Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pawlenty's spin machine

Tim Pawlenty's campaign manager, Nick Ayres, to the New York Times:

"This is not a candidate who's been running for president his whole life or for the last 4 or 6 years like others in the field have.

He's really just been campaigning in earnest the last eight weeks."

Of the many spins coming from Team Pawlenty, as of late, one is the idea that he's been scrambling to put together a campaign.

Earlier this month, he told the Des Moines Register:

“This week is the first time that I’ve campaigned in earnest in Iowa."

But he seems to have contradicted himself in a different interview.

"I'm confident this steady approach will begin to pay dividends, particularly as we get into the fall and winter."

A "steady approach" implies you've been doing this thing a long time.

Another frequent spin also shows up in Ayers' interview with the New York Times -- the lowering of expectations for the Ames straw poll by treating a caucus poll as a good predictor of the Ames straw poll.

"The media certainly treat this as a traditional kick-off. It’s a great opportunity to show organization, and show momentum developing.

We accept as fact the Des Moines Register poll that ran three weeks ago, that showed us in a solid sixth-place finish. We’ve got to show real movement."

As I wrote yesterday:

Pawlenty is expected to do better in the straw poll, because fewer candidates are competing in it.

But by using his Iowa caucus polling numbers as his "starting point", he's able to show more progress if he performs well in the straw poll.

..... The campaign is still wielding misleading polls in its attempt to lower expectations.

Pawlenty does, indeed, poll sixth or seventh nationally, but Iowa polls have most recently had him at #3 (here and here).

And again -- by starting at an artificially low point, the campaign is trying to spin a 2nd, 3rd. or 4th place finish as a game-changing rise from the ashes.