The GOP candidate proudly reminds voters of his Massachusetts health-care overhaul... even though conservatives hate any mention of it
Two weeks ago, the Right excoriated Mitt Romney's spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, for publicly praising the health-care overhaul that Romney passed when he was governor of Massachusetts. On Sunday, the GOP candidate himself pushed the same conservative buttons, saying that he was "very proud" of the state law, a blueprint for ObamaCare (note the Romney law's individual mandate requiring Massachusetts residents to obtain coverage) — and thus an inconvenient reminder that Romney is a hypocrite for condemning ObamaCare. "I'm the guy who was able to get health care for all of the women and men in my state," Romney told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. "We actually did something, and we did it without cutting Medicare and without raising taxes." Was it a mistake for Romney to talk up policies that many anti-ObamaCare conservatives despise right before his make-or-break convention?
Romney is going to be sorry he said this: Mitt is trying to close the gender gap by talking up how he improved health care for women in his home state, says Pema Levy at Talking Points Memo. But bragging about "RomneyCare" could blow up in his face. Saul learned that lesson the hard way when conservative commentators accused her of snubbing the anti-ObamaCare base and throwing away the election. They're really going to be mad hearing the same thing from the candidate himself.
"Romney touts Massachusetts health care overhaul in appeal to women voters"
But actions speak louder than words: "Romney has a Hobson's choice," GOP strategist Keith Appell tells Politico. If he tries to distance himself from "RomneyCare," Obama is going to slam him; but if he "owns it," Obama will "play up the plan as the basis of ObamaCare." So what really matters is what Romney does next. As long as he doesn't waver from his promise to "repeal ObamaCare on Day One of his presidency," conservatives should still have Mitt's back no matter what he says about "RomneyCare."
"Mitt Romney touts his health care plan"
Women, in particular, shouldn't be fooled by this new rhetoric: When we hear Mitt talk up "RomneyCare," says Zack Ford at Think Progress, remember that, while Romney's rhetoric on the past has changed, his policy promises for the future haven't. Gov. Romney might have helped women in Massachusetts get "a wide array of benefits, including family planning services," but a President Romney "would significantly reduce access to health care" by trying to dismantle ObamaCare. Women who want improved access to birth control should still "vote for the other guy."
"Romney touts 'RomneyCare': I'm the guy that got 'health care for all the women and men in my state'"
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- Burning Question: Was the GOP dumb to plan its convention in Florida during hurricane season?
- The List: 7 factors that will make or break the GOP convention
- Opinion Brief: Mitt Romney's birther joke: Did he cross the line?