Gingrich and Romney's health care volley
December 27th, 2011
02:48 PM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich and Romney's health care volley

(CNN) - The Newt Gingrich campaign pushed back Tuesday on reports the former House speaker previously expressed enthusiasm for rival Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health care law–before eventually announcing his opposition.

Team Gingrich continued to contrast the candidate's record with that of Romney in its response to reports of a 2006 newsletter showing Gingrich's support for Romney's health care law, which included an individual mandate.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

In the analysis - called "Newt Notes" - originally found online by The Wall Street Journal, Gingrich praised the Massachusetts bill passed while Romney was governor for its potential to change the American health care system. But Gingrich Campaign Spokesman RC Hammond said the newsletter published by his candidate is "old news."

"Newt previously supported a mandate for health insurance and changed his mind after seeing its effects," Hammond said in a statement to CNN. "The real question is why Mitt the Massachusetts Moderate won't admit that health insurance mandates don't work. Newt is more than willing to discuss with Gov. Romney why the Romneycare model doesn't work, and why the governor's moderate tax reshuffling won't create jobs, in a one-on-one debate this week in Iowa."

Gingrich has become one of the harshest critics of the Massachusetts plan as well as the plan signed into law by President Barack Obama, both of which included an individual mandate. He has called his previous support for Romney's plan a "mistake" and warned against the potential for an overreach of government.

"In retrospect we were wrong because what happens, once you go to a mandate, you have turned so much power over to the government that the politicians rather than the doctors end up defining health care," Gingrich told CNN's Wolf Blitzer earlier in December. "So it was a mistake."

Gingrich has also used the plan, passed in 2006, as a major point of contention against Romney throughout his bid for the GOP nomination.

"Your plan essentially is one more big government, bureaucratic, high-cost system," Gingrich said in October during the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas. "There is a lot of big government behind 'Romneycare,' not as much as 'Obamacare,' but a heck of a lot more than your campaign is admitting."

However, as recently as May 2011 Gingrich left the door open to backing "some requirement" for health insurance.

"I agree that all of us have a responsibility to pay, help pay for health care," Gingrich said in May on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I've said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond."

Romney weighed in on the controversy during a campaign appearance in New Hampshire Tuesday morning.

"I'm familiar with the fact that he has supported individual mandates in the past and was supportive, generally, of the plan in Massachusetts," Romney said at a campaign stop in Londonderry, New Hampshire. "And he's changed his views in the election year."

Romney's comments follow increased criticism about his record from Team Gingrich, who circulated an email Monday hitting Romney's conservative credentials.

An email "fact sheet" from the former House speaker's campaign Monday night took issue with Romney's latest campaign ad titled "Conservative Agenda," labeling him "Mitt the Massachusetts Moderate."

Gingrich's Communications Director Joe DeSantis pointed to "moderate" proposals and statements Romney made while governor of Massachusetts, including criticism of the Republican "Contract with America," drafted by Gingrich, as well as his past support for universal health insurance and abortion rights.

Gingrich vowed to refrain from negative campaigning earlier in the month after a back-and-forth with Romney over their personal wealth, but he reserved the right to defend his record and respond to direct attacks.

At the time, Romney called for Gingrich to return the money he made while working for mortgage giant Freddie Mac and Gingrich called for Romney to return the money he made from failed ventures while at the helm of Bain Capital.

Since then, Gingrich has largely refrained from outwardly hitting Romney, but he has taken issue with ad spending from the superPAC that supports Romney, which has repeatedly hit Gingrich on the airwaves in early voting states. Romney has said he has no power over the group, as federal law demands.

However, at a campaign event Friday in South Carolina, Gingrich not so subtly critiqued Romney's record, while simultaneously insisting he would remain positive.

"The strongest thing I'll say about Gov. Romney is that he is a Massachusetts moderate trying to come down and pretend to be a conservative," Gingrich said. "But I'm not going to say anything stronger than that. I'm going to focus on positive things. And frankly, I actually think that kind of says it all, so I don't think we have to spend a lot of time being negative."

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Health care • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Who cares - I'm sick of hearing all the noise already.

    Stop it.

    December 27, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Woman In California

    Newt / Romney what a pair. I wish both of them would just fade away and quit bothering the American public. Not to mention neither of them will ever become president so who cares what they think.

    December 27, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Hammond said in a statement to CNN. "The real question is why Mitt the Massachusetts Moderate won't admit that health insurance mandates don't work. ..."
    --------------------
    That conclusion really depends upon your definition of "don't work" and for whom. No law should ever be passed that creates a monopoly in an industry, nor should laws ever be passed that tilt the playing field against the consumer.

