Tim Pawlenty became the first candidate to address the highly sensitive issue of rival Michele Bachmann’s chronic migraines, saying on Wednesday that potential presidents need to work “all of the time.”
“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,” he told reporters, per Politico. “There’s no real time off in that job.”
Bachmann’s health is a sensitive topic for the candidate, whose aides allegedly shoved ABCs Brian Ross after he asked whether she had missed votes due to her condition. Despite reports that she has had to take as much as a several days off at a time to recuperate, Bachmann has maintained that her migraines are under control and that anonymous former aides who have labeled them “incapacitating” are exaggerating.
Plummeting in the polls while Bachmann surges, Pawlenty has stepped up direct criticisms of his fellow Minnesotan in recent weeks. Bachmann is well-positioned heading into the Ames Straw Poll next month and Pawlenty’s campaign has increasingly downplayed expectations for the event, recently suggesting that even a fifth place finish might be a partial victory.
TPM reached out to Bachmann’s campaign for comment and will post any response.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.