Michele Bachmann is finally pushing back on Tim Pawlenty's claims that she doesn't have the experience and record to be the next president.
In a lengthy statement issued Sunday, the Minnesota congresswoman slammed Pawlenty, suggesting he doesn't have "real world" experience. She likened his record to President Obama's, claiming the two have a shared political philosophy.
"Gov. Pawlenty said in 2006, 'The era of small government is over … The government has to be more proactive and more aggressive,'" Bachmann said. "That's the same philosophy that, under President Obama, has brought us record deficits, massive unemployment, and an unconstitutional health care plan."
Citing Pawlenty's past support for a health care mandate, cap-and-trade legislation and 2008's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), Bachmann insisted "actions speak louder than words."
"I have demonstrated leadership and the courage of my convictions to change Washington, stop wasteful spending, lower taxes, put Americans back to work and turn our economy around," she said. "That's my record. It's a record of action. Real world actions speak louder than the words of career politicians."
Bachmann's comments came after Pawlenty again questioned her legislative experience in Washington in an interview with CNN. "These are really serious times and there hasn't been somebody who went from the U.S. House of Representatives to the presidency, I think, in over a hundred years, and there's a reason for that," he said in an interview that aired Friday.
The former Minnesota governor has taken aim at Bachmann in recent weeks as she's become the candidate to beat ahead of next month's Iowa straw poll. A recent poll found her narrowly leading Mitt Romney in Iowa, 25 percent to 21 percent. Pawlenty registered with just 9 percent support--a disappointing showing in a state that he must win in order to gain momentum against Romney in other early primary states.
Until yesterday, Bachmann had ignored Pawlenty's jabs. Her decision to strike back hints that her campaign is perhaps starting to take the ex-governor more seriously in the run-up to next month's straw poll.
"These are serious times that require serious solutions--not more of the same," Bachmann said Sunday, nearly echoing Pawlenty's comments to CNN. "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."