Reporting from Cedar Rapids, Iowa — Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann hit back at home-state rival Tim Pawlenty on Sunday, likening the former Minnesota governor to President Obama.
"Real world actions speak louder than the words of career politicians," the Minnesota congresswoman said in a statement.
In recent days, Pawlenty — who trails far behind Bachmann in the polls — has directly called her out, saying that her congressional record is nonexistent and that voters cannot afford to send another politician to the White House who lacks executive experience.
"I really doubt … that the nation will or should put somebody into the Oval Office as president of the United States and commander in chief who lacks substantial executive experience running a large enterprise in or out of government," Pawlenty told CNN recently. "… There hasn't been somebody who went from the U.S. House of Representatives to the presidency I think in over 100 years. And there's a reason for that."
Bachmann had avoided engaging Pawlenty until Sunday, when she ripped his record as governor. She accused him of praising the Wall Street bailout and the insurance mandate in Obama's healthcare law, and of backing cap-and-trade legislation on carbon emissions. She touted her own resume, saying that she worked her way through school, worked as a tax lawyer, is fighting Obama's healthcare law and is a leader of the "tea party" movement.
"These are serious times that require serious solutions — not more of the same," she said. "Being right on the issues is critical; it is what the American people demand. Executive experience is not an asset if it simply means bigger and more intrusive government."
Later Sunday, Pawlenty's campaign issued a caustic response: "When Gov. Pawlenty was scoring conservative victories to cut spending, pass market-based healthcare reform, and transform a Supreme court from liberal to conservative, and was elected twice in a very blue state, Congresswoman Bachmann was giving speeches and offering failed amendments, all while struggling mightily to hold onto the most Republican House seat in the state."