In the midst of some low polling numbers and a less than invigorated campaign launch, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has released a new ad that addresses his faith. Additionally, the video showcases his stances on abortion, gay marriage and other related issues. With 60 percent of Iowa caucus voters describing themselves as evangelicals, the theologically-heavy political ad seeks to help Pawlenty connect with citizens on a spiritual level.
Following a photo montage, viewers hear first from Pawlenty's wife, Mary. She leads the more than six minute clip with the following words: "I was raised in a Christian family." The Washington Post has more:
Mary Pawlenty may well be the real star of the video. The candidate stood silent, watching his wife as she described the role of faith in her daily life, including “a little time with the Lord, spending time with a devotional, a scripture passage, sometimes in prayer, it varies every day.”
Watch the ad, below:
In addition to releasing the evangelical-friendly clip, the Pawlenty campaign has also hired Sarah Huckabee, who helped her father win the Iowa caucuses back in 2008. The campaign sent out a letter signed by Ms. Huckabee that urges voters to support Pawlenty, because he "has the same conservative convictions and executive experience I admire in my dad."
The Washington Post describes the campaign's methodology as follows:
The moves reveal the urgency for Pawlenty to do well among Iowa’s evangelical voters at a time when his standing is not improving in polls. Pawlenty is competing for those votes with a fellow Minnesotan, Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is hugely popular among Christian conservatives and whose own standing in recent polls has shot to the top of the field in Iowa since she entered the presidential race a few weeks ago.
In describing the video, Jon Ward of The Huffington Post writes:
Tim Pawlenty may have finally figured out who he wants to be as a candidate...
There are also small touches that will play very well with Christian conservatives....
The ideological meat of Pawlenty's statement in the video comes when he talks about the separation of church and state. The idea of separation, he says, was "intended to protect people of faith from government, not government from people of faith."
Numerous outlets point out the fact that the advertisement does more than simply situate Pawlenty among Iowa evangelicals; it also backs up the candidate's opinions on highly-contentious issues without forcing him to join other candidates as a signatory of a controversial marriage pact.
In a piece entitled, "Tim Pawlenty Loves God, But Not Enough to Sign Iowa Marriage Pledge," CityPages.com's Mike Mullen pokes fun at the ad, writing:
The Pawlentys spend a lot of time smiling at each other. It seems like nothing makes them happier than watching each other talk about God...
Other notable images that flash by the screen include an American flag waving in super slow motion, and a baby, who is apparently a big Pawlenty supporter.
Pawlenty has also released a radio ad that addresses his faith:
What do you think? Are these moves just what Pawlenty needs to connect with American evangelicals?