Can Hannitization Save Tim Pawlenty?

Hours – mere hours! – after tweeting his comeback to Mitt Romney on health care, Tim Pawlenty bathed in the warm glows of Sean Hannity’s TV cameras. Let the Hannitization commence!

You know, it’s interesting, I’ve read all the criticism and this was my take, I think the media was furious. You guys didn’t kill each other or go after each other. And that everybody on that stage, rightly, I think went after President Obama’s failed policies. Your reaction?

That darn media, demanding conflict from Republicans! It could be a side effect of the America-hating lessons everyone gets during senior week in J-school. Or it could be that Republican voters were legitimately confused by Pawlenty’s wan response to the “Obamneycare” question. The reason reporters ask non-Romneys about “RomneyCare” is that Tea Party voters bring it up as a reason they can’t vote for Romney. After the debate, I drove through New Hampshire to the sounds of Howie Carr and heard listener after listener scorch Pawlenty as a wimp. Anyway, Pawlenty:

Well, I think in response to that direct question, I should have been much more clear during the debate, Sean. I don’t think we can have a nominee that was involved in the development and construction of Obama care and then continues to defend it. And that was the question. I should have answered it directly. And instead, I stayed focused on Obama. But the question really related to the contrast with Governor Romney. And I should have been more clear. I should have made the point that he was involved in developing that he really laid the ground work for Obama care, and continues to this day to defend it. I think that’s a legitimate point in response to the question I was asked and I should have been more clear.

We’re clear now, then! Anything else?

W ell, I don’t think you can prosecute the political case against President Obama if you are co-conspirator and one of the main charges against the president on the political level. And so, it really puts our nominee, if that who it turns out to be in a very difficult spot.

Good lord. If this is the start of a new, aggressive Pawlenty tack on health care, he gets one more chance to do it. With the “Obamneycare” quote, silly as it was, he hinted that he’d attack Romney, then punted on the chance to define himself as the first negative campaigner in the race who’s not named “Rick Santorum.”