Politics & Policy

Pawlenty Explains How He Could Endorse Romney After ‘Obamneycare’ Slam

Tim Pawlenty may be receiving help in paying off a campaign debt (possibly as high as six figures) from the Romney campaign in exchange for his decision to endorse Romney, reports Politico.

Not surprisingly, Pawlenty did not cite that as one of the reasons he had endorsed Mitt Romney today in an interview this afternoon with Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

He did explain, however, why he could justify endorsing Romney after criticizing him harshly earlier this year with the “Obamaneycare” slam.

“Gov. Romney has told me directly, as he has told the country repeatedly and directly that one of his first orders of business as president will be to repeal Obamacare, including on the very first day he’s in office, granting waivers to states to opt out,” Pawlenty said on Fox. “So I’m absolutely convinced and assured that he will do everything he can and will in fact repeal Obamacare, so I’m comfortable with his position on that.”

He also backpedalled on his criticism that Romney had overwhelmingly picked liberal judges. “Mitt has indicated that he will appoint strict constructionists to the bench, people who will apply the law as written as opposed to making it up on the back of the napkin,” Pawlenty said. He also noted that the field of qualified would-be judges in liberal Massachusetts had given Romney “limited options.”

UPDATE: NBC News asked Pawlenty if Romney had promised him help in retiring his debt in return for the endorsement. Pawlenty denied that any such exchange had taken placed, but added that “if he’s willing to help with that I’d love to have his help.” 

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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