Mitt Romney fully embraced the Massachusetts health care bill he signed into law as governor today as a proof that he cares about advancing the interests of middle-class Americans.
The health-care law, colloquially dubbed “Romneycare,” shows empathy, Romney told NBC in an interview. But it’s a move that also has the potential to ignite fury from conservatives who consider it his main weakness against President Barack Obama.
“I think throughout this campaign as well, we talked about my record in Massachusetts, don’t forget — I got everybody in my state insured,” Romney told NBC’s Ron Allen. “One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”
Early last month, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul touted Romneycare in an interview that otherwise slammed an Obama campaign ad. It prompted some prominent conservatives — Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter among them — to say that it could have been the moment Romney lost the election.
Conservatives’ main gripe with Romney all the way back to the Republican primaries was his implementation of “Obamacare” on a state level. The prevailing notion was that he would be an ineffective messenger on repealing the president’s legislation.
Here’s what Coulter told Sean Hannity that day:
“Anyone who donates to Mitt Romney — and I mean the big donors — ought to call Mitt Romney and say if Andrea Saul isn’t fired and off the campaign tomorrow, they are not giving another dime. Because it is not worth fighting for this man if this is the kind of spokesman he has to respond to this by citing health care in Massachusetts.”
There’s no point in you doing your show, there’s no point in us going to the convention and pushing for this man if he’s employing morons like this. This ad is the turning point, and she has nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. She should be off the campaign.”
Today, though, Romney’s embrace of his health-care legislation signifies that he is attempting to empathize with middle-class Americans following the backlash from leaked fundraiser comments critical of Obama supporters.
“I think people have the chance, who watched our Republican convention, to see the lives that I’ve had a chance to touch during my life,” he said, “to understand that as I served as a pastor of a congregation with people of all different backgrounds and economic circumstances, that I care very deeply about the American people, people of different socio-economic circumstances.”