06/12/2011 01:14 pm ET Updated Aug 12, 2011

Tim Pawlenty: Bill O'Reilly 'Playing The Race Card On Me?'

WASHINGTON – GOP White House hopeful Tim Pawlenty is scoffing at claims that he's too "nice" and too "bland" to take the political fight to President Barack Obama.

Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly said last week that Pawlenty was "invisible" and that "Haagen Dazs could put his picture on vanilla.”

During an appearance on this weekend's edition of "Fox News Sunday," Pawlenty asked host Chris Wallace if O'Reilly really used the word 'vanilla' to describe his persona. After Wallace confirmed the word choice, the presidential candidate joked, "Is he playing the race card on me?"

Wallace replied, "I don’t think so sir. I think he’s just talking about the taste, not the color."

The former Minnesota governor said he had a strong record in running a state, but that "being strong is not the same as being loud."

And Pawlenty said that "if you want the clown in chief, vote for somebody else," adding, "That's not me."