Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty coined a new term Sunday morning: ObamneyCare, the healthcare program implemented by President Obama that, he says, is virtually identical to the one implement by Republican Presidential front-runner, Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts.
“You don’t have to take my word for it,” Pawlenty said when asked if he saw any real difference between the two programs. “You can take President Obama’s word for it. President Obama said that he designed ObamaCare after RomneyCare, and basically made it ObamneyCare.”
“What I don’t understand is they both continue to defend it,” Pawlenty added.
Romney has defended his healthcare prorgram as something that was appropriate at the state level where he implemented it, but not at a national level. He pointed out that most people in Massachusetts have no problem with the program, but said that that didn’t mean it was an appropriate solution in other states, and criticized Obama for imposing a “one size fits all” program across the country.
Pawlenty disputed the idea that the program was appropriate even at a state level.
“I strongly oppose the individual mandate at any level,” he said.
“I think it is a dramatic overreach by government forcing a consumer to buy a good or service because of a government edict or mandate. I think it is a dramatic overreach,” he said, noting that he was a party in the lawsuit to get Obama’s healthcare program overturned.
“I was asked to consider the individual mandate when I was governor on several occasions and I rejected it every time,” Pawlenty said.
Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul fired back saying “Republicans should keep the focus on President Obama’s failure to create jobs and control spending. People are looking for leadership on the economy and the budget. Mitt Romney wants to be that leader.”
Pawlenty and Romney, among others, will face off in the second Republican primary debate on Monday. In New Hampshire. Several polls this week showed Romney leading the Republican field, both nationally and in early primary states.