At Debate, Romney Offers Spirited Defense Of Mass. Health Plan
At Tuesday night's GOP presidential hopeful face-off, former Mass. governor Mitt Romney was the focus of the other candidates, who criticized his economic policies and his state's health overhaul. But, having earned the endorsement of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie earlier in the day, he appears to be gaining momentum.
Los Angeles Times: GOP Rivals Target Mitt Romney At Debate
Targeted by a Republican field trying to blunt his renewed surge to the front of the presidential pack, Mitt Romney found himself under fire at a GOP debate for his economic record, his jobs plan and the health care mandate he approved as governor of Massachusetts. The attention underscored Romney's heightened status after weeks in which rival Rick Perry, governor of Texas, suddenly surpassed him, and then almost as swiftly fell under the weight of middling debate performances (Reston, 10/11).
Los Angeles Times: Romney Defends Health Care Plan, Challenges Perry On Uninsured
Given the opportunity to pose a question to his chief rival, Rick Perry went for the obvious topic: health care reform. Mitt Romney said he was "proud of the fact that we took on a major problem" in Massachusetts. And he conspicuously quoted his newest supporter, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in making the case that his overhaul was not the same as "Obamacare" (Memoli, 10/11).
The Associated Press: Romney On Middle Ground: I Can Work With Democrats
Presidential challenger Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of failing to lead in a time of economic peril but sounded less conservative than his Republican rivals in their debate Tuesday night, defending the 2008-2009 Wall Street bailout and declaring he could work with "good" Democrats. Romney also gave one of his most spirited defenses of his health care initiative when he was Massachusetts governor, legislation that Obama has called a partial blueprint for his own national overhaul (Peoples and Elliott, 10/11).
Boston Globe: Rivals Focus on Romney in N.H. Debate
Eight Republican presidential hopefuls debated the issue voters care most about — the economy — as they lightly squabbled last night over whose approach on Chinese trade policy, health care, and tax reform would best get the country's economy growing again. ... Passions have run high, particularly between Romney and Perry, and last night they sparred over health care. Perry criticized Romney for passing a plan in Massachusetts that provided the blueprint for President Obama's national plan. But Romney turned the attack into a way to criticize Perry for not doing more to improve health care coverage in Texas. "We have less than 1 percent of our kids uninsured," Romney said of Massachusetts. "You have 1 million kids uninsured; I care about people" (Viser and Schweitzer, 10/12).
CBS (Video): Romney Turns 'Romneycare' Question Back On Perry: 'I Care About People'
Presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry once again took aim at rival Mitt Romney's record on health care, but the former Massachusetts governor was ready with his comeback: At least "I care about people." Romney is clearly a top-tier candidate in the Republican presidential primary, but he's failed to gain widespread support, in part because the Obama administration has said the health care plan Romney implemented in Massachusetts served as a model for Mr. Obama's federal health care overhaul. When candidates were given a chance to ask each other questions in the Tuesday debate, hosted by the Washington Post and Bloomberg at Darmouth College, Perry zeroed in on Romney's biggest vulnerability. He pointed out that one of Romney's chief economic advisers, Glenn Hubbard, said "Romneycare" was equal to "Obamacare." He also said that the Massachusetts plan drove up premiums (Condon, 10/11).
Politico Pro: Romney Hits Back Hard At Perry's Attacks
Looks like Mitt Romney was ready for Rick Perry’s attacks on his health care record. At Tuesday night's Republican presidential candidate debate, Perry got to ask Romney a question directly. So he did, and it was about the Massachusetts health care law — the same subject Perry took on in a recent ad linking "Romneycare" with "Obamacare." Perry's question to Romney: What do you have to say about economist Glenn Hubbard's claims that the Massachusetts health care law raised private health insurance premiums for small businesses? Romney didn't answer the question directly. Instead, he launched into another defense of the Massachusetts law and a compare-and-contrast with President Barack Obama's health care law (Nather, 10/11).
Reuters: Analysis: Debates Just May Not be Rick Perry's Thing
If Rick Perry is going to win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, he'll have to do it based on something other than his debate performances. ... Perry avoided major stumbles that afflicted him at three previous debates, but he did not take advantage of opportunities to land punches on Romney. He specifically did not carry out a sustained assault on the health care plan that Romney developed as governor of Massachusetts (Holland, 10/11).
