now. All the challenger has to do is say: “Look me over. I’ll be okay in this job. You can feel comfortable with me.” This is what Ronald Reagan did in 1980, and Bill Clinton in 1992. Meanwhile, the incumbent has to work twice as hard, in order to make two arguments at once. He must prove something about himself: that, while battered, he’s still energetic, visionary, and up to the job. He must also prove something about his opponent: that he is bad for the country, unready, and overall worse.

And he must do all this without seeming defensive or tense; while appearing easily in command to those who see images without hearing words; and, in Obama’s uniquely straitjacketed case, while avoiding the slightest hint of being an “angry black man.”


If economic trends are bad enough—or, improbably, good enough—to turn the election into a runaway, we might look back and say that the debates didn’t matter. But in what gives every sign of being a close, bitter, expensive, and mostly negative contest, the way these men interact onstage could make a major difference.

Övrigt: Se även Fallows video “Romney the Debater: His Strengths and Weaknesses”. Inför valet 2008 gjorde Fallows en liknande analys som ovan i essayen ”Rhetorical Questions”. (Tidskriftsomslaget ovan är The Atlantic, september 2012.)

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UTHÅLLIGHET | Den 9 juni lämnade de professionella politiska strategerna Newt Gingrichs kampanj. Idag är han republikanernas toppkandidat.

Peter J. Boyer skriver i Newsweek:

This time, Gingrich says, he is proceeding with greater caution, requiring each major hire to undergo a training session to facilitate acculturation in the Gingrich way. “I realized that if you don’t methodically go through acculturation, this is not going to work,” he says, during meetings with Newsweek in South Carolina and his subdued Washington, D.C., offices. “Because this is too different—it’s too intellectual, it’s too fast, it’s too delegated.” Gingrich knows he has much to overcome, including a significant organizational and funding disadvantage, and the challenge of withstanding the assaults to come (including a confrontation with his own long and sometimes erratic record), while keeping his own impulses in check. Which puts Gingrich in mind of one last trait shared with Clinton. “People forget,” he says, “that we are both very tough.”


Four days after his staff walked out last June, Gingrich took to the stage at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire for the first major Republican debate. Some suggested that Gingrich’s only chance of survival was to hit a home run. He disagreed. “You can’t do that, because you will look like you’re trying to hit a home run,” he argued. “What you have to do is go in and look very stable, so you look competent. And you have to be very patient.”

Gingrich’s debate strategy became, of necessity, his campaign strategy. He would not attack his fellow Republican candidates, directing his criticism instead at President Obama and the press. It proved a remarkably effective political gambit. The debate crowds were far more raucously partisan than in the past, a fact that Gingrich immediately sensed, and exploited. “You’ve got these media guys, and behind them are 2,000 right–wingers who are waiting to beat them up.”


Two months and four debates later, Gingrich’s poll numbers had doubled. The other candidates, meanwhile, were busy harming themselves. Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann went at each other in what Gingrich calls “a destructive exchange,” followed in subsequent debates by Rick Perry and Mitt Romney “acting like seventh graders.”


But the conservative base is plainly thrilled by Gingrich’s forceful oratory. In Gingrich, conservative voters see a guy who’s as alarmed as they are about the state of the nation (alarm is Gingrich’s natural state), and who has already delivered a historic victory—one that produced a balanced budget and reformed welfare. His command on the debate stage has had a dwarfing effect on the other contenders.

Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget (19 december 2011) är från den amerikanska utgåvan.

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RICK PERRY har köpt Mitt Romneys strategi. Attacker mot Barack Obama istället för mot de republikanska motståndarna skapar en image av ledarskap.

Detta är en utmärkt video. Skaparen är kanadensaren Lucas Baiano. Under 2008 jobbat han för Hillary Clinton och John McCain. Nyligen var han engagerad för Tim Pawlentys presidentkampanj innan han anslöt sig Perrys team.

