ABC News' Matthew Jaffe ( @matthewbjaffe) reports:
AMES, Iowa – With today’s straw poll so crucial to his campaign, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty told the crowd here in Ames that they should judge him – and his rivals – on results, not rhetoric.
“I want you to do everything in you can here in the closing hours of the Ames straw poll to give support to my campaign,” Pawlenty said. “I want to look you in the eye – each of you in this arena – and tell you I know what this country needs. I understand our conservative principles. I understand what needs to be done and I’m not just going to stand up here and give you the words. You can take it to the bank. I will restore America’s promise and lead this country to a better, brighter, stronger place.”
Only days after he went toe to toe with rival Michele Bachmann – ripping the congresswoman at Thursday’s debate for a “non-existent” record – Pawlenty this afternoon emphasized that voters can trust him not just to talk the talk, but to walk the walk, something that he said President Obama has failed to do.
“Barack Obama’s rhetoric doesn’t get us a job, does it?” Pawlenty asked – and the crowd roared “No!” “Is it time for Barack Obama to go?” he continued – and the crowd roared “Yes!”
“For us, too, it’s got to be more than words. We’ve got to deliver,” he continued. “So I stand before you as a candidate who stakes his claim to Iowa and his claim in this race here today in large part on the fact that I just don’t talk about it. We get the job done for Minnesota and for America.”
Pawlenty’s supporters are dotting the Iowa State campus today in their green t-shirts, a noted contrast to the supporters of Bachmann and other top contender Ron Paul, both of who have outfitted their backers in red and blue shirts. Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant said they made the color choice because they wanted to “be unique.”
However, they were also unique in the fact that Pawlenty was the only candidate who missed an early-afternoon photo op with the other candidates. Conant said Pawlenty was shaking hands with supporters at his outdoor tent at the time.