South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), a co-chair of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in her state in 2008, told TPM on Tuesday that Romney needs to firmly address Republican fears that he'll use his health care law from Massachusetts as a national model.
Her comments come ahead of a speech from Romney this week on health care, which is widely considered his biggest vulnerability with Republican voters. President Obama has repeatedly credited Romney's health care law as governor of Massachusetts, which included an individual mandate now despised by conservatives, as a model for his own Affordable Care Act.
"I think what we don't want is for states to have mandates on them like what President Obama's done," Haley told TPM when asked about the governor's speech. "Massachusetts made a decision within their state and they decided that was right for them. It certainly is not right for South Carolina, it's not something I want to see, so what we want to hear from him is that this isn't something he's going to impose as President across all states in the country."
Asked about her thoughts on the health care law when she backed Romney in 2008, Haley said that Romney deserved "courage" for his work on the issue even while she disagreed with his approach. She told TPM that the Massachusetts law did not trouble her at the time.
"No, because he made it very clear then that this was a state decision and he actually showed a lot of courage to say 'I'm going to get out there and try and see if this is going to work,'" she said. "I think there's mixed reviews on whether it worked or not. What I can tell you is we don't want to try it in South Carolina and so our main concern, or our main thought, from him is to make sure that he says this is not going to national. This may have been something we did in our state, we tried it, but we're going to leave states to make those decisions for themselves."