Pawlenty on potential Bachmann presidential run: 'It's a free country'

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) doesn't sound too happy about the prospect of a 2012 presidential bid from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

"Well, it's a free country," Pawlenty told Politics Daily when asked what he thought of Bachmann's presidential trial balloon. "Anyone can run that's over the age of 35."

The Minnesota governor, who's about to embark on a book tour and has been laying the groundwork for a 2012 bid of his own for months, said he has "respect" for Bachmann and described his relationship with her as "cordial and positive." 

A Bachmann bid would likely divert attention from contenders like Pawlenty, who hold less of a natural appeal to the GOP base and Tea Party activists.