Opinion Brief

Romney's assault on 'ObamaCare': Smart politics or blatant hypocrisy?

The likely GOP presidential candidate vows to repeal Democratic health care reforms, while defending a similar law he instituted in Massachusetts

In a speech Saturday night in the key early primary state of New Hampshire, Mitt Romney called for the repeal of President Obama's health care reform law. The attack offered a likely preview of the 2012 presidential campaign, for which Romney is a potential GOP nominee. But health reform is a tricky subject for him, because the federal law, which has become Public Enemy No. 1 for many on the right, was largely modeled on reforms Romney put in place in Massachusetts, when he was governor. Can he get away with attacking "ObamaCare" while defending "RomneyCare"? (Watch a local report about Romney's comments)

No, Romney is a hypocrite: Romney's "clumsy" flip-flopping is bound to backfire, says Blue Texan at Firedoglake. He's saying it's "tyrannical and unconstitutional" for the federal government to tell you to buy health insurance, but fine for the state of Massachusetts to do it. The Tea Party won't buy such blatant hypocrisy. He ought to just "say the whole thing was a mistake and apologize. Or blame Ted Kennedy.""Mitt Romney: Government takeovers of health care are constitutional and effective when I do it"

Romney has always opposed federal health mandates: "Even waaaaaay back in 1993-4," says Jeff Fuller at Mitt Romney Central, "Romney was against a federal 'Government Takeover of Health Care'... which, at the time, was known as HillaryCare." He thinks the states should be able to craft their own reforms according to their needs, as he did in Massachusetts. Romney isn't flip-flopping by vowing to repeal "ObamaCare" — he's being consistent."The bottom line . . . Mitt Romney stands strongly against ObamaCare..."

This issue will hurt Romney, no matter what: The damage is done, says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. Romney's health care reform law in Massachusetts is Exhibit A for those Republicans who don't think Romney has "deeply held conservative beliefs." He threw them a bone by saying his plan "wasn't perfect." But in the primary campaign he'll have to explain how a man who claims to be a champion of free enterprise can turn around and say the state should "micromanage" personal health insurance. "Republican voters will, I think, be skeptical.""Romney address his RomneyCare problem"

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