Pawlenty uses kid gloves with Romney on healthcare

Tim Pawlenty on Monday trod carefully when commenting on Mitt Romney's healthcare reform law just one day after he tied the plan to President Obama's healthcare law, calling it "ObamneyCare."

Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, declined to take further shots at Romney while the two stood together onstage at the GOP presidential primary debate. He explained that he was simply citing President Obama's own words when he came up with the term "ObamneyCare."

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"The issue that was raised in a question from a reporter," he told moderator John King, "I just cited President Obama's own words."

During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Pawlenty was asked if the individual mandate in Romney's plan is different from Obama's federal mandate.

He said: “You don’t have to take my word for, you can take President Obama’s word for it. President Obama said that he designed ‘ObamaCare’ after ‘RomneyCare’ and basically made it ‘ObamneyCare.’ "

On Monday, Pawlenty did suggest that Romney's plan could pose problems for him claiming credible opposition against Obama's plan.

"In order to prosecute the case against Obama, you have to be able to show you have a better plan and a different plan," he said.

Romney, likewise, did not push back against Pawlenty. Instead, he took aim at Obama's healthcare law, pledging to repeal it and grant waivers to all 50 states the first day he takes office, should he be elected. 

"My guess is the president is going to eat those words and wish he didn't say them. I can't wait to debate him," Romney said.

Former Obama White House spokesman Bill Burton said that Pawlenty's response was weak.

"Romney weirdly winning on healthcare because of Pawlenty's weakness. Thats not MN nice, that's kid of [sic] pathetic," he tweeted.

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