Romney Claims Super Tuesday Wins, But Santorum Presses Health Reform Issues
GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum used election night speech to again assail the former governor's support of a Massachusetts health overhaul that some say was a template for the federal law.
Los Angeles Times: Battle In Ohio Reinforces GOP Divide
Mitt Romney squeezed past Rick Santorum to win Ohio's presidential primary, capturing the biggest Super Tuesday prize but raising enough doubts to quash hopes of quickly ending the Republicans' bruising nominating fight (Barabak, 3/6).
USA Today: Romney Takes 6 Of 10 Super Tuesday Contests
Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, scored substantial wins in GOP primaries in Tennessee and Oklahoma and won easily in North Dakota's caucuses, where Ron Paul finished a distant second and Romney finished third. Romney easily won primaries in his home of Massachusetts, neighboring Vermont and Virginia, where only he and Paul were on the ballot (Welch, 3/7).
The Washington Post: GOP Race Takes Toll On Front-Runner Romney
The GOP fight has been extremely negative, and super PACs have contributed significantly to the tone of the contest. Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) have attacked Romney throughout the winter, and their super PACs have done more. Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael S. Steele said Monday on C-SPAN that Romney missed an opportunity last week to reach out to independents by not taking a stronger stand against Rush Limbaugh after the conservative talk show host attacked Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke as a "slut" and a "prostitute" for her position on health insurance coverage of contraceptives (Balz, 3/7).
The Associated Press: Romney, Santorum Show Ohio GOP Ideological Divide
In Massachusetts, Romney performed strongly among all types of voters. But that state's GOP voters expressed displeasure with the health care coverage program enacted while Romney was governor, with 51 percent saying the measure had gone too far. Romney has been criticized for that plan by his GOP rivals and has pledged, if elected, to repeal Obama's national health care overhaul, which resembles Romney's Massachusetts measure (Fram and Agiesta, 3/7).
Politico Pro: How Santorum Denied Romney A Super Tuesday
In his speech, Santorum reminded his supporters that the health care law was the reason he decided to enter the race. He called it the "one particular issue that to me breaks the camel's back with respect to liberty in this country." ... This is an election about fundamental liberty," Santorum said. He called the health reform law "the signature piece of legislation that points this out, where you have economic rights created by the government, and then the government [is] using its heavy hand to force you to buy insurance, to force you to take policies that you don't want" (Nather, 3/6).
Boston Globe: Romney Fails To Change Dynamic Of Race Despite Wins
Striking on Orwellian tone, [Santorum] blasted "elites" in Washington who overspend and said, "This is the beginning of the end of freedom in America. Once the government has control of your life, then they gotcha." He cited Obama's health care overhaul as a prime example of government intrusion in private life and the private sector, and he argued Romney can't challenge Obama on that front because the universal health care law he signed in Massachusetts served as the template for the federal plan (Johnson, 3/7).
The New York Times: 'He Should Be All Right,' Massachusetts Voters Say Of Their Ex-Governor
Yet at several polling places around Massachusetts on Tuesday, even some of those who helped give Mr. Romney a victory here in the Republican presidential primary were hazy on his accomplishments as governor and lukewarm on his candidacy. Not a few expressed frustration, or outright anger, about his support for the state’s 2006 landmark universal health care law, which has become a lightning rod (Goodnough, 3/6).
The Wall Street Journal: Romney Extends His Lead
Speaking to supporters Tuesday night, Mr. Santorum took aim at Mr. Romney, arguing he offered voters a deeper contrast with Mr. Obama because of Mr. Romney's support of a law in Massachusetts requiring most residents to buy health insurance (King and O’Connor, 3/7).
Kaiser Health News: Super Tuesday Speeches Feature Health Care Issues (Video)
On a day with 10 GOP primaries and caucuses, Rick Santorum calls health care "the most important issue of the day." Mitt Romney repeats pledge to "repeal Obamacare" (3/7).
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