(CNN) – A spokeswoman for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign heralded the health care law Romney passed in Massachusetts, using the law to respond Wednesday to a super PAC ad that appears to blame the presumptive GOP nominee for the loss of insurance and eventual death of a laid off steel worker's wife.
"If people had been in Massachusetts, under Gov. Romney's health care plan, they would have had health care," Andrea Saul said on Fox News. "There are a lot of people losing their jobs and losing their health care in President Obama's economy."
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The mention of Romney's health care law is unusual for the Romney campaign, which largely avoids talking about the measure on the campaign trail unless asked directly about it by reporters.
Romney has repeatedly vowed to repeal the national health care law signed by President Barack Obama, saying its individual mandate to purchase health insurance violates the Constitution, and arguing the requirement for employers to provide health coverage is bad for small business.
Yet as voters learned during the blistering Republican primary process, Obama fashioned much of his law by borrowing heavily from the reform plan signed by Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts six years ago. The centerpiece of the Massachusetts plan is its own individual mandate.
Romney has said on numerous occasions his plan was meant for Massachusetts only.
"Our plan was a state solution to a state problem, and his plan is a power grab by the federal government to put a one-size-fits-all plan across the nation," Romney said in a speech in the weeks before he jumped into the race last year.
Conservative reaction to Saul's comments was quick.
CNN contributor and RedState.com editor Erick Erikson wrote on Twitter:
Rush Limbaugh was equally incised, saying on his radio show that Saul's comment "was a potential gold mine for Obama supporters."
The spot that Saul was responding to was released Tuesday by the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action, though the ad itself has not yet run in a paid-commercial slot. In it, Romney is linked to the death of a former GST Steel worker's wife after the employee lost his job when the plant closed down.
Romney's former private equity firm, Bain Capital, acquired GST Steel in 1993, but the company went bankrupt in 2001, two years after Romney ceased day-to-day oversight of Bain.
A closer look by CNN poked holes into the ad's timeline.
CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
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