You Blew It, Pawlenty He should have gone after Romney, not Bachmann: Steve Kornacki By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Aug 12, 2011 12:38 PM CDT 14 comments Comments Tim Pawlenty speaks as Rep. Michele Bachmann listens during last night's debate. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, Pool) (Newser) – Tim Pawlenty came off like a desperate candidate with a misguided strategy in last night's debate, writes Steve Kornacki at Salon. Going after Michele Bachmann instead of Mitt Romney? Really? He probably figured he needed to do so because she is his chief rival in tomorrow's Ames straw poll, which is do-or-die for him. If so, his thinking is "completely backward." Aggressive attacks on Bachmann—who offered a "poised, confident" defense—are destined to backfire among the conservatives in Iowa who support her. "A much riper target for Pawlenty would have been—and always has been—Romney," writes Kornacki. "Unlike Bachmann, the base has profound doubts about Romney’s commitment to their cause," and Pawlenty missed a chance to make himself a stronger candidate by exploiting them. He may yet survive this weekend's straw poll, "but so what? He's just not a good candidate." Click for the full column. Other observers think Romney got a free pass as well; click for that story.