Tim Pawlenty, I assume, entered the debate last night with very high expectations. For months, his Presidential campaign had been unable to get traction. First, there was the whole Donald Trump sideshow. Then, other candidates began making decisions or, in the case of Sarah Palin, taking oxygen away from him.

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Well, he went on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace this Sunday, and, for the first time in the campaign, made headlines and got the rest of us to perk up. He compared Obama-care to Romney-care; someone on his team even came up with a term, Obamney-care that illustrated perfectly the problem that Romney faced in the eyes of many voters. So, early on last night, John King of CNN asked Pawlenty about the critique. TPaw wilted, cowering so badly he might as well have hidden under his podium.

I assumed, when he announced that he planned on entering the Presidential race, that he had two objectives. First, he would play a waiting game for the nomination. He would hope that Mitt would do something to mess up, and since Romney’s support seems to be pretty shallow, that he would pick up those who leave Romney and become a front-runner. This strategy could work; it enabled Obama to get the Democratic nomination in 2008. But, for it to work, the other candidates have to exert pressure on the front-runner to induce them to make an unforced error.

His other objective if he failed in the first goal, I believed, was to be the Vice-Presidential nominee. This plan has been used a number of times, and was employed by Al Gore in 1992. For this plan to work, the candidate has to make sure that they never say anything negative about the candidate who is in first place, otherwise they won’t get picked. Well, because of what he said on Sunday, there isn’t a chance in the world that Mitt would pick him to be his running mate. Think about it; as soon as Romney says I choose Tim Pawlenty as my Veep, the Dems would come out with an ad showing Pawlenty associating Romney with Obama’s health care plan, thus negating the Republican’s most stable issue.

So, Tim has joined Newt as a dead man walking. I assume he just needs someone to tell him that the party’s over for him in this campaign.