Former adviser to President Obama David Axelrod this week slammed GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty's economic plan, saying it echoes failed Bush administration policies. 

Axelrod, who is expected to serve in a senior role on Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, riffed off Pawlenty's claim that if private enterprise provides a service that's searchable on Google, the government should not offer it as well.


"What he should Google is 'job growth for the last decade,' " Axelrod said in an interview with the Huffington Post published Thursday. "What he should Google is 'what happened to income for the last decade,' when in many ways the policies that he prescribed were the governing theory."

Even though Democrats have made similar attacks against the former Minnesota governor's plan, Axelrod's jab is one of the most direct from a member of Obama's team.

White House press secretary Jay Carney also addressed the plan in a more muted tone Wednesday, saying that large tax cuts contained in Pawlenty's plan are "probably not the best approach."

Pawlenty's campaign responded, saying Obama's team doesn't have a plan to create jobs and grow the economy.

"President Obama's team is content with anemic growth and trillion dollar deficits for as far the eye can see. Gov. Pawlenty believes we can do better, and has set a high goal with a plan to achieve it," said Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant. "Frankly, we're not going to be lectured by somebody who helped rack up trillions in new debt and accepts pathetic economic growth as the best America can do."

Obama's allies are looking to push back on Republicans who have hammered the president on the economy, an issue expected to dominate the 2012 campaign. A slew of polling data was released this week that shows Obama's numbers suffering when it comes to his handling of economic issues, indicating that he could be vulnerable to attacks.

Axelrod's comments also suggest Democrats are treating Pawlenty seriously as a contender for the Republican nomination, since he singled him out for criticism.

Axelrod ripped Pawlenty's handling of budgetary issues during his two terms as governor, saying he used budget gimmicks that left the state in the red. Pawlenty's advisers have previously rejected that claim as false.

"He should also Google 'budget deficits in the state of Minnesota.' And what he’ll find is, when he left, he left a projected deficit of $6.2 billion, which doesn’t exactly qualify him as an expert on fiscal responsibility," Axelrod said.

—This post was updated at 1:44 p.m.