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Coleman Would Back Pawlenty Over Bachmann Coleman Would Back Pawlenty Over Bachmann

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Coleman Would Back Pawlenty Over Bachmann

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Norm Coleman speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2008.(Chip Somedevilla/Getty Images)

Should former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) be faced with a choice for president between two fellow Minnesotans -- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) -- he'd go with Pawlenty, he told Hotline On Call on Tuesday.

"I've been on the Tim bandwagon for a while," Coleman said. "In the last cycle I said he'd be a great president ... and I've been consulting on and off with him since."

But Coleman said he's also spoken with Bachmann about her plans and "what's in her heart." The possibility that both the congresswoman and Pawlenty will make a White House bid presents a dilemma for him.

"I've got one guy that's in and another very close friend who's thinking about being in," Coleman said. "At this point, I am there with Tim, but I have only good things to say about Michele Bachmann."

Coleman said he would adhere to Ronald Reagan's "11th commandment" that "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican," adding, "I'm not saying I would be actively against [Bachmann], so in that sense it wouldn't be a competition."

Even as Bachmann is mulling a presidential campaign, she filed statement of candidacy forms with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday, allowing her to raise money for a House reelection campaign, should she decide not to make a presidential bid.

Coleman is currently CEO of the independent political organization American Action Network, which spent more than $26 million on the 2010 federal elections, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

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