Rep. Michele Bachmann may be calling Sarah Palin a friend, not a competitor, but Bachmann’s newest political adviser Ed Rollins went after the former Alaska governor on Tuesday.

Rollins said that Palin is not a serious presidential contender, criticizing the 2008 GOP VP nominee as he touted the reasons he’s joining Bachmann in a radio interview with Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade.

“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.”

“You know, I think Michele Bachmann and others have worked hard,” he continued. “She has been a leader of the tea party, which is a very important element here.”

Rollins, who ran President Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign in 1984, is expected to take the reins for Team Bachmann after she makes her announcement about running later this month in Iowa. He was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s national campaign director for the 2008 campaign.

As Palin sparked speculation once again that she could run with her bus tour, pundits have questioned whether there’s room for both Bachmann and Palin in the 2012 race. Beyond the fact that both are women, they have a similar base within the Tea Party.

Bachmann has previously deflected comparisons to Palin. “The only comparison that I'm concerned about is the one with Barack Obama, and I think that's one that is a very favorable comparison," she said last week.

Bachmann aide Andy Parrish said Rollins was not speaking as a Bachmann adviser. "The Congresswoman and Ms. Palin have an excellent relationship," Parrish said in an e-mail. "Rollins was in his media analyst role."

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