Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) went on the attack Sunday against Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannEvangelicals shouldn't be defending Trump in tiff over editorial Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in White House backs Stephen Miller amid white nationalist allegations MORE (R-Minn.), calling into question whether she's qualified to be president.

Pawlenty, whose bid for the GOP presidential nomination has taken a back seat to Bachmann's in Iowa, dropped the gloves against Bachmann, a fellow Minnesotan and Tea Party darling who's the arguable frontrunner in next year's caucuses.


"I like Congresswoman Bachmann. I’ve campaigned for her. I respect her. But her record of accomplishment in Congress is non-existent," Pawlenty said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Pawlenty said the three-term lawmaker didn't have the necessary experience, accusing her of doing little more than delivering good speeches.

"We're not looking for folks who just have speech capabilities," he said. "We're looking for people who can lead a large enterprise in a public setting and drive it to conclusion. I have done that, she hasn't."

The jab was the second time Pawlenty has used a Sunday show appearance to go on the attack against a rival for the GOP presidential nod. He coined the term "ObamneyCare" to tether together President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) respective healthcare plans.

But Pawlenty passed the next day, though, at repeating the charge when sharing a stage with Romney, a moment seen as symptomatic of the narrative that Pawlenty is too nice or too dull.

His attack against Bachmann now comes against a backdrop in which he needs to start getting traction — the New York Times wondered this week in a story if he would drop out — before next month's influential straw poll in Ames, Iowa. Pawlenty's campaign needs a good showing there to secure an infusion of energy and money, and Bachmann appears set to contend, coming off several weeks of campaigning and a poll last month suggesting she was a popular choice of Iowa GOP caucusgoers.

"In the next 60 days we need to show significant progress," Pawlenty said of the status of his campaign. "I'm confident in the Iowa Straw Poll that we will."

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