During Monday night's GOP debate, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) made the first and only mention of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), praising her and saying she is qualified to be president.

Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, was asked who made the better choice for vice president in 2008, Obama by choosing then-Sen. Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden blasts Dems for ignoring working-class concerns The Hill's 12:30 Report Cornell unveils Biden ice cream MORE or Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMcCain: Putin a greater threat than ISIS Trump’s defense spending boom that wasn’t Defense hawks gird for budget brawl MORE's (R-Ariz.) selection of Palin.

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The Minnesotan originally focused his comments on Biden, criticizing his Iraq policy, but then turned to praise Palin.

"I think Gov. Palin is a remarkable leader; she is more than qualified to be president of the United States," he said.

Palin, a potential candidate who could shake up the race, was not present for the debate and was hardly mentioned by the moderators or the candidates onstage.