WASHINGTON – Tim Pawlenty has fled the building. No, strike that. He’s fled New Hampshire. After having crafted “Obamneycare” and leveled the charge on Mitt Romney this past Sunday, T-Paw went mushy when asked about it last night by CNN’s John King. Or maybe he’s already hedging for the veep spot? Nah, nobody believes that one. Pawlenty simply went yellow.
Politico runs down the reactions:
King’s follow-up was incredulous: “If it was Obamneycare on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ why is it not Obamneycare standing here, with the governor right there?”
That’s when Pawlenty just seemed to give up, abandoning his line of attack and reiterating: “Using the term ‘Obamneycare’ was a reflection of the president’s comments.”
[…] “It was not an, “I paid for this microphone,’ take-charge kind of moment,” said former New Hampshire GOP Chair Fergus Cullen, referring to Ronald Reagan’s famous “I am paying for this microphone” incident during a 1980 New Hampshire GOP debate.
The other problem for Mr. Pawlenty is that he’s not only got Mitt Romney to worry about, but Rep. Michele Bachmann is now pressing down on his must win state of Iowa.
Bachmann’s performance last night blew out Pawlenty’s halting timidity, as she even announced her candidacy on stage in the middle of the debate. Her politics are far right, but she knows how to sell them and has taken a page from Sarah Palin in the makeup and wardrobe department to make sure her image is a attractive as possible.
John McCain came back from a very bad primary start. But Tim Pawlenty is no John McCain. It will only get worse for him if the Romney excitement void brings Rick Perry into enter the race.
At this point, however, everyone in Washington is waiting for Jon Huntsman (psst… he’s in).
Taylor Marsh is a Washington based political analyst, writer and commentator on national politics, foreign policy, and women in power. A veteran national politics writer, Taylor’s been writing on the web since 1996. She has reported from the White House, been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her blog.