Splitville USA: Bachmann and Palin camps at loggerheads?

Bachmann (L) and Palin - AP Photo
Political observers have been trying for weeks to cast a potential 2012 catfight between tea party poster girls Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann—even though Bachmann has long been a vocal supporter of Palin and vice versa.

But as the Minnesota lawmaker prepares to launch her White House bid, it appears at least one person in the Bachmann camp is willing to take on Palin.

Per Politico's Ben Smith, Ed Rollins, Bachmann's newly hired political adviser, let loose on the former Alaska governor in a radio interview today with Fox News's Brian Kilmeade, implying she's a joke of a candidate.

"Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years," Rollins said. "She got the vice presidential thing handed to her. She didn't go to work in the sense of trying to gain more substance. She gave up her governorship."

Bachmann, he said, is the more established GOP candidate; he called her the 2012 field's "best communicator" since Mike Huckabee decided to skip the race.

"Michele Bachmann and others [have] worked hard, she has been a leader of the tea party, which is a very important element here," he said. "She has been an attorney. She has done important things with family values."

It's unclear if Bachmann agrees with her new political strategist's comments, but Rollins' remarks are notable in that Bachmann will have to seek to distinguish herself from Palin sooner rather than later, especially as the ex-Alaska governor considers her own 2012 run.

So far, few candidates—with the exception of Rick Santorum—have been willing to aggressively go after their potential opponents, out of fear of alienating GOP supporters. The dirty work is usually left to political strategists, and Rollins, long a vet of bruising presidential campaigns, has proven repeatedly in the past to be up to the task.

Source: Associated Press