ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe (@jaffematt) reports:
Tim Pawlenty today kicked off a media blitz on Iowa voters in advance of the Ames straw poll in August, the first key barometer of how Hawkeye State voters are thinking ahead of the nation’s leadoff caucuses this winter.
Pawlenty this morning launched the first Iowa television ads of the 2012 campaign and unveiled a new website dedicated to the straw poll.
The website prominently features Pawlenty's new ad, which hit the airwaves this morning. In the ad, Pawlenty touts his record as governor of the Minnesota.
“A lot of candidates will come to Iowa and say the same things. The question is, have they done it?" he says. "In a liberal state, I reduced spending in real terms for the first time, took on the government unions and won, appointed a conservative supreme court, and passed health care reform the right way – no mandates, no takeovers. If I can do it in Minnesota, we can do it in Washington."
But according to the Democratic National Committee, the title of the ad should be "smell test" – "because it doesn't pass it."
"The Minnesota Tim Pawlenty left behind wasn’t nearly as rosy as he’d like voters in Iowa to believe," the DNC said today. "Tim Pawlenty left Minnesota with a projected $6.2 billion deficit, higher property taxes, higher tuition rates and all this after slashing spending on critical services for education and seniors. And, at the end of Pawlenty’s tenure health care costs for families had spiked and the number of uninsured had increased. If Tim Pawlenty is looking for a resume item to make the case for why he should be president he should look beyond his failed tenure as Governor of Minnesota.
The new Pawlenty ad and website are yet another indication of the emphasis that the campaign is placing on the straw poll – and on Iowa in general. On Tuesday Pawlenty told Politico that he has to do "reasonably well" in the straw poll – "one of the top, you know, few finishers."
The ad campaign in Iowa, worth just under $50,000, will run from June 22 to July 3 in the Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Omaha, Ottumwa, Rochester, and Sioux City markets.