Discuss as:

Pawlenty camp admits it 'screwed up' in debate, will take the fight to Romney

In First Thoughts this morning, we wondered if Tim Pawlenty's decision to hit Mitt Romney on health care -- after refusing to do so at Monday's debate -- was a sign of panic or campaign disagreement.

A campaign official stresses to First Read, however, that any sign of disagreement isn't true. “The Pawlenty team is united and confident in our strategy to take the fight to Mitt Romney on health care," the official said.

The official went on to say that the campaign set up its challenge to Romney perfectly -- by playing up "ObamneyCare" on FOX the day before the debate, and by holding a health-care-related event hours before the debate.

But there was just one problem: Pawlenty didn't deliver in the debate.

"As he acknowledged, he missed," the official added. "And it's not going to happen again."

Reached for official comment, Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant tells First Read, “Tim Pawlenty screwed up in the debate. Mitt Romney screwed up health care in Massachusetts."