Pawlenty Calls Out Romney On Debt Ceiling Debate

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe ( @jaffematt ) reports:

Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty today called out frontrunner Mitt Romney for not outlining his stance on the debt ceiling debate raging in Washington these days.

On Twitter Pawlenty posted a link to his interview with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow and quipped, “What say you @MittRomney? Help us fight back.”

In his interview with Kudlow, Pawlenty said he does not want Republicans to agree to the Obama administration’s request to raise the debt limit unless Democrats agree to “structural real reforms.”

“I’ve said all along, ‘Don’t do it unless you get something really good for it’ and I’ve been in favor of structural real reforms that will fix the problem in the intermediate and long-term,” Pawlenty said.

At a Facebook town hall in Iowa last Thursday, Pawlenty urged Republicans in Congress to “stand strong” and “draw lines in the sand” in the debt ceiling debate.

“I urge our Republicans in Washington D.C. to stand strong. The only way you get real change in Washington D.C. is to draw lines in the sand,” he said. “And if you notice, most politicians are like running water downhill. They want least resistance. So it’s helpful, in having them do bold and courageous things, to put up some points of resistance. And there is a moment here now, it’s not an easy moment, but it’s a dramatic and it’s an important moment, for our conservatives in Washington to stand tall and stand strong and stand courageously, and say the answer to America’s future is not to pile more debt on our children and our grandchildren. The answer is to get our financial house in order and to live within our means, just like families have to do, just like businesses have to do, and just what we’d expect in our personal lives."

In addition, according to the New York Times, Pawlenty told voters in Iowa last week, “I hope and pray and believe they should not raise the debt ceiling.”

Pawlenty’s jab is not the first time Romney has come under fire for not taking a more active role in the debt ceiling debate. Earlier this week it was David Axelrod who prodded the former Massachusetts governor.

On Wednesday Axelrod tweeted, “Anyone heard from Mitt Romney lately? Where is he on McConnell plan? On the debt talks? On the impact of a default? Why so quiet?”

To which Romney’s senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom fired back, “I have a question for @davidaxelrod: Where are the jobs? We're not just on wrong track; it feels like we're tied to the tracks.”

At an event Thursday in New Hampshire, Romney was asked what he would do about the debt limit if he were president.

“The answer for the country is for the President to agree to cut federal spending and cap federal spending and put into place a balanced budget amendment,” Romney said. “That for me is the line in the sand.”

“It is within the president’s power to say to the leadership in the house and the senate that ‘I’ll cut spending I’ll cap the amount of spending and I’ll pursue a balanced budget amendment and if the president were to do that this whole debt limit problem goes away,” he added.

Pawlenty was roundly criticized last month for not confronting Romney at the New Hampshire debate when the former Minnesota governor was reluctant to use the term “ObamneyCare” that he had coined only a day earlier on “Fox News Sunday.”

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