Politics

Pawlenty: I probably won’t use ‘Obamneycare’ term tonight

Alex Pappas Political Reporter

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Tim Pawlenty downplayed the political significance of his newly coined term “Obamneycare,” saying he likely won’t use it tonight to attack Mitt Romney at the GOP presidential debate.

“Probably not,” when asked Monday during a gaggle with reporters outside Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics if he plans to use the term to take it to Romney at the St. Anselm College debate.

The former governor of Minnesota used the word Sunday while being interviewed on Fox News when asked if there’s a difference between Obamacare and the health-care law passed in Massachusetts when Romney was governor.

It was viewed as notable as it could signify that Pawlenty is ready to play hardball and go after Romney for perhaps his biggest weakest. But the governor claims that isn’t the case.

“The point wasn’t to make a swipe at Mitt Romney, I was responding to the question of the similarities and the differences between Obamacare and what happened in Massachusetts,” he said Monday.

But he added: “During the debate, I’ll certainly respond to any questions that come up.”

Pawlenty spent Monday morning touring Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics and talking with patients there. He watched a patient with a prosthetic leg run on a treadmill; Pawlenty also shook hands with a veteran who had lost his arm but now has a prosthetic replacement.