    December 27, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. Reefer Power

    Mitt is a consistent conservative in many ways. I think he has lived a straight laced, conservative life, and is conservative in his personal convictions, but he respects that not all people think the same way, and that we have to find common ground with people that disagree.

    In addition to being Conservative, that makes him a consensus builder.

    December 27, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The point is that these people have flip flopped over how is the most conservative way to get people health care. Frankly the problem is that most conservatives don't care that people have health insurance and die from lack of care. They seem to believe that anyone can get insurance. The issue is finding insurance (or doctor that you can afford without insurance)that covers what you need and you can afford. Most people can't get it on their own and depend upon their employer to sponsor insurance.

    December 27, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    "The strongest thing I'll say about Gov. Romney is that he is a Massachusetts moderate trying to come down and pretend to be a conservative," Gingrich said. "But I'm not going to say anything stronger than that. I'm going to focus on positive things."
    ------------------
    Mr. Gingrich is a big government Republican, just like George W. Bush. Wasn't it just last week when Gingrich stated that he would create a system that would allow an illegal in the country to stay provided: they paid taxes, attended church, contributed to society, etc. It is estimated that there are well in excess of 10 million illegals in this country, perhaps as much as 20-30 million people by some estimates. I ask you, how much bureaucracy would it take to accomodate that volume of people in a reasonable period of time.

    December 27, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. Lindsey

    The problem with Gingrich is that he has lied so often that he forgets what he lied about, and when he does remember, his clever art of twisting it into something that sounds like the truth, but still isn't, is remarkable.

    December 27, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Obama guys... Obama, focus your sights on OBAMA!!

    December 27, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Matt

    Forget it...

    Simply FORGET IT...both Mitt and Gingrich the flip-floppers should just drop out the race and FORGET IT...none of them is credible...they both lied on heir support and/or non support for crucial issues. They have both lost their credibility with the electorate.

    FORGET it...Mitt and Newt.

    December 27, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Rudy NYC - No law should ever be passed that creates a monopoly in an industry, nor should laws ever be passed that tilt the playing field against the consumer.
    =================================================================================================
    Including the government right??? You're totally against single payer, government controled and run healthcare right???

    December 27, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Matt

    Forget it...

    Simply FORGET IT...both Mitt and Gingrich the flip-floppers should just drop out the race and FORGET IT...none of them is credible...they both lied on their support and/or non support for crucial issues. They have both lost their credibility with the electorate. Why don't they both just FORGET IT!!!

    FORGET it...Mitt and Newt.

    December 27, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Mikey

    "You're the bigger flip-flopper." "No, you're the bigger flip-flopper." "No, I'm not. You are." "No, you are."

    "Childern, children! You're both huge flip floppers. Who cares who is the worst. Neither one of you would make a decent President. So, just go to your room and play nicely. Okay. One of you will probably get the chance to get creamed by the REAL President, President Obama. It doesn't matter which one of you it is."

    "Yes, daddy."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. The GOP is a joke, thanks mainly to the TP radicals.

    December 27, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. oubie

    My advice to Romney supporters: Keep your Mitts off the 2012 ticket!

    December 27, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    In this day and age everyone knows and sees all you do. They are both flip floppers. At least the $250M flip flopper will have his brand new homes, all 11,000+ square feet, while there are so many without homes. The fat guy will have his new found catholism and a credit of $500,000 at Tifanny's.
    Come November 2012 they won't be hurting.

    December 27, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    "Including the government right??? You're totally against single payer, government controled and run healthcare right???"

    Are you really so stupid as to believe that private insurance will ever be banned?

    December 27, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. WendiM

    I love that Newt runs a "positive campaign" when it's convenient for him. Does anyone really trust this guy???? I also wonder if he tried to encourage positive campaigning because he knew he'd be the one with the huge target on his forehead with all of his stumbles in life :)

    December 27, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. WendiM

    Just a thought Marie....you're a little off on your facts. He's building on to an existing older home to accomodate his 5 kids/spouses and 16 grandkids when they visit in California. The current home has 3 small bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. I don't see it as being a crime to add on if you can afford it. Mitt's job will be to help everyone get more jobs in 2013. Then they can add on to their homes if they desire.

    December 27, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Truth somebody wrote:

    Including the government right??? You're totally against single payer, government controled and run healthcare right???
    ------------------
    Obviously, you do not understand what the word "monopoly" actually means. Is the US Post Office a monopoly?

    December 27, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    "Including the government right??? You're totally against single payer, government controled and run healthcare right???"
    Are you really so stupid as to believe that private insurance will ever be banned?
    ===============================================================================================
    You won't need to "ban" them if you can bankrupt and regulate them out to death first. Like a true "progressive destructionist" you never do tell ALL of the truth. That's why I am here.

    December 27, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Yep, both flip floppers. Is this the best the GOP can come up with?

    December 27, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |