Tim Pawlenty, defender-in-chief of the Romney family?

Score: Tim Pawlenty 1, Democratic National Committee 0.

The former Minnesota governor, widely viewed as a finalist in the Republican veepstakes, had a few choice words for the DNC after it released two online videos featuring the Romney family's dressage horse as a symbol of how Romney "dances" around issues like his tax returns and the auto bailout. The horse also happens to be part of Ann Romney's regime to fight multiple sclerosis.

"Shame on them, really," Pawlenty told ABC News on Wednesday, though he said he had not seen the videos. "I mean, this is something that she does as a hobby to help her condition as a therapy for having MS, and it gives her great relief and great joy. And I think by her own account and the account of her medical professionals, it helps her. That's something she shared with others as a sport or hobby or therapy who are facing life challenges or disabilities, and to make light of that or to criticize that, I think, is really, really low. I wish they wouldn't do that."

(Pawlenty defended Romney on the release of his tax returns on "CBS This Morning.")

On Thursday morning, the DNC announced it was done with dressage. "Our use of the Romneys' dressage horse was not meant to offend Mrs. Romney in any way, and we regret it if it did," Woodhouse told ABC News. "We were simply making a point about Governor Romney's failure to give straight answers on a variety of issues in this race. We have no plans to invoke the horse any further to avoid misinterpretation."

A coincidence? Probably, but it certainly doesn't hurt Pawlenty to come across as defender in chief of the Romney family.

  • Rebecca Kaplan On Twitter»

    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

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