Tim Pawlenty, whose presidential candidacy is being smothered by the flashier Michele Bachmann, semi-subtly questioned Bachmann's fitness for office Wednesday by implying that she might need too much time off for her migraines. "All of the candidates I think are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job all of the time," Pawlenty said, according to Politico's Ben Smith. "There's no real time off in that job."
Asked if voters should consider a candidate's capacity to do the job, Pawlenty said: "As a general requirement for the office, I think that applies to all of us."
Tuesday, The Daily Caller reported that Bachmann gets migraines about once a week--sometimes incapacitating her for days--and that she needed a lot of pills to keep them under control. Bachmann confirmed she gets migraines and takes prescription pills for them, but said the details of the story were incorrect. She did not elaborate on what, exactly, was factually inaccurate.
That Pawlenty would go after Bachmann on a medical problem--an issue many pundits said should be off limits--shows how desperate he is to slow her rise in Iowa. Pawlenty's campaign, which initially seemed to be making all the right establishment moves, has been struggling, and the upcoming Ames straw poll is widely considered to be make-or-break for him. He's spent more than $400,000 on ads in the state. He's going on a 20-day RV tour of its towns. But he's still far behind the congresswoman in polls of Iowa voters. Now, he's trying to lower expectations by telling NPR's Liz Halloran that his goal is only to place better than sixth in the straw poll.