Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty took to his Twitter account, and later in an interview on Fox News, to fix the score on what many considered a missed opportunity to go after fellow presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, during the Republican primary debate earlier this week.
In Thursday's Fox News interview, Pawlenty yielded that he erred during the debate, in which he was given the chance to reiterate his June 12 attack on Romney, when he said the former Massachusetts governor's role in passing a health care law in Massachusetts acted as a precursor to the federal law passed by President Barack Obama.
President Obama said that he designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare, Pawlenty said on Fox News Sunday, a day before the debate. It's a dramatic overreach and I don't like that approach under Obamacare, and I've been a strong critic of it and I think we should repeal Obamacare in its entirety, Pawlenty had said.
Romney's health care law, which he signed into law, is much like the president's in that it includes an individual mandate requiring citizens to buy health insurance or pay a penalty for going without.
In a tweet on Thursday, Pawlenty wrote: On seizing debate opportunity re: healthcare: Me 0, Mitt 1. On doing healthcare reform the right way as governor: Me 1, Mitt 0.
During Monday night's Republican debate in New Hampshire, Pawlenty had the opportunity to repeat that, but he declined, instead focusing his answer as an attack on Obama, which many considered a missed opportunity.
When asked about it 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 Obamacare and then continues to defend it.
And that was the question. I should have answered it directly. And instead, I stayed focused on Obama. But the question really related to the contrast with Governor Romney. And I should have made the point that he was involved in developing it, he really laid the ground work for Obamacare, and continues to this day to defend it, Pawlenty said.