WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty said Sunday he would never support requiring everyone to buy health insurance, taking issue with the health care changes that 2012 rival Mitt Romney oversaw as Massachusetts governor.

Pawlenty discounted Romney’s argument that, while the federal government went too far in requiring individuals to buy insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law, it was appropriate for states to decide if individual mandates were right for them.

“I strongly oppose the individual mandate at any level,” Pawlenty said. “I think it’s a dramatic overreach.” He noted that he was party to a lawsuit in Florida trying to get the law declared unconstitutional.

Elbowing Romney ahead of a candidates’ debate Monday night in New Hampshire, Pawlenty said Obama had stated that “he designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare.”

He added, “What I don’t understand is they both continue to defend it.”

In Boston, Romney’s spokeswoman said Pawlenty’s jabs miss the point.

“Republicans should keep the focus on President Obama’s failure to create jobs and control spending,” Andrea Saul said.

Pawlenty said that as governor of Minnesota he had rejected the individual mandate idea and opted for market-based changes that encouraged consumers to make good decisions in choosing health care plans.

Pawlenty’s attempt to draw a sharp policy distinction with Romney, the current front-runner in the GOP presidential race, came as he sought to bat down suggestions that he’s too nice and too bland to take the political fight to Obama.

Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly said last week that Pawlenty was “invisible” and that ice cream maker Haagen-Dazs could put his picture on vanilla ice cream.

Pawlenty asked “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace whether O’Reilly was “playing the race card on me.” Wallace said he thought O’Reilly was discussing “the taste, not the color.”

The former Minnesota governor said he had a strong record in running a state, but “being strong is not the same as being loud.”

“If you want the clown in chief, vote for somebody else,” Pawlenty said. “That’s not me.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (37)
  1. Me says:

    Funny, when it comes to ice cream, I’d vote for Ben or Jerry before I’d vote for Pawlenty. Heck, I’d even vote for Tom or Jerry.

  2. Not impressed with either party right now says:

    I am not impressed with most of the GOP candidates for president and am very disappointed in Obama. I really want a viable 3rd party.

  3. True Minnesotan! says:

    Maybe the rest of the country should ask the people of Minnesota how well Plenty ran our state. Ask the schools where he put them while in office. Ask the middle/lower class tax payer where he put us. I have had “plenty” of his talk. if the rest of the country wants to be deceived like MInnesota, just vote him in. Fools!

  4. sew says:

    Obama is the best this country has to offer at this time, the GOP has a whole bunch of the same old trouble…..there is never a viable third party option, and quite frankly people do not understand that Obama has to play the game, without playing the game nothing will happen at all.

    Our government is broken and our country is being torn apart by the upper 2%, I’m in the upper 2% and would agree we should pay an equal percentage in taxes to all the other 98%. In times of hardship and tax breaks for those with more, the more use this time to accumulate wealth and not spend….the idea that both the wealthy and big corporations use tax breaks as an opportunity to spend is moronic, the only thing being bought is allot of cheap property to be rented and later sold once the markets turn around, and that isn’t spending…it’s just relocating cash. Why would big companies hire more people or spend more money in a depressed market place? because they got a tax break? that is stupid logic!

    Pawlenty is a perfect example of what America doesn’t need more of, leaders who use smoke and mirrors to make things appear better than they are, and in America we have had enough of this style of leadership over the last 50 years…how about some transparency for the sake of the people!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Pinky212 says:

      Thank you for your honesty. That 98% you spoke of have known for a long time that the tax break money didn’t go to creating more jobs. We heard that crap from Reagan and we’re still waiting for that trickle down stuff he proclimed would be happening.

      Even Warren Buffet said the top 2% should be paying more! He’s the richest self-made billionaire in the nation and sees the inequity of our tax system. Why can’t more Republicans see it, too? Is it because they don’t want to take their eyes off their pockets being lined by corporate America?

      Again, thank you for your comment.

  5. richard says:

    He is a bozo and suffers from delusions of adequancy.

    1. Swamp Rat says:

      Let’s not be this harsh on T-Paw. Let his record in MN speak for him. As time goes on, good folks will see the light of his weird policies, if they haven’t already.

      1. Zeke says:

        I must not be a very good folk. I saw a political hack more interested in sound bites than actual work. All of his talk of less government, less spending etc. Consider as administrator he could have put on a hiring freeze on the state workers and made any department justify a replacement hire. Pro business? Did his power of persuasion work to gain Minnesota anything?.
        Make somebody else pay but not the Federal government! That really gained on my property taxes. Political hacks like Pawlenty who are in politics as a matter of power and ambition should be dealt with this harshly

        1. Swamp Rat says:

          Interesting points and well said. T-Pawl is all talk/hot-air and no viable substance. Too bad many folks don’t see the light of reason which T-Pawl doesn’t really possess.

  6. Swamp Rat says:

    If his economic ideas couldn’t or didn’t work in Minnesota than how can they work on the Federal government level? Taking Reaganomics plus T-Paw spurious addenda to apply to the present national budget crises is a prescription to Depression and national default.

    T-Paw should read up on his high school ECON 101 to find his answers. So far, everything he has espoused doesn’t work. Minnesota is a good example of this premise!

  7. trl the alligator says:

    …LOL….WHAT is he talking about that he is not a clown?….LOL….Pawlenty IS a clown and always has been one……and he couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag if his life depended on it…….Bill Oreilly is right, the goof ball should be on a package of vanilla ice cream. ….Pawlenty WILL NEVER EVER be President of this country.

  8. Murph says:

    Pawlenty was tough enough when it came to abusing senior citizens and the disabled!The whole GOP is like that! Yep,real tough guys.The fascist way is their way! I hope the voters finally find a way to make them go away! Pawlenty has to many skeletons and all of them will spill out,despite the media silence being perpetrated.How about Palin,the E mails? What about the ones not released ! What a joke!

  9. Joshua Miller says:

    Yeah right, Tim. You were clown and chief and everyone in Minnesota knows it!

    1. Joshua Miller says:

      Sorry, I don’t mean to disrespect clowns.

      1. Fizbo says:

        I checked with everyone and we’re not offended.

  10. aPlaingal says:

    why are we forgetting that there is candidate named RON PAUL who is a viable
    He is forgotten to be mentioned by media because they don’t know how to play
    politics with 3 parties.
    let’s be fair and give all candidates their voice .
    I am dissappointed in T. Pawlenty’s tactics of belittleing his candidates. That is not
    the way I thought he would run his campaign.
    Men have taken a beating this week in America. Where are the decent voices?

    Maybe we need to elect all women to see if they would do better?

    1. travis says:

      I’d just like to say that I see Ron paul on TV all the time. I agree media can be stupid, but they are blamed for way too much.

    2. Lessons Learned says:

      How about an old guy and a woman. Oh wait, we tried that.

    3. kieron says:

      Gal, he’s not forgotten at all. It’s a calculated omission. This whole thing is rigged, don’t you get it yet? Stop playing the game and let it come to a screeching halt. Local elections are a better focus for us than whichever window-dressed figurehead is at the helm of the union.

  11. shirley says:

    while governor of minnesota, he shifted the state budget deficit to the local government and say’s he balanced the state budget. He also refused stimulos money that could have started more people back to work. and went along with giving the wealthy their tax breaks , while under his governorship a lot of those jobs went overseas. Most Minnesotans will tell you ENOUGH of pawlenty!

  12. Dr. Kervorkian says:

    Timmy is surprised that Mitt never discovered that allowing the elderly and medically fragile to die was a cost effective means to deliver health care through a state program.

  13. Max says:

    If I were Pawlenty, I wouldn’t be raising the issue of his record in Minnesota. People might actually take a look at it and his campaign will be dead in the water! LOL.

    1. Swamp Rat says:

      Right on! Too bad his policies are getting compared to Reagnomics “plus”! Ronald Reagan had his good points with his economic ideas that had some substance to them. You may not have agreed with them but somehow good or bad they had some overall effect or impact on the national economy.

      T-Pawl’s ideas are a disaster in the making! Minnesota’s state of economic affairs bears this out. Now if the T-Pawl followers would only look at his abysmal MN record and realize he can’t handle the greater national budget with his failed policies then prepare for a 21st Century version of the Great Depression that will take the whole global economy down. Too bad T-Pawl doesn’t see the folly of his ideas!

  14. travis says:

    I’m keeping score. negative comments:15. Positive comments: 0

    1. Calhoun says:

      My post was in reference to the posters not TPaw

  15. Shan says:

    Yup! Couldn’t wait for some candidate to take Romney to task for showing some compassion – making a change, any change, to improve people’s lives. Most repubs will only complain about it, with no workable and *compassionate* plan, How sweet that it was our former absentee guv.

  16. me says:

    Obamneycare? Reminds of when McCain said “that one” of Obama during the debates. Nothing obviously stated but implied.

  17. Missing in Action says:

    Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to put his picture on a milk carton. After all he has been missing for the last eight years.

  18. Terry says:

    Pawlenty or better known as the double talking Mr. Fee,s is about the poorest excuse for a canidate I have seen. There is no hope if he wins the nomination. God help us all.

  19. mike says:

    im in wisconsin with these republican clowns here ruining our state and it looks like the 2 clowns u have in minnesota right now running for president im scared to death for us both we have to make sure obama wins reelection or this country headed for a heap of trouble.

  20. Kelly says:

    Hey Mikey, Stay in Wisconsin and stay off Minnesota comment boards. We don’t like your opinions.

    1. Pinky212 says:

      Hey, Kelly. This is a free country. Remember that First Amendment the Republicans like to throw around while they spew their hate speech at our President and defend people who put crosshairs on maps? Mikey has every right to post here and anywhere he wants to. Welcome to the Board, Mikey!

    2. Swamp Rat says:

      Maybe he sees the light of the MN political follies represented by “Mighty B” and “T-Pawl”!!! The country is already in a heap of trouble with the GOP et.al. in incessant gridlock in DC. Mighty B and T-Pawl only make matters exponentially worse! Besides our Wisconsin brethren may be forewarning of the Depression or economic Armageddon to come with Minnesota’s ersatz political finest! If so, I am preparing to go the hills and live naturally with Mother Earth. What cogent choices do we have???

  21. Pinky212 says:

    The Republicans can get VERY nasty so I expect it will be quite entertaining when they start vetting this “new” guy from Minnesota. They’ll find out lot just by reading the papers. It won’t take them long to realize how he balanced his budget by raising fees (he couldn’t be honest enough to call them taxes), and cutting the legs off the towns and cities. Oh, yeah. It WILL be fun to see them tear at him, and tear at him they will!

    1. Swamp Rat says:


      Tally-Ho! The GOP will be in one helluva dogfight if they ever look up T-Pawl’s MN record or Mighty-B’s weird mouthy euphemisms/gaffes.

      So far the ersatz ignominious Tea Party GOP faction is floundering in tumultuous seas political indirection, political confusion, and lack of political leadership. The mainstream GOP leadership, if you can call it that, is wallowing and sinking in its own misguided unsubstantial course of gloom-&-doom. T-Pawl and Might-B just add to the mayhem.

      Who needs a TV political reality show to premiere and watch? This real-life GOP reality debacle is truly a comedy to watch. Stay tuned and watch the GOP incestuous dogfight continue as “The Country Churns”!!! Tally-Ho!!!

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