WASHINGTON (CNN) – As Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has ramped up his national profile over the past year, he has focused primarily on domestic issues when criticizing the Obama administration.
But the Republican took aim Monday at President Obama's international posture, questioning whether the president's foreign policy agenda is making the country less safe.
"History proves that it is weakness, not strength, that tempts our enemies," Pawlenty said in an interview with the conservative Web site Newsmax. "And he is projecting potential weakness, and enemies may see that and their respect may be reduced as a result of that, or worse."
Pawlenty launched a political action committee earlier this month called "Freedom First" that allows him to travel the country in support of Republican candidates. Though he fashioned himself as a pragmatic Republican with working class appeal during his two terms as governor, Pawlenty has struck an increasingly partisan tone since announcing in June that he would not seek another term. That has led many political observers to speculate that he's positioning himself for a run for the White House in 2012.
In the interview, Pawlenty also accused the president of being "extremely partisan in his approaches," particularly with his health care reform agenda.
"President Obama has governed in an extremely liberal way, and he hasn't accomplished many major initiatives, but the few that he has have been almost exclusively partisan," he said. "That defies what he said during the campaign and doesn't live up to that promise."
Pawlenty said Obama has "a philosophy that government knows best, a nanny-state mentality on domestic issues that will ultimately be corrosive to the other pillars of our country - to markets, private enterprise, individual responsibility, freedom and liberty."