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Invisible presence at GOP debate in Iowa: Rick Perry

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The two Minnesotans in the race – former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michele Bachmann – turned their simmering cold war into a hot one, leveling charges against one another over their records. Mr. Pawlenty portrayed Congresswoman Bachmann as an ideologue with nothing to show for it; Bachmann charged back with a litany of Pawlenty policies worthy of Mr. Obama.

“She's done wonderful things in her life, absolutely wonderful things,” said Pawlenty. “But it's an undisputable fact that in Congress, her record of accomplishment and results is nonexistent. That's not going to be good enough for our candidate for president of the United States.”

Bachmann, invited to respond, went after Pawlenty before defending herself. She began by accusing him of backing a “cap and trade” system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a policy now seen as anathema by most Republicans – and which Pawlenty has since disavowed.

“Governor,” she said, “when you were governor in Minnesota, you implemented cap-and-trade in our state, and you praised the unconstitutional individual mandate, and you called for requiring all people in our state to purchase health insurance that government would mandate. Third, you said the era of small government was over. That sounds a lot more like Barack Obama, if you ask me.”

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