Romney: If Obama had called me on health care …
April 12th, 2011
09:14 PM ET
7 years ago

Romney: If Obama had called me on health care …

Washington (CNN) - Likely Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney thinks President Barack Obama should have called him before implementing “Obamacare.”

“Why didn’t any one of them (Democrats) or the president ever call me and say what worked, what didn’t?,” Romney said Tuesday on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report.” “Why didn’t he (Obama) pick up the phone?”

Romney said his message during such a phone call would have been: “What you’re putting in place at the nation is not only unconstitutional, it’s bad law, it will not work.”

Romney, who announced the formation of his presidential exploratory committee Monday, signed Massachusetts’ health care law - which has similarities to Obama's health care plan - five years ago.

Romney's plan and the current law include the individual mandate that requires all residents, with some exceptions, to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

But as he’s done before, the former governor admitted the Massachusetts plan “wasn’t perfect.”

“The nature of all experiments as it was is that you have things that worked well and things that didn't work well. And that's true of what we did in Massachusetts,” Romney said. “Look, let states experiment, find out what works and what doesn't. Take the things that are good and build on them.”

Yet the comparisons between the two plans will not stop him from campaigning on the law’s repeal or touting his three-step solution.

First, he said, he would direct Health and Human Services to “grant a waiver to each one of all the 50 states from ‘Obamacare,’” then “get a repeal in place” and subsequently craft new legislation that ensures people with pre-existing conditions aren’t refused insurance and that all people have “access to coverage.”

He also cast aside questions about the president’s birth certificate, an issue that real estate mogul Donald Trump has driven home in recent weeks.

“I think the citizenship test has been passed. I believe the president was born in the United States,” Romney said. “The man needs to be taken out of office but his citizenship isn't the reason why.”

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Concerned Voter

    Oh, I see. If Obama hadn't gone by your record and if he would've talked to the new, flip flopped Romney, it would all be different, right?

    April 12, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  2. Name king

    Was it me or didn't I saw Romney on the air ways begging Obama to do what he did in massachusetts with health care, why is he talking like he didn't tout his health care plan to the white house, and now that Obama followed his suggestion, the health care plan is not good anymore. I wonder if romney know that their is a little thing modern society have to fact check claims, I wonder how would he feel if one of these news network get the courage to start showing tapes of him encouraging Obama to adapt his health care plan, Where does the lies stop with these repugs.

    April 12, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  3. Michigan Don

    Romney needs to be kept from office! Most Michiganders still cringe at the mention of that name. The State of Michigan can mark its decline from the day that Geo. Romney took office as governor. Only Fat John Engler was a greater disastor for the State.

    April 12, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  4. J. Samuel Cook

    If Obama had called Romney, Romney would have said as he's said before of Massachusetts' health care law: "I like the mandates, mandates work."

    Flip-flopping again, Mitt?

    April 12, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  5. Yanni

    now I am thinking Romney were running for Obama's seat before he assumed the presidency since late 2008 to this day. If Romney remember he were busy unloading his luxury houses to boost his "Joe the plumber/T. party" persona for the regular people and of course to avoid McCain's fate. It was very considerate of the president not to call Mitt during Mitt's endless pursuit of the presidency.

    April 12, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, what stopped Romney from making the call to Obama and telling him what did and didn't work in MA? Just because Obama was working on something didn't keep him sequestered and unable to take calls from people like Romney.

    April 12, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  7. Anthony

    In a 2009 interview, Romney defended the individual mandate, referring to it as a "requirement" that allowed Massachusetts residents to secure a "tax exemption." In other words, if they didn't sign up for health insurance, residents would get hit with a tax.

    "In order to get a tax exemption that you would normally get, you gotta have health insurance because we want everybody in the system. No more free riders. Everybody is part of the plan. And that way, we get the costs down. We let people know that they never have to worry about losing their coverage," Romney said in the interview.

    It is funny that once Obama adopted the idea of individual mandate, the idea, which was conceived by Republicans, became unconstitutional.

    April 12, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  8. Roscoe

    Why didn't they call? You don't have anything to offer. Except, maybe your sons can work on your campaign instead of doing military service. As I recall, you think that's about the same level of service.

    April 12, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  9. Cam, Atlanta

    Romney, the President not calling you does not take away or diminish the fact that you started this first, which means you are a bad influence.

    April 12, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  10. Kristin

    Ok, President Obama calls Romney and he says to Obama, just make sure you put in cost controls – that's the one thing we didn't do. What do you know? That's the only difference between Romney's plan and Obama's – cost control. What a loser!

