Bachmann swipes at Pawlenty over individual mandate

Potential GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann took a jab at Tim Pawlenty Thursday for expressing openness to an individual health insurance mandate as Minnesota's governor. 

Pawlenty, who is who is vying for the GOP's presidential nomination, said in 2006 that he was open to a state law that would have instituted a mandate, but later rejected the proposal. Bachmann, a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, said that alone could upset GOP voters.

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"I think it will concern the voters," she told conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham. 

Bachmann's comments are one of the first time she has took a direct swipe at Pawlenty and indicates they could emerge as rivals should the congresswoman jump into the race. They will also foment additional speculation that she will enter the field. 

The individual mandate has become a hot topic during the GOP presidential campaign. It is a key element of President Obama's healthcare law, which all Republican candidates oppose.

But it is also a part of the healthcare law Mitt Romney enacted as governor of Massachusetts. Democrats have pounced on Romney's mandate and have looked to hold other GOP candidates' feet to the fire on the issue.

Bachmann said that it's important to have candidates who have been consistent on issues like healthcare reform, saying she has been consistent in opposing President Obama's healthcare law.

"We need to have people who have enough foresight and common sense to know these programs aren't going to work. I'm that kind of person," she said. 

Pawlenty's campaign would not comment on Bachmann's comments directly, but pointed to his recent remarks to National Review, when he explained he eventually overruled a legislative commission that recommended an individual mandate.

"I was presented formally with recommendations from commissions who looked at all this stuff and I rejected my own commission’s recommendations because at least one time, and maybe more than once they had an individual mandate in it,” Pawlenty said.