In an interview with Politico's Andy Barr, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is pretty reserved in his criticism of fellow potential 2012 candidates, but he criticizes them nonetheless. Sarah Palin is "focused on one aspect of [the health care debate," Pawlenty says, when asked about her role. "I think the debate is much broader than that." And as for the health care reforms Mitt Romney instituted in Massachusetts as governor, Pawlenty says that "any fair-minded review" of those reforms that Romney boasted about in the 2008 primary "would show that they succeeded in expanding cost but failed at containing cost." Pawlenty and Romney have both served as Republican governors of Democratic states, and they're not shy about reminding people of that...it gives them an image of general-election competitiveness, and they may actually have to compete for that image market share.

In the interview, Pawlenty adds that he doesn't blame Romney for Massachusetts' health care costs in the post-Romney era, since Romney didn't have a chance to amend the system or address them. But, in a primary that may well focus heavily on credentials of fiscal conservatism, that probably counts as a bomb, even if it's a nice one in Pawlenty's preferred style.

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