Pawlenty won't name GOP 'isolationists'

GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty has been critical of a growing trend of isolationism within his own party, but he's not naming exactly who is responsible for it.

During an interview with Fox News's Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday night, the host asked the former Minnesota governor who is responsible for the tilt toward isolationism he bashed in a major foreign policy speech this week. Pawlenty demurred, saying he won't speak to the specific views of other candidates.

But "there are several candidates for president and several leading voices in the party beyond that in Washington arguing for going further than the president in terms of an accelerated withdrawal [from Afghanistan], arguing that we have no business and he has no authority in Libya, arguing we should do nothing in Syria, arguing that we should not have any role in Iraq and beyond," he said.

"I have a very different view of that. I will be happy to debate that issue with anybody who has a different view."

Pawlenty's words show that, for now, there is a limit to how far he will go in criticizing his competitors on foreign policy as he stakes out the mantle of the GOP's foremost foreign-policy hawk.

Several other GOP contenders have voiced skepticism over the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman has said he wants a rapid withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has long been a critic of the U.S.'s foreign wars.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has also taken heat from other Republicans for voicing skepticism about the mission in Afghanistan.

Pawlenty has been willing to go after Romney by name on other issues: He dubbed President Obama's healthcare plan "ObamneyCare" in order to compare it to the law Romney passed as governor of Massachusetts.

The Minnesotan later backed away from that retort at the Republican primary debate earlier this month, then began using it again during the following days after taking criticism for going soft on the field's front-runner.