Pawlenty takes another jab at Romney
June 18th, 2011
06:12 PM ET
10 years ago

Pawlenty takes another jab at Romney

Minneapolis, Minnesota (CNN) - In front of a friendly group of conservatives, Tim Pawlenty once again did what he declined to do while standing next to Mitt Romney in Monday’s GOP debate: go on the attack against his presidential rival.

At the RightOnline conference in Minneapolis on Saturday, the former Minnesota governor and presidential candidate re-stated a fresh line he’s recently used: that the former Massachusetts governor is a “co-conspirator” in the nation’s health care law that conservatives love to hate.

“If we’re going to have political charges against Barack Obama about health care reform, we better do it with somebody that is not a co-conspirator in the charge,” Pawlenty said, repeating the phrase he’d used previously this week.

And once again, the line was delivered from afar, as Romney is not attending the weekend conference.

In last week’s first 2012 presidential debate in New Hampshire - sponsored by CNN, WMUR and the New Hampshire Union Leader - Pawlenty declined to criticize Romney while the two men were on stage with five other candidates.

Since then, Pawlenty has acknowledged that not going after Romney in the debate was a missed opportunity.

When asked about the incident on Fox News' Hannity Thursday, Pawlenty partly said he "should have been much more clear” at pointing out how the health care law passed in Massachusetts during Romney’s administration contributed to the nation’s health care law.

During his speech, Pawlenty also re-stated a full-throated defense of conservative values.

He talked about a government that “crowds into our lives” and takes over functions previously reserved for families, communities or entrepreneurs; he pushed themes he’s recently delivered on a so-called “Truth Tour,” such as phasing out ethanol subsidies in Iowa or telling seniors and young people in Florida “what it’s really going to take to fix social security”; and he bragged about being the first Minnesota governor to shut down state government in 150 years over taxes and spending, and confronting bus drivers and other transit workers over public employee pensions and benefits.

Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Health care • Mitt Romney • RightOnline • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Maria

    What a very small little man.

    June 18, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. QMrSteinbeck

    Pawlenty the Pretender is a GIANT when he's all by his lonesome but he looked like a terrified mouse when he was one on one with Mitt Romney!

    June 18, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. thomas

    What Courage, what Honer !

    Pawlenty , from working man to Boss Man !

    June 18, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Larry L

    The right-wingers are starting to swift-boat their own. Maybe the Koch brothers have selected the winner but just want to play it out to create the illusion that the Republicans can arrive at a reasonable choice.

    June 18, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. scott

    decisions that families should be allowed to mean like decisions for whatever the reason like abortion....right to life issues when being able to die with dignity....for gays to marry or adopt, you mean decisions like that tim??? stop coming down hard on your running mate mitt romney

    June 18, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. once upon a horse

    the more jabs Tim takes at Mitt while Mitt is not there just makes him look even weaker as a leader. When he's making his jabs the next time, someone from the crowd should yell out "WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY THIS TO HIS FACE?" and see what he says. Maybe Howard Stern's guy might be available to do it, he shows no fear at calling folks out.

    June 18, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. Rodin Amaya

    What a backstabber. He should have told Mitt romney to his face. Wuss. We do not need this type of president who talks smack behind a person's back. Lack of character.

    June 18, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. tsb610


    What happened on Monday night? Lose your voice?

    Fine example of leadership.

    June 18, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. 4merRepubCT

    Pawlenty's right about one thing – government is worming itself into our lives more and more – like requiring doctors to do an ultrasound, and requiring a woman to view it before she can obtain a legal abortion. He's also right that he blew an opportunity when he did not take on Romney during the debate – he's like the online bully who is only mouthy when the victim isn't around – essentially a coward.

    June 18, 2011 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  10. The Elephant in The Room

    This guy isn`t serious abouting winning the nomination. He must be hoping to come in second.

    Even after somehow having been a Governor, this guy lacks the fire in the belly required to COMPETE.

    Regardless of a citizen`s political affiliation, EVERY American wants aWinner`s attitude in the Oval Office.

    Tim Pawlenty doesn`t have it.

    June 18, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    He's a coward - will he tweet his entire campaign to avoid confrontation with Mittens? He peed himself on stage the other night. Be Gone, TPaw.

    June 18, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  12. fayse

    This man is a coward, he could not say anything to Mitt Romney's face when he was given the chance not once but twice. It dosen't matte what he does not, after the fact, he has already shown what he is made of. That together with the fact that he left the State of Minnesota in a mess proves that he is not worthy of the office of the Presidency. The whole bunch are losers.

    June 18, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. greyhackles

    Interesting. Given a national audience where he could have shown the cajones to make his claims to Romney's face, he declined – multiple times.

    This guy is just another clown in the Republican car...

    June 18, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. Allen

    Another clueless Republican...he has no idea what it feels like to be an unemployed or underemployed middle class worker. The GOP campaigned on creating jobs in 2010. So what have they done? They voting on their right wing agenda – A GOP state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain "victims." In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life. But vote for jobs? Not for a billion dollars...

    June 18, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. Auzzie

    What a spineless WIMP!!!! He was standing right next to Romney and said nothing during the GOP debate and now when Romney is not around he start criticizing his health plan initiative.


    June 18, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. New SunriseComing

    Pawlently with your poll numbers I'd keep my mouth shut. Your embarrassing yourself. PALIN 2012

    June 18, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  17. A disgusted former Republican

    Pawlenty is pretty good attacking Romney's back. It is too bad that the spineless wuss doesn't have to the courage to say the same things to his face. T-Paw is a follower not a leader.

    June 18, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  18. Ed

    This guy is a joke. Can someone explain to me what has mitt done since 2008 when he couldnt beat mccain to be the front runner, lol.

    June 18, 2011 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |