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May 11, 2011 3:10 PM Romney’s accurate mandate prediction

By Steve Benen

The day before Mitt Romney’s big speech on health care policy, which seems unlikely to solve his problems, the former Massachusetts governor is being hit with more blasts from his past.

For example, Romney didn’t just support an individual health care mandate in his own statewide plan, he also endorsed the 1994 Chafee plan, which of course included a mandate.

What’s more, in 2007, Romney appeared on “Meet the Press” and accurately predicted that the nation would end up with a mandate policy. (Jed Lewison has the video of the exchange.)

ROMNEY: I’m a federalist. I don’t believe in applying what works in one state to all states if different states have different circumstances…. Now, I happen to like what we did. I think it’s a good model for other states. Maybe not every state but most, and so what I’d do at the federal level is give every state the same kind of flexibility we got from the federal government as well as some carrots and sticks to actually get all their citizens insured. And I think a lot of states will choose what we did. I wouldn’t tell them they have to do our plan…

MR. RUSSERT: So if a state chose a mandate, it wouldn’t bother you?

MR. ROMNEY: I’d think it’s a terrific idea. I think you’re going to find when it’s all said and done, after all these states that are the laboratories of democracy, get their chance to try their own plans, but those who follow the path that we pursued will find it’s the best path, and we’ll end up with a nation that’s taken a mandate approach.

As it turns out, Romney’s prediction was accurate, though I don’t imagine he’ll be bragging about this anytime soon.

In fairness, of course, Romney continues to argue that his defense of mandates referred to state-based policies. But there’s no reason to think Republican primary voters make the distinction, and Romney’s pitch still boils down to, “That radical, communistic, freedom-killing health care policy you hate so intensely? Don’t worry, I only support that at the state level.”

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • c u n d gulag on May 11, 2011 3:30 PM:

    Poor Mittens,

    He does something good, and get's Donald Trump's hairpiece as a reward - 'Hell Toupee.'

  • Daryl McCullough on May 11, 2011 3:39 PM:

    Interesting gauntlet for those who would run for nomination by the Republican Party: they must disavow anything they have ever done or said that involved reason or fair-mindedness.

  • zeitgeist on May 11, 2011 3:44 PM:

    Romney’s pitch still boils down to, “That radical, communistic, freedom-killing health care policy you hate so intensely? Don’t worry, I only support that at the state level.”

    Oh, its better than that. In the 2007 interview, Mittens supported the mandate at the "every state" level -- he belied it was the best option and would ultimately be adopted by all states. That sure starts to sound like support for it as a national policy, particularly when he says that as "a nation" we'll take the mandate approach. Yes, there remains a theoretical difference between a national result on a state-by-state basis and a national mandate. But by that point, the hair being split is far too thin for most low-info voters (which covers most Republican primary voters) to see.

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