Pawlenty looks to ‘show good progress’ at Iowa Straw Poll

Tim Pawlenty says he doesn’t have to win the Iowa Straw Poll this weekend, but his campaign is going to “show good progress” when the votes are tallied.

Pawlenty, appearing on Fox News Sunday, was asked if he thought he needed to beat fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann in the straw poll given how much time and money he’s spent in Iowa.

“I think we’ve got to move from the back of the pack and show some progress towards the front of the pack,” he said. “I feel very confident our campaign in Iowa. I think we’re going to do well in Ames. I don’t think we have to win it. We have to show progress. But then we’ll be in position to win those caucuses next January or February, and that’s the ultimate objective here.”

Polls from Iowa generally show Pawlenty in about third place in the race there, usually polling in the high single digits. A Real Clear Politics average of polls between June 19 and August 4 shows Bachmann in first with 26 percent, Mitt Romney in second with 22 percent and Pawlenty in third with 8.2 percent.

The Pawlenty campaign has reined in expectations for the straw poll dramatically, with a campaign spokesman saying in July that a result better than “sixth or seventh” would be a step in the right direction.

Here’s Pawlenty’s complete interview on Fox News Sunday (but those averse to lip-sync problems have been warned):

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com

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