Pawlenty: Killing Bin Laden ‘Not The Full Scope’ Of Our National Defense

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), who is exploring a run for president, is among the first Republican candidates to confront a key problem: How does a Republican presidential hopeful criticize President Obama on national security, in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden?

The Des Moines Register’s Kathie Obradovich reports:

I asked Pawlenty whether it’s difficult to criticize the president right now, in light of this week’s major military success.

“President Obama should be congratulated for his commitment and decision-making in the capture of bin Laden,” Pawlenty said. “But that’s not the full scope of our foreign policy or our national defense posture and there will still be a robust debate about what he has done so far and what he will do in the future.”

That answer, which didn’t criticize the president, suggests it is tough to do right now. But Pawlenty did eventually sharpen his rhetoric. During the Ames event, he accused Obama of “breaking his promise” to fix health care in a bipartisan fashion and focus on cost containment.