Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Democrats eagerly set stage for big Romney speech - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

From: The Hill

Democrats organized their "prebuttal" late Wednesday to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) highly-anticipated healthcare speech on Thursday.

As Romney prepares his Thursday speech in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he's expected to address his biggest political liability, the healthcare reform he signed into law as governor, Democrats incredulously asked why he would disavow any of the reforms he supported in Massachusetts.

Romney outlined the reforms he would seek as president in an op-ed for USA Today posted online on Wednesday, which included a renewed pledge to issue waivers for states to opt out of the federal healthcare law, and a promise to immediately seek the repeal of what he and other Republicans call "ObamaCare."

But the piece did little to raise the curtain on what Romney might say about his own reforms, which have come under criticism from conservatives who unfavorably compare it to President Obama's own bill, particularly for both reforms' requirement that all individuals own health insurance.

"Romney’s plan in MA was good health care policy that helped lay the foundation for passing the Affordable Care Act nationally," wrote Eddie Vale, a spokesman for Protect Your Care, a group dedicated to defending Obama's healthcare reform law, in an email. "It’s disappointing that he doesn’t address that policy in this op-ed, but we hope he will in his speech tomorrow, and we will continue to defend it from attacks."

Liberal blogs dredged up evidence, too, on Wednesday that Romney's support for the mandate, a lynchpin of Obama's plan which is particularly detested by conservatives, wasn't a fluke, either. They pointed to an interview Romney gave during his 1994 Senate campaign of a 1993 Republican alternative to President Clinton's healthcare proposals, which included the same individual mandate.

"Few Americans will ever see anything more politically calculated or contorted than Mitt Romney’s continued efforts to embrace the health reform law he passed in Massachusetts while bashing the federal law for which his Bay State model was the template," said Holly Shulman, the communications director for the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Perhaps driven by a desire to take down one of the GOP's top challengers to Obama a few notches, Democrats have eagerly set the table for Romney's speech tomorrow. The chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party will hold a conference call following Romney's speech on Thursday, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is expected to make a TV on Wednesday to preview the Romney speech.

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