Pawlenty: Obama can be beaten in 2012

President Obama can and should be beaten in 2012, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) said Wednesday.

Pawlenty said he'll decide "soon" whether he'll be one of the Republican candidates to challenge Obama next fall, but ramped up his rhetoric against the president.

"I don't think he's unbeatable. I think he should be beaten," Pawlenty said on Fox News.

The former two-term governor didn't go as far as one of his possible competitors for the GOP nod, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who said that he thinks he could be the Republican to knock off Obama.

But Pawlenty wasn't short on the kind of barbs that typically serve as a precursor to running.

"I don't think he's done a good job as president; he doesn't deserve reelection," he said.

Pawlenty's made the number of trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that are consistent with a candidate considering running. He's had active PACs on the national and state level, and written the obligatory campaign book to introduce himself to voters.

Still, he's suffered from somewhat low poll numbers so far: barely registering, for instance, in a Gallup poll released Wednesday on Republicans' preference for the party's nominee in 2012.