Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty doubled down on his recent combative campaign posture in an appearance Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, suggesting that President Obama has demonstrated a lack of courage in debt-ceiling negotiations.
The former Minnesota governor, who took criticism earlier in the campaign for pulling his punches, derided the president on Sunday for failing to produce a specific budget plan as House Republicans have.
"If you're the leader of the free world, would you please come to the microphone and quit hiding in the basement about your proposals and come on up and address the American people?" Pawlenty said, in an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley. "Is he chicken?"
Obama has effectively ceded leadership on America's debt crisis to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Pawlenty said, because the president is scared of the political ramifications of talking about entitlement reform.
"He won't do it because he doesn't have the courage to do it," Pawlenty said.
Since taking criticism for seeming to balk at attacking rival Mitt Romney in a June debate, Pawlenty has attempted to take a more aggressive stance in recent weeks, including his comment earlier this month that Rep. Michele Bachmann's "record of accomplishment in Congress is nonexistent."