Pawlenty, unwilling to attack Romney in debate, takes shot on Twitter

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Tim Pawlenty took to Twitter Thursday to do damage control on his roundly criticized debate performance and attack the health care program Mitt Romney instituted as governor of Massachusetts.

“On seizing debate opportunity re: healthcare: Me 0, Mitt 1. On doing healthcare reform the right way as governor: Me 1, Mitt 0,” Pawlenty tweeted. (AHEAD: Poll: Romney still leading the pack)

Pawlenty drew substantial criticism for refusing to directly attack Romney or his health care plan during the debate in New Hampshire on Monday night. The day before, Pawlenty coined the term “ObamneyCare” explicitly tying Romney to Obama’s much-maligned health care plan. But when asked about it in the debate, Pawlenty declined to use the term, or to go after Romney.

Pawlenty defended himself on the morning shows on Tuesday, saying that it was about attacking Obama, not about attacking each other. But critics called the performance weak, and named Pawlenty as the big loser of the debate.