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Mitt Romney may deny any connection to President Obama's health care law, but among the aides he used to craft his own reforms in Massachusetts it's a different story. Three of his top health care experts met with the White House a dozen times to discuss the Affordable Care Act, according to records obtained by NBC News.

One of Mitt Romