Discuss as:

Ex-campaign manager: Bachmann lacks the 'ability or the resources' without winning Iowa

Campaign advisor Ed Rollins talks about Rep. Michele Bachmann's decision to continue to attack Rick Perry for the HPV vaccine he signed into law, calling it "dangerous."

By msnbc.com's Michael O'Brien

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign lacks the "ability or the resources" to last past Iowa's caucuses, her former campaign manager said Monday.

Ed Rollins, a veteran GOP political guru, who stepped down as the congresswoman's campaign manager earlier this month, suggested Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are better-positioned at this point to run an extended campaign to win the nomination.

"I think Michele, which always was the game plan, if she somehow for some reason could win Iowa, then she could get another look. Right now, she's competing hard in Iowa," Rollins said on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. "She doesn't have the ability or the resources to go beyond that, Iowa, at this point and time, where Perry and Romney, with lots of money can go into South Carolina, Arizona, Florida and other places."

Rollins, who helped engineer Bachmann's win at the Ames straw poll in August, stepped into an unpaid advisory role for the Bachmann campaign in early September, citing health concerns related to the grueling pace of a presidential campaign. But his shift also coincided with a slide in the polls for Bachmann associated with Perry's entry into the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Around that time, Rollins had said publicly that Bachmann had slipped into a "third candidate" role.

Rollins said both Perry and Romney are "strong candidates with strong organizations and the ability to raise money," and acknowledged that Perry had stolen some of the energy, especially from Tea Party activists, upon which Bachmann had staked a great deal of her campaign's momentum during its infancy.

Bachmann's sought to recapture some of that momentum by attacking Perry's decision to sign an executive order mandating HPV vaccinations for young women in Texas, though she's faced recriminations for conveying an allegation that one such vaccination caused mental retardation in a patient. Bachmann's also looked to boost campaign funding to stay competitive with Perry and Romney, each of whom enjoy ties to deep-pocketed GOP donor networks.