(CNN) – President Obama again praised a potential 2012 presidential rival Wednesday night, though his kind words likely went unappreciated by their intended target.
"Yes, we passed health care with an assist from a former Massachusetts governor," Obama said at a Democratic National Committee fundraising event in Boston.
"Great idea," he added to applause and laughter from the room full of supporters.
Obama was of course referring to his health care reform law, passed and signed last year, that he has repeatedly - and probably at time facetiously - said was modeled on the landmark 2006 health care reform law signed into law in Massachusetts by then-Governor Mitch Romney.
The similarities between the Massachusetts law and the federal law have become a major sticking point for the probable 2012 contender. As he tests the waters for a presidential run, Romney continues to face questions from conservatives who deride a provision in the both the Massachusetts and federal health care laws that requires people to buy medical insurance or pay a tax penalty.
Opponents say such an individual mandate is overreaching and even unconstitutional.
But during a speech in Ann Arbor, Michigan last week, Romney said that denouncing the provision "wouldn't be honest," and that he did what was "was right for the people of our state."
In February, Obama offered similar praise for the former governor:
"I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he's proud of what he accomplished on health care in Massachusetts and supports giving states the power to determine their own health care solutions. He's right," Obama said.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report