This morning on NBC’s Meet the Press, GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) dismissed the accomplishments of fellow Minnesotan and GOP contender Michele Bachmann (R). Pawlenty has been criticized for being too reluctant to throw punches at other candidates, but he exhibited less compunction today:
GREGORY: What makes you different than Congresswoman Bachmann?
PAWLENTY: I like Congresswoman Bachmann. I’ve campaigned for her. I respect her. But her record of accomplishment in Congress is non-existent. It’s non-existent. So, we’re not looking for folks who just have a speech capability. We’re looking for people who can lead a large enterprise in a public setting and drive it to conclusion. I’ve done that. She hasn’t.
Many have speculated whether there is enough room in the Republican race for two Minnesota politicians. Pawlenty, whose political action committee was embarrassingly still raising money for Bachmann until very recently, has refrained from criticizing her until now.
Pawlenty’s critique comes only days after one of his top aides came under fire for making “sexist” comments about Bachmann. Specifically, Vin Weber said Bachmann would be tough to beat in Iowa in part because she has “sex appeal.”
Pawlnety’s campaign has been floundering after consistently bad poll numbers and expensive ad buys in Iowa have some wondering whether he’ll be the first Republican to withdraw from the race.