Michael Scherer, Time, skriver:

Obama is in for a hard year on television. The quotes that Baiano selects from Obama, boasting to economic improvement that never lasted, will be, I would guess, ubiquitous next year, especially if the economy remains in its current rut. The White House and the Obama campaign simply don’t have an answer, beyond blaming the Europeans and the Japanese earthquake. The issue here is not whether Obama deserves credit for the great recession–he doesn’t. It’s whether he has properly handled the recovery. And when you are caught making predictions that don’t come true, playing a confidence game that never comes to pass, there tend to be consequences.

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VARFÖR LYCKAS vissa politiker medan andra misslyckas?

De republikanska presidentkandidaterna kan lära de svenska partierna en hel del. Inte minst de partier som nu skall välja partiledare.

Tim Pawlentys försök att bli republikanernas presidentkandidat misslyckades. Han ägnade mer än ett år åt att bygga upp sin kampanj i Iowa och New Hampshire. Till ingen nytta visade det sig.

Rick Perry, som helt nyligen gav sig in i leken, har däremot redan seglat upp och blivit en av huvudfavoriterna vid sidan om Mitt Romney och Michele Bachmann.

Matt Bai på bloggen The Caucus har försökt sig på en förklaring till Pawlentys misslyckande. Det är lärdomar som man även i Sverige skulle kunna ta till sig.

[The] more salient lesson here, it seems to me, has little to do with Mr. Pawlenty’s résumé or his strategy. If you want to run for president, especially as a little-known establishment candidate, it usually helps if you have something to say.


I’m talking about a compelling argument for why your party should choose you and not somebody else who might have more money, or
more rousing speeches, or better hair.


Whatever his other flaws as a candidate, Mitt Romney has begun, in recent weeks, to articulate a simple and elegant rationale for why he makes more sense than any of his rivals for the nomination. Mr. Obama didn’t create our economic mess, Mr. Romney says, but the president doesn’t know enough about private enterprise to clean it up. Mr. Romney, a former private equity investor, presents himself as the only candidate who does.

What was Mr. Pawlenty’s essential argument? That he had been a commendable governor? That he was just as conservative as anyone else in the race? That he had a really gravelly voice?


Every now and then, a candidate can secure the nomination this way, simply by relying on the ineptitude of his rivals. (John Kerry in 2004 comes to mind.) More often, though, the case you argue is a lot more important than which consultants you hire or how many local activists you manage to sign up.

Och här finns en lärdom även för dagens partiledarkandidater inom Centerpartiet och Vänsterpartiet.

Knappast någon – vare sig medlemmar eller icke-medlemmar – har någon tydligare uppfattning om vad som ideologiskt eller politiskt skiljer partiledarkandidaterna åt inom respektive parti.

Detta gör att många får sin bild av politikerna från medias bristfälliga rapportering. Och medias okunnighet om skillnaderna mellan kandidaterna beror många gånger på att svenska politiker är fixerade vid att ge sken av samsyn snarare än att markera skillnader.

Oavsett schablonbilden i svenska medier är de ideologiska och politiska skillnaderna mellan exempelvis de republikanska presidentkandidaterna betydligt större än vad skillnaderna är mellan nuvarande partiledarkandidater inom Centerpartiet respektive Vänsterpartiet.

Centerpartiet ger sig själva beröm för att deras partiledarval är en ”öppen process”. Problemet är naturligtvis att en öppen process utan några större skillnader mellan kandidaterna knappast är mycket till hjälp för någon.

Därmed försitter de svenska partierna chansen att visa upp sig som folkliga, breda och dynamiska organisationer.

Inte konstigt att de tappar medlemmar.

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TEA PARTY rörelsens favorit – Michele Bachmann – tog hem segern i Iowas s.k. ”straw poll”.

Resultatet är icke-bindande men ett viktigt test på kandidaternas styrka och organisationsförmåga. Libertarianen Ron Paul tog andra plats. Som avlägsen trea kom Tim Pawlenty.

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MITT ROMNEY gjorde det starkaste intrycket under gårdagens debatt mellan de republikanska presidentkandaterna.

Han var lugn och statsmannamässig även när han kritiserades. Han gav sig aldrig in i någon pajkastning med övriga kandidater.

