T-Paw can’t seem to stop talking about Michele Bachmann. But whereas his previous criticisms were direct and to the point, he only implied inadequacy yesterday — then later clarified that he hadn’t intended to be critical of Bachmann personally at all.

Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty walked back earlier criticism of rival Michele Bachmann’s migraines on Wednesday, calling the attention over her headaches “a sideshow.”

“I think it’s mostly a sideshow,” Pawlenty said on Fox News. “I’ve observed Congresswoman Bachmann. I’ve never seen her have a medical condition or impairment that would seem to be a concern.”

Earlier in the day the former Minnesota governor said “candidates are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job, all of the time.”

Truthfully, I’m with Pawlenty on this — all of this. His original observation is patently obvious — but, like so many obvious points, too often goes unsaid. If nothing else, the headache over Bachmann’s headaches has hopefully reminded the electorate of just how demanding the position of president actually is … and of just how fit — mentally and physically — a candidate needs to be to cope with what’s to come. That’s not commentary on any particular candidate (least of all Bachmann, who, through all of this, has proved herself resolute and irrepressible), just a fact.

Pawlenty’s second observation is equally spot-on. Time to stop talking about Bachmann’s health and get back to the issues (as Bachmann has also requested to do).

But in light of his past comments, whatever Pawlenty said about Bachmann in connection to this would have been interpreted as critical. In reality, Pawlenty’s response was no different than the responses of other GOP presidential potentials. He acknowledged health to be a factor in the race — but said he saw no reason why Bachmann should be perceived as any less physically able to assume the presidency. That’s what Rep. Ron Paul, among others, said almost to a T. “What a president is capable of doing” should be a factor, Paul said, but Bachmann’s headaches shouldn’t be the deciding factor of her campaign.