    April 12, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  11. Larry L

    The POTUS isn't required to call you.

    April 12, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Answer: Because you and your party's arrogance make you unapproachable on such matters. You should be asking: Why didn't my party leaders who attended the White House summit on health care consult me before attending the meeting? Your own party doesn't care about your experience with health care, why should Obama? Instead you make this sound as if you are the silver bullet but yet had no input via your own're becoming less and less presidential material every time you open your mouth. A pity because I thought you might be a great candidate.....thought, as in the past. Repugs have no one worthy of the highest office in the country. They're all immature babies....just look at their majority leader..... Boehner.....unproductive crybaby.

    April 12, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  13. T'sah from Virginia

    Romney: If Obama had called me on health care …
    I would have told him, "Wow, what a great idea!!!"
    "Why didn't one of them..." call me – I hoped!!
    I would have told them what works and what won't

    I accomplished having health care for all in my state
    But for all other Americans – it's just NOT their fate
    Because they don't deserve to have care at all
    I would have told the President this if he called!!!

    Mitt Romney is NOT going to get out of this... If it is GOOD for the GOOSE – it's GOOD for the GANDER!!!

    April 12, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  14. greyhackles

    Why would Obama call Romney for information on how well RomneyCare was working in Massachusetts? Not only was Romney no longer Governor when the health care plan actually kicked in, he was out of the State for most of his last year in office.

    April 12, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  15. D-NICE

    No amount of double talk can change the fact that Romney implemented the same health care plan as Obama. Obama's plan is basically a republican idea, that's why it stinks. If Obama would have went for the public option the mandate would have not existed. Let that be a lesson to Obama, never use a republican idea to try to win their support. The plan will stink and the GOP still won't support it.

    April 12, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  16. TomNPitt

    You can't make up your mind whether you're running for president – what would you have contributed. You've been running from that health care program since you dropped out of the last political run. On second thought – give us a thought. Quit parroting all the other candidates.

    April 12, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  17. IVOTE

    I don't remember Romney sticking around in Massachussetts to see if the plan was successful or not. Was Kerry Healy his Lt. Gov. who assumed the position when he left town before the end of his term? What a hypocrite. Best health care in the world is in Mass.

    April 12, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  18. thomas

    I'm glad this man of great wealth admits his medical plan wasn’t perfect. PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION !
    How many of Mitt Romney's sons participated in active Military Service ?

    April 12, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  19. Four and The Door

    “Why didn’t he (Obama) pick up the phone?”
    Because Obama is the most arrogant, partisan president this nation has ever seen. He came into power not because he had any answers, qualifications or demonstration of leadership but because he was riding a wave of anti-Bush sentiment on people who did not understand why President Bush made the tough choices he did. Oddly enough, Obama made some of the same choices and they have for the most part turned out to be his best. Oops.

    April 12, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  20. usualone

    I wonder if the President had called Romney, a man who wants(ed) to be President, if he would have given him honest advice? The new health plan is a start, something that has not been started before, even though Hillary Clinton proposed one years ago. If state A has a plan that state B cannot afford, what do the citizens of state B do? They cannot move to state A. Romney should get credit that he started a plan, with its warts and all. Instead he is being unrealistic here and deserves any flack he gets about this issue.

    April 12, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  21. Fed Up

    Why didn't they call? Because they didn't care. They didn't care if the plan works or not, just get it passed so they can blow their own horns. Let's see how loud they blow them when everyone on unemployment gets fined because they can't afford the "MANDATORY" insurance! Can't wait to see how fast they run from their votes then.

    April 12, 2011 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  22. CBR

    Now Romney is saying that his health care legislation had flaws. He sure left problems in Massachusetts.

    He also left the GOP candidate Ms. Healey to fend for herself. She was supportive of him while he was governor. She was not so lucky.

    April 12, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  23. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    This plan was the republican plan a few years ago, you idiot. Try as you may, you will be nothing more than a flip flopping Mitten.

    April 12, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  24. Mona

    Why didn't you call the president? If you knew what works why didn't you use the media to deliver your message on healthcare?

    April 12, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    If Romney is such a concerned citizen, then why didn't he call up President Obama with his input on what worked and what didn't?

    Could it be that he knows full well that his party – the GOP – would have used his efforts against him to knock him out of the running as a potential GOP presidential candidate?

    So here you have, folks, the double hypocrisy of a typical Republican these days:

    You put not only your party's concerns ahead of the welfare of the country, you put your own petty political ambitions ahead of the welfare of your country.

    Romney sure is one stinky piece of ...

    April 12, 2011 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
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