Hans problem var möjligtvis att han saknade glöd. Kommer tittarna att minnas hans insats?

Den utrikespolitiskt intressantaste debatten var mellan Rick Santorum och Ron Paul om Iran och vad USA skall göra för att hindra att landet skaffar kärnvapen.

Det var också Rick Santorum som var den stora överraskningen på det utrikespolitiska området. Men hans problem var att han kom igång sent.

När det gällde frågor kring skuldtaket, ekonomin och jobbskapande åtgärder var kandidaternas svar väldigt lika varandra. Väljarna kommer inte utifrån deras svar på dessa frågor kunna avgöra vem som passar bäst i Vita huset.

När det gäller spännande ordväxlingar så var den giftigaste mellan Michele Bachmann och Tim Pawlenty angående vem som har bäst erfarenheter av ledarskap.

En debatt som aldrig uppmärksammas i den svenska rapporteringen från USA är den ideologiska frågan om var ansvaret för den federala staten upphör och var delstaternas tar vid.

Och med tanke på att kandidaterna var så lika varandra när det gällde ekonomin kan svaren här kanske avgöra hur tittarna ställer sig till kandidaterna generellt.

Men det mest troliga är dock att väljarna avvaktar innan man bestämmer sig.

Det är ännu långt kvar till och kandidaterna har mycket kampanjande kvar innan väljarna börjar intressera sig för valet 2012.

Dessutom kommer utgallringen av kandidaterna att förändra det republikanska startfältet. Fler kandidater kommer att ge sig in i leken och andra kommer att falla ifrån.

Övrigt: Deltagare var Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman och Newt Gingrich.

Se hela debatten från Fox NewsYouTube. Se några intressanta glimtar på The Daily Beast och The Huffington Post.

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ALLA POLITIKER har någon gimmick som kommunicerar handlingskraft. Man vill också visa upp ett ”normalt” liv bortom politiken. Sarah Palin har sin bakgrund i Alaska. Newt Gingrich vill vara den intellektuelle. Jon Huntsman har sitt intresse för motorcross. För Tim Pawlenty är det ishockey.

Pawlenty använder bilder från USA:s överraskande seger över Sovjetunionen – ”The Miracle on Ice – vid Olympiaden 1980. Signalen är att även en underdog kan vinna.

Tidigare var Pawlenty en av huvudfavoriterna bland de republikanska presidentkandidaterna. Nu visar opinionsundersökningar att han halkat långt efter de andra.

Hans kampanjstab försöker nu sänka förväntningarna så mycket som möjligt för att ett dåligt resultat i Iowa skall kunna utmålas som en form av framgång.

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VEM BLIR republikanernas presidentkandidat? Delta i lite Baracketology och gissa utgången med tidskriften Time.

Omslaget till den amerikanska upplagan kan fyllas i och skickas in till tidskriften. Här kan man försöker gissa hur republikanernas primärvalskampanj kommer att avlöpa.  Man kan även göra det via nätet på www.time.com/gopbracket.

Omröstningen är redan igång och libertarianen Ron Paul leder med 62,7 % mot 23,2 % för Mitt Romney. (Anhängarna till Ron Paul är kända för att kunna mobilisera när det gäller den här typen av aktiviteter.)

För den som vill ha en bra sammanfattning av kandidaterna och deras ideologiska inriktning kan läsa Joe Kleins ”Outsiders vs. Insiders: The Struggle for the GOP’s Soul”.

Baracketology är tidskriftens metafor för Joe Kleins artikel. Om nomineringsprocessen skriver Klein:

It won’t be a stately procession from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina to Florida this time. It will look more like the NCAA basketball tournament, only with two instead of four brackets: the Iowa bracket, which will feature the social-conservative and populist candidates like Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum — and perhaps Sarah Palin and Texas Governor Rick Perry; and the New Hampshire bracket, which will feature more-moderate candidates like Romney and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, focused on the economy. Some, like former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, will try to finesse the brackets and play in both, but they are likely to be pulled gravitationally toward one or the other vision of how to win the nomination — Iowa or New Hampshire, populist pitchforkery or center-right plausibility.

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