Video: Pawlenty on Bachmann

  1. Transcript of: Pawlenty on Bachmann

    MR. GREGORY: Well, what about fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann ? She's beating you in the polls, she's got more traction coming out of that recent debate and in Iowa . You're a nice guy, you say you're not going to, you know, speak disrespectfully of a fellow Minnesotan . But this is about, again, distinguishing yourself from others in the field. What makes you different than Congresswoman Bachmann ?

    GOV. PAWLENTY: Well, I like Congresswoman Bachmann . I've campaigned for her, I respect her. But her record of accomplishment in Congress is nonexistent. It's nonexistent. And so we're not looking for folks who, you know, just have speech capabilities, we're looking for people who can lead a large enterprise in a public setting and drive it to conclusion. I've done that, she hasn't.

    MR. GREGORY: Do you think she's too controversial? She has said on this program and elsewhere that this is a gangster government. She thinks the president has un-American views. Do you think that reflects a temperament that's not suitable for the presidency?

    GOV. PAWLENTY: Congresswoman Bachmann and I are -- you know, share many of the same issue positions. We're both conservatives. I think the main difference is this, I've got executive leadership in a public setting with a record of accomplishment and results under difficult and challenging circumstances, and she has served in Congress . And in that regard, her record of accomplishment is, you know, like I said, nonexistent.

    MR. GREGORY: Well, what about my question? Do you think it's appropriate to describe the federal government as a gangster government, this administration as a gangster government?

    GOV. PAWLENTY: Well, everybody's got different rhetoric that they use. The federal government 's out of control. Let's face it, it's plain for everybody to see. So whether you call it a gangster government, out of control, reckless, irresponsible...

    MR. GREGORY: You think those are all the same things?

    GOV. PAWLENTY: Well, they're similar. But, you know, I've used similar terms.

    MR. GREGORY: And so you think that's appropriate?

    GOV. PAWLENTY: A gangster government?

    MR. GREGORY: Yeah, to call the president, the administration a gangster government?

    GOV. PAWLENTY: Well, I've called it incompetent, I've called them out of control, I've called them misguided, I've called them failed. I mean, pick your choice. But the point is, this is a group of people who are disconnected from the economic needs of the people in this country. People are hurting. We've got nearly $4 a gallon gas, we've got crushing levels of unemployment. We have a federal government that's out of control.

    MR. GREGORY: Yeah.

    GOV. PAWLENTY: And we have a president who has no clue.

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7/11/2011 8:28:22 AM ET 2011-07-11T12:28:22

Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty said Sunday that 2012 rival Michele Bachmann has a "nonexistent" record of accomplishment during her three terms in Congress.

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Pawlenty, who's behind in the polls and lagging in fundraising, said that as a former Minnesota governor, he has executive experience she lacks.

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

He continued, "I've got executive leadership in a public setting with a record of accomplishment and results under difficult and challenging circumstances, and she has served in Congress. And in that regard, her record of accomplishment is, you know, like I said, nonexistent."

Bachmann rejected Pawlenty's criticism. She cited her efforts in the House against President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul, saying, "My message brought tens of thousands of Americans to Washington, D.C., to oppose Obamacare."

The Minnesota congresswoman also cited her votes against "cap-and-trade" legislation to control greenhouse gases, and against the government's 2008 bailout of banks, financial firms and automakers.

"I am proud of my record of fighting with resolve, and without apology, for our free markets, for sane fiscal policies, and in opposition to the advancement of the big government left," Bachmann said.

A poll last month in early-voting Iowa put former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and tea party favorite Bachmann at the top. Pawlenty was back in the pack despite an aggressive campaign in the state.

"These early polls are not a good indicator of anything," Pawlenty insisted on NBC. "If they were, Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton would be president of the United States."

But he acknowledged that over the next 60 days, he needs to show "significant progress." He pointed to the Iowa Republican Party's straw poll on Aug. 13 and said he thinks he'll prevail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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