Tim Pawlenty released a new ad called “The American Comeback.” The Ad invokes the famous United States’ “Miracle on Ice” hockey victory when the underdog Americans improbably beat the hugely favored and dominant Russians in the semifinals of the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid.
Team Pawlenty is smart to play the underdog. They have worked to (or have been forced to, which may be a better description) lower expectations for Pawlenty in Ames Straw Poll in August and are banking on beating expectations in Ames to jumpstart their campaign.
In recent days, though, Pawlenty’s advisers seem to be lowering expectations to the point where they can spin a victory over Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman in the Straw Poll as a “victory,” which seems laugahble. Beating those expectations in the Straw Poll cannot certainly be compared to the “Miracle on Ice,” which, as the ad most likely implies, is a reference to Pawlenty’s underdog status to win the nomination.
To win the nomination, Pawlenty must first do well enough in Ames to get some momentum heading into the fall. To do that, he needs to find a message and theme that link with his compelling biography while contrasting himself with putative frontrunner Michele Bachmann.
And that is exactly what Pawlenty is trying to do this week as he takes an RV across Iowa and in the weeks leading up to the Straw Poll. Time will tell if he can find enough Iowans who see perhaps their inner underdogs in Pawlenty.
The ad can be seen beneath the transcript, which is here:
Out here, you’re tested.
You face an opponent experts say can’t be beat.
You fight, you bleed, you prevail.
Our country’s down but we’re not out.
To come back, we need a leader with a proven record, not just rhetoric.
I took on the unions, and won.
I shut down a government, and won.
I moved a liberal state in a conservative direction.
Join me, and prove the experts wrong.
I’m Tim Pawlenty, and I approve this message.