Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty broke Ronald Reagan's "Eleventh Commandment" Sunday by attacking another Republican.
Pawlenty told NBC's David Gregory that fellow Minnesotan and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has had a "nonexistent" record of accomplishments during her time in Congress.
"She's beating you in the polls, she's got more traction coming out of that recent debate and in Iowa," Gregory noted. "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?"
"Well, I like Congresswoman Bachmann," Pawlenty admitted. "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."
"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?" Gregory asked.
"Well, everybody's got different rhetoric that they use," Pawlenty explained. "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..."
"You think those are all the same things?" Gregory pressed.
"Well, they're similar. But, you know, I've used similar terms," the former Minnesota governor said.
Watch this video from NBC's Meet the Press, broadcast July 10, 2011.