By MIKE GLOVER
ATLANTIC, Iowa - Republican presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty are trying to use the downgrade of the nation's credit rating to their political advantage ahead of this weekend's Iowa straw poll.
It's a high-stakes event for both. Bachmann hopes to keep her momentum going with a strong showing while a struggling Pawlenty is looking for a much-needed boost.
Both were packing their campaign schedules ahead of Saturday's test vote.
In Atlantic, Iowa, Bachmann blamed President Barack Obama's spending policies for the rating downgrade. The Minnesota congresswoman voted against raising the debt ceiling.
Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor, echoed that theme while in Ames. He says the decision by the rating agency makes it clear that the federal government is out of control and needs to be cut back.