Pawlenty goes after Mitt Romney, again
June 17th, 2011
10:28 AM ET
12 years ago

Pawlenty goes after Mitt Romney, again

(CNN) - Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has acknowledged he missed a big opportunity to go after a political rival during a CNN GOP primary debate earlier this week, but he's now attempting to go back on the offensive and raise some cash.

The presidential hopeful blasted out a fundraising letter to supporters early Friday, a day after he renewed his attacks on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his role in shaping a health care reform law in Massachusetts that served as a model for the federal law passed last year.

In a tweet on Thursday, and later during an appearance on Fox News, Pawlenty acknowledged that he erred during the debate when he seemingly backed down from comments he had made on Sunday attacking Romney for his role in passing a health care reform law in Massachusetts that served as a model for the federal law passed by President Barack Obama.

"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.

When asked about the incident on Fox News' Hannity Thursday, Pawlenty said, "I think in response to that direct question, I should have been much more clear during the debate, Sean. I don't think we can have a nominee that was involved in the development and construction of Obama-care and then continues to defend it."

One of the biggest challenges Romney faces as a nominee is defending his role in shaping the Massachusetts health care law to conservatives who oppose its inclusion of an individual mandate to buy health insurance. Romney has tried to walk a fine line of defending the Massachusetts law as a state experiment while panning the federal law as overreaching.

His opponents, however, have consistently sought to tie the former governor to Obama's health care reform law. It was Pawlenty's use of the term 'Obamneycare," last Sunday on Fox that prompted the awkward debate exchange in which Pawlenty demurred when asked about his earlier comments by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

Pawlenty's attempt to focus his answer on President Obama rather than back up his criticism of Romney was widely panned as a missed chance to go after his opponent.

But on Thursday, Pawlenty was back on the attack, saying of Romney, "I don't think you can prosecute the political case against President Obama if you are co-conspirator and one of the main charges against the president on the political level. And so, it really puts our nominee, if that who it turns out to be in a very difficult spot."

Updated 11:29 a.m.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. FM

    I have one advice to Tim the Pawlenty though he didn't ask for it. Can you please take your ball and go home while the sun hasn't risen and make you start sweating for nothing. This is not the way a person impresses other people!

    June 17, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. Lew

    I'm a republican and will be voting for a Republican....but It wont be Pawlenty! Exactly what we dont need...a coward who hides behind the media when taking his shots. he is a weasel. But I will say this.....CNN and others got it so wrong in the Debate last week. Romney was not your winner and neither was Bachman. Newt Gingrich by far outshined all of them...he is the most knowledgable and on track with what Conservatives want. Its unfortunate that his mouth sometimes get shim in trouble. he has some great ideas and would better serve our country. On a personal note people dont like his arrogance, but on a Professional aspect I like him a lot.

    June 17, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. The Elephant in The Room


    The Courage To Stand?? – No, not so much afterall.

    President Obama popped Somali pirates without blinking, held BP`s feet to the fire to funds a $20B kitty to fix the Gulf, made the gutzy call to terminate bin Laden mano-a-mano.

    What would T-Paw have done? Google & Tweet – and that would come days after the crisis had passed.

    June 17, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. John

    Tim Pawlenty left Minnesota as GOV with billione dollars In dept and Bridges fallen down. This man Is a IDIOT.

    June 17, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. Tim, there is a reason why

    You don't have the cojones to do it. If you dont have the cojones to even attack someone as easy as Mitt Romney, how are you going to make the "gutsy call" that President Obama has already made and executed to perfection.

    You are now officially marginalized, as if you weren't already with your $9 billion deficit you left in Minnesota, and you have no shot of winning.

    June 17, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. Marie MD

    This paw man talks big but when he is in the same room as the person he speaks about he hides his tail between his legs and cowers in a corner and doesn't make eye contact. Very macho!
    Speaking of eye contact . . . Is the botox that bachman has been using make her not be able to see the camera? She doesn't even look at the audience. She just looks over in the distance. Wait, never mind, it IS bachman. Not much between the ears and I guess that includes her eyesight!

    June 17, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Sniffit

    The Minnesota state government is SHUTTING DOWN because of the mess this guy left. Why are we still pretending he's even remotely legitimate as a candidate for POTUS? Why is CNN refusing to cover that story?

    June 17, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. KeithMinn

    Pawlenty was an insincere weasel while governor of MN and continues now into his presidency campaign. He basically "balanced" the Mn budget by borrowing from the next year and using designated funds for purposes of the general budget. Any claims he makes regarding his fiscal prowess are greatly exaggerated, along with his folksy drawl as displayed in Iowa. Obviously he doesn't feel confident enough to stand up for himself on the national state with is back-pedaling on the heath care issue with Romney. What a boob.

    June 17, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    Forget the Pawlenty versus Romney match up, a real yawner. The real dust-up would be Palin versus Bachmann, a real nasty and dirty cat fight.

    June 17, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. fayse

    Pawlenty backed down from his earlier statements criticizing Romney when he was face to face with him during the debates and then later on Fox, of course, he takes another jab at Romney. And it is true that the State of Minnesota in on the verge of being shut down because of his mismanagement and leaving the State in such a massive debt.
    As for the others, Romney is a flip flopping rich phoney. Gingrich's third wife calls the shots, Santorum lost his bid for reelection in Pennsylvania, Bachmann is vapid and I have never read one comment from anyone that thinks that she has the qualifications to be President. Ron Paul, his ideas cannot work in this day and time. We live in a Global economy and we can't turn back 80 years and suddenly become isolationist. Rick Perry, I wish that Texas could secede from him. Every one of them are losers.

    June 17, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. once upon a horse

    attack your opponent from Twitter, FaceBook, or on FoxNews when he's not there! Well Tim so far you have passed "Sarah Palin 101. Now all you have to do is next time claim it was a "gotcha" question and you'll get an A!

    June 17, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |