Tim Pawlenty jabbed fellow Minnesota Republican and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann for having a light record of accomplishment in Congress.
“I like Congresswoman Bachmann. I’ve campaigned for her. I respect her. But her record of accomplishment in Congress is non-existent,” the former governor said while appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
He continued: “We’re not looking for folks who just have a speech capability.”
In an interview with The Daily Caller afterward, Pawlenty elaborated on his critiques.
“I think it’s self-explanatory,” he said. “Everybody brings strengths to the table. My strength is I’ve had executive leadership with accomplishments and results as it relates to cutting taxes or reducing spending … as it relates to Congresswoman Bachmann’s record in Congress, the same can’t be said.”
“I’m not running for comedian chief, I’m not running for entertainer in chief,” he told “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory.
“I’ve got the record of toughness better than anyone else in this race,” Pawlenty said. “My goodness. I was the first governor in Minnesota’s history to shut down the government. I set a record for vetoes. I took more money out of the budget using executive authority than all the governors combines in my state.”
Pawlenty acknowledged he has to do well at the Ames Straw Poll next month in Iowa, but downplayed just how well he has to do.
“We need to show improvement,” Pawlenty told TheDC. “We’re in sixth place in the Des Moines Register poll, so we need to show improvement as we come to the straw poll and I’m confident we will.”
UPDATE: Bachmann responds, citing her outspoken opposition to cap-and-trade, bailouts and Obamacare as accomplishments.
“This is an election about the future of our nation — one where voters will have to decide who is best equipped to lead our nation by looking at our records, as well as our vision for the nation,” she said. “Instead of negativity, I want to focus on my accomplishments.”