Texas Tribune: Perry Struggles For Spotlight in New Hampshire Debate
Rick Perry didn't blow it or commit any serious gaffes, but in his latest televised debate the Texas governor found himself in a position that seemed unimaginable even a few weeks ago: largely out of the spotlight and struggling for airtime. ... As he has before, Perry went after Romney for signing into law as Massachusetts governor the health care initiative that many analysts say is the forerunner to the reforms President Barack Obama passed at the federal level. Romney was obviously ready for it. He said Perry was misrepresenting the Massachusetts law. He said the reforms were aimed at covering the uninsured, while Obama "takes over health care for everyone." Then he turned the fire on Texas (Smith and Root, 10/12).
Minnesota Public Radio: PoliGraph: Fact-Checking The GOP Presidential Debate
Rep. Michele Bachmann was among the Republican presidential hopefuls who participated in the Washington Post/Bloomberg News debate on Oct. 11. PoliGraph looked at five statement she made during the discussion, which focused on the economy. … The Claim: Nine years from now, Medicare Part B will be "dead, flat broke." The Facts: It's Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient care, that could soon be suffering financially. But not in nine years, as Bachmann said. Rather, this year's Medicare trustees' report pegs the insolvency date at 2024.The same report says that Medicare Part B, which pays for outpatient care, will be fine for the foreseeable future (Richert, 10/11).
CNN: Truth Squad: Is Health Care Reform The Top Reason Employers Aren't Hiring?
At Tuesday night's debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, [Michele] Bachmann ... said that, among other things, she would repeal 2010's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. When she made the same job-hindrance assertion September 22 at the GOP presidential debate in Orlando, Florida, she said her source was a study released that week by Swiss banking giant UBS. The statement: "But the No. 1 reason that employers say that they aren't hiring today is Obamacare." — U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota The facts: UBS on September 19 released an investors' research report on what it calls the "Great Suppression," which UBS says is a phenomenon in which "tax hikes and regulations emanating from Washington are ... discouraging hiring." The report said that the 2010 health care bill was one of 11 regulations that it believes are having a "negative impact on U.S. employment." The report said that health care reform was "arguably the biggest impediment to hiring (particularly hiring of less skilled workers)" (10/12).
For more detail on candidates' health policy positions —
Kaiser Health News: GOP Presidential Hopefuls: Where They Stand On Health Care
Kaiser Health News has updated this chart to show in detail where the GOP presidential hopefuls stand on major health care issues (updated 10/11).
In related news, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Romney hours before the debate —
Reuters: Romney Could Get Bump From Christie Nod
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney got a big boost on Tuesday with an endorsement from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a move that may create an aura of inevitability around his candidacy. ... Christie also backed Romney on the Massachusetts health reforms that he pushed five years ago, which became a model for Obama's signature 2010 health care law and have been criticized by some conservative Republicans. "Any attempt to try to compare what happened in Massachusetts and what the president has done to the United States of America with his plan is completely intellectually dishonest," Christie said (McLure, 10/11).
The Associated Press: Forces Coalescing Around Romney
A new reality is taking hold in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Mitt Romney has assumed a position of newfound strength atop the crowded field, armed with a powerful new ally and a bridge to the tea party activists who have dogged his latest presidential bid before it even began. ... It was five hours before the debate began, when Christie single-handedly took on what may be Romney's greatest policy challenge: the Massachusetts health care plan he signed into law as governor that is credited as inspiration for Obama's health care overhaul. Romney has been forced to defend the policy in nearly every debate and campaign appearance this year. Christie boomed that it was "completely intellectually dishonest" to compare the Massachusetts plan with Obama's plan (Peoples, 10/12).
And in the background, Romney's campaign continues efforts to find distance between the presidential candidate and the federal health law —
Boston Globe: Romney Campaign Downplays Consultant's Role
Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is seeking to put distance between the former governor and a consultant who was instrumental in shaping the Massachusetts health care plan. Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who helped state officials devise the groundbreaking law in 2006, was among those consulted by the White House as President Obama put together his national health care plan in 2009. It is certainly not news that the White House modeled the national law on the Bay State's or that Gruber played a role in both. But NBC News reported details yesterday, based on White House visitor logs, of who met whom, and when. It creates fresh ammunition for Romney's rivals in the GOP primary field, who are likely to continue taking shots at Romney over health care (10/12).
Fox News: Romney's Advisers Met With Obama to Help Craft 'Obamacare'
Three of Mitt Romney's advisers went to the White House at least a dozen times in 2009 to consult on the former Massachusetts governor's health care plan that President Obama used as a model for his initiative — now a federal law that all the Republican presidential candidates want to repeal. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday he was "not in a position to comment on specific meetings." But in a remark that won't help Romney in his pursuit for the 2012 Republican nomination, Earnest repeated that Obama took cues from the Massachusetts legislation (10/11).