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 BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Trump: Why didn't Obama 'do something about Russian meddling?' 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states MORE or Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better 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.