One day after Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty
went after front-runner Mitt Romney by linking his Massachusetts healthcare program to President Barack Obama’s national one – Obamneycare, he called it – the former Minnesota governor pulled back his attack in the presidential debate Monday. And GOP strategists are puzzled, Politico reports
When Pawlenty was asked during the debate, “Why ‘Obamneycare’?” he struggled to come up with a coherent answer.
“Pawlenty made an odd decision to back away from his health care attack on Romney which made him seem weak or at a minimum uncertain,” said Jim Dyke, a former top Republican National Committee official, adding: “Pawlenty probably should stick to prep and skip the bowling for the next debate.”
Says veteran GOP advertising guru Alex Castellanos: “Debates are competitions. They are alpha dog battles. To win one, you have to create what I call a moment of strength. Tim Pawlenty had a chance to get in the ring tonight with the heavyweight champion and create such a moment. He refused to enter the ring.”
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