Washington (CNN) – Veteran Republican campaign strategist Ed Rollins, who signed on to steer Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's looming presidential bid, said his recent criticism of Sarah Palin is not part of an electoral strategy.
Rollins told Fox News' Brian Kilmeade that Palin, who is considering a run for president, has "not been serious over the last couple of years."
"She got the vice presidential thing handed to her," Rollins said Tuesday. "She didn't go to work in the sense of trying to gain more substance. She gave up her governorship."
On the other hand, Rollins touted Bachmann's communication skills, labeling her a "leader of the Tea Party."
But the former CNN contributor said he needs to adjust from "being a political analyst back to being a strategist."
"I don't think Palin runs and if she does we will deal with it. There obviously is a trend in the media to link them," Rollins told CNN. "In the long run we want Palin and her people as our allies."
In an interview with POLITICO, Rollins said the Bachmann campaign will be "so much more substantive."
"People are going to say, 'I gotta make a choice and go with the intelligent woman who's every bit as attractive,'" Rollins said.
The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee launched a bus tour last week and said she is "contemplating" a run for the White House. If Palin ultimately decides to run and Bachmann jumps into the race as expected, they may overlap and compete for support. Both are popular among social conservatives and Tea Party activists, making them naturals to compete in the Iowa caucuses, where social conservatives and Tea Party activists dominate the GOP electorate. Iowa's caucuses kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar.
Rollins was the campaign manager for President Ronald Reagan's 1984 reelection bid and ran former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. He announced his intentions Monday to join team Bachmann's all-but-declared candidacy for president.
The three-term congresswoman has said she will make a presidential announcement in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa before the end of the month. She is also taking part in Monday's CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire.
- On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.