Politics
MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE- JUNE 13: Republican candidates (L to R) former Governor Mitt Romney (MA), shakes hands with former Governor Tim Pawlenty (MN), while U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (TX) (C) looks on prior to their debate June 13, 2011 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. This is the first debate for the GOP contenders in the "First in the Nation" primary state of New Hampshire. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images) MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE- JUNE 13: Republican candidates (L to R) former Governor Mitt Romney (MA), shakes hands with former Governor Tim Pawlenty (MN), while U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (TX) (C) looks on prior to their debate June 13, 2011 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. This is the first debate for the GOP contenders in the "First in the Nation" primary state of New Hampshire. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)  

Pawlenty says could have, should have gone after Romney in debate

Photo of Alexis Levinson
Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

After a couple days of insisting that he didn’t understand what the “kerfuffle” was, Tim Pawlenty finally owned up to having messed up in the debate by refusing to attack Romney and doubled down on his attacks of the former governor of Massachusetts’ health care program.

In an interview with Sean Hannity Thursday night, Pawlenty said he should have been more direct in his criticism of Romneycare.

“I should’ve been much more clear during the debate, Sean,” Pawlenty said. “I don’t think we can have a nominee that was involved in the development and construction of Obamacare and has continued to defend it.”

“He really laid the groundwork for Obamacare,” Pawlenty added.

“I don’t think you can prosecute the political case against President Obama if you are a co-conspirator in one of the main charges against the president on a political level,” he said.

“I understand Governor Romney’s argument that it’s different at the state level, but when you look at these two plans with only modest variations, they’re pretty similar and nearly identical,” Pawlenty said.

“The main focus does need to be on President Obama and his failure as a president, but there’s going to be some policy differences between the rest of us and bringing those out in a respectful policy based way, I think, is appropriate, particularly in the context of a debate,” Pawlenty said.

(SHOTS FIRED: Pawlenty attacks Romney on Twitter after backing down in debate)

Pawlenty has come under criticism for his refusal to attack Romney to his face during the debate, after coining the term ‘Obamneycare’ the previous day to explicitly link the health care program that Romney implemented as Governor of Massachusetts to the much-maligned Obamacare.

Despite urging from the moderator, Pawlenty refused to use the term to criticize his opponent in the debate. On the morning shows the next day, Pawlenty justified his response as taking the civil tack because it was about beating Obama, not about attacking other Republicans.

Nonetheless, people called the move cowardly, and Pawlenty was generally declared to have lost the debate.

Pawlenty re-upped his attack on Romney Thursday afternoon on Twitter, tweeting: “On seizing debate opportunity re: healthcare: Me 0, Mitt 1. On doing healthcare reform the right way as governor: Me 1, Mitt 0.”

Watch:


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  • ballotbox

    While watching these people talk and tell how they are going to run this country and if another republican, is acting stupid. They ought to call them out, If the commentator is asking stupid questions, They should call him out,walk out or just plain call him stupid! Whats the matter with these knockleheads anyway, we need a fighting American, not another politically correct mouth piece in Washington. If this country is going to get saved, it’s going to be a fighter that will do it!

  • joeaiello

    Shouldn’t Pawlenty be selling insurance somewhere?

  • teapartypatriot

    “Pawlenty says could have, should have gone after Romney in debate”

    This is NOT the type of person to be in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal as Commander in Chief !!!!!!!!

  • falcon12036

    We certainly don’t need Republicans attacking Republicans. Mitt has already said that he would not replicate that “State” experiment on a national level. While there are going to be policy difference among the candidates, hopefully we will intelligently choose a REAL conservative candidate without leaving any blood on the floor.

    • MyChalkLine

      Mittens isn’t a republican, as a republican are you supportive of his signature ROMNNEYCARE legislation?

  • ConanTheRepublican

    Just what we need, morons… Republican attacking Republican. PERFECT! We don’t have enough worries, why, with 52 candidates in the race, what COULD go wrong?? You know in your heart of hearts, that even with his warts, Romney is the only one that can “Smash the Commie” in 2012. The ticket should just be decided early, and spare all the wasted campaign money: Romney/Pawlenty 2012. It’s a ticket the DemonCraps have nothing to throw at. And you Christian fundoNazis, be sure to gin up your anti-Mormonism, okay–like you did in the last election cycle. Yeah, get all upset over the fact that Romney is a Mormon. Romney won’t make America any more Mormon than Kennedy made it Catholic. So, just get over your infantile disorder about Mormonism. The man’s a freaking BOY SCOUT!

    • MyChalkLine

      Romney can only “Smash the Commie” in 2012 in your commie dreams, why would americans vote for Obama-lite when the could just keep the garbage in office now?

      You haven’t made any case for Romney either except to use an Obama tactic of blame the voters for prejudice “gin up your anti-Mormonism”, you think this passes for campaigning?

  • steebo77

    Palin Decision Expected Next Week (http://tinyurl.com/3wrhkyq)

  • Jdine

    Obama’s biggest threat? Governor Gary Johsnosn! CNN and obama are scared to let Gary Johnson in the debate.. He is a breath of fresh air compared to the other republican candidates. Its really hard for CNN to paint a pro-choice pro-gay rights, anti war GOP candidate who wants to legalize marijuana as a right wing extremist. I believe Governor Gary Johnson is Obamas biggest threat. His socially liberal stances will be attractive to democrat and independent voters. Not to mention he was a very successful two term(that’s one more term than mitt romney) republican Governor in new mexico a state that is 2 to 1 democrat. He left office with a billion dollar surplus and was arguably the most fiscally conservative governor ever. He is a true Statesman and practices good stewardship of your tax dollars. He also will not engage in mud slinging or name calling. He ran two campaigns in NM where he never mentioned his opponent. He will stick to the issues and not try to blame obama. I met Gary Johnson twice last year in my state of MO.. Once when he spoke at UMKC and another event he spoke at Missouri Southern State University. in Joplin Mo. He took the time to answer all my questions and sincerely listened to my concerns.. He is obviously working harder than the other candidates! For this he has earned my vote and support! If you have not heard of Governor Gary Johnson, Google him!

    • Jess81

      Both Socrates and Thomas More recognized that society and civilization couldn’t survive without governance. Libertarianism is logical if we lived in a world peopled by cognizant, logical humans who had internalized “On Liberty” and the New Testament. I’m afraid the state of civilization is such that it would be the Law of the Jungle until the Muslims came in to impose order.

      • truebearing

        Right on! Well written! Libertarianism can only exist in theory, or in a population of exceptionally moral people. It is the ultimate irony that libertarians hate government but are afraid of morality, the one thing that would make their ideology possible.