(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry chastised Mitt Romney's health care plan Thursday, but said he believes the former governor of Massachusetts is beginning to see the light.
"I think Mitt is finally recognizing that the Massachusetts health care plan that he passed is a huge problem for him," he told conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham in an interview.
And the 2012 GOP contender attempted to lump Romney in with health care reform passed last year by a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Obama, a potentially toxic tie-in for conservative voters.
"I think Obamacare, which was modeled after the Massachusetts plan, was an absolute debacle." Perry said, in an ongoing effort to topple Romney's GOP frontrunner status.
Romney's campaign declined a request for comment.
In the past, Romney has countered criticism over his plan by stating that the "first thing" he'd do as president is "repeal Obamacare."
Though critics often compare Romney's health care plan with federal health care reform, the candidate has been outspoken on his belief that the plan implemented for Massachusetts was good–in Massachusetts–and has indicated it was not intended for implementation across the nation.
The longest-serving Texas governor touted his Lone Star state credentials as he tried to distance himself from Washington establishment.
But he's faced his own critics on health care policy in Texas, including the liberal-leaning Texas Legislative Study Group, a research caucus in the Texas state assembly comprised of House members that claims Texas has the highest share of uninsured in the nation at 28 percent.
The most recent Census report ranked Texas highest in the nation with 26.1 percent uninsured in 2009.
"I'm Rick Perry, and I am who I am. I've got my own record. I'm not George Bush. I don't try to be," he said.
"I'm the right person for Texas, they've elected me three times to be governor of this state–it's unprecedented in the state's history–and we've been a job creation machine."
Striking back at critics, Perry continued, "With all due respect to anybody that's out there either directly or indirectly criticizing me because I speak plainly, I call it like I see it."
"I am not an establishment figure, never have been and frankly I don't want to be. I dislike Washington, I think it's a seedy place. Our country is in trouble and I don't have the privilege to sit on the sideline and watch our country be destroyed economically by a president who has been conducting an experiment on the American economy for the last two and half years."
When Ingraham asked Perry to promise that he'd never vacation in Martha's Vineyard, where President Obama is currently spending time, the candidate said, "I'm not even sure if I know where it is."