041511 tim pawlenty boston common.jpg
Associated PressFormer Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty speaks at the Greater Boston Tea Party’s third annual “Tax Day” rally on Boston Common in Boston, Friday, April 15, 2011. Pawlenty, a Republican, announced last week that he was forming an exploratory committee for a 2012 White House bid. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

BOSTON — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told a tax day rally on Boston Common on Friday that the nation should toss out the federal tax code and start over to reflect the needs of a much smaller central government.

Pawlenty, who is weighing a run for the Republican nomination for president, also criticized the federal health care law signed by President Barack Obama, but declined to fault former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is also running for the GOP nomination.

A Massachusetts law signed by Romney in 2006 provided a blueprint for the national law. Romney said he also opposes the federal law. Pawlenty called Romney “a friend” and said “at the end of this we’re all going to have to be a team and be united.”

“I don’t get in the business of criticizing Gov. Romney over this issue,” said Pawlenty, who called the federal law unconstitutional and “a bad piece of legislation, one of the worst in the modern history of the country.”

Romney has said it should be left to individual states and not the federal government to decide whether to expand access to health care.

About 500 people attended the rally, which was sponsored the Greater Boston Tea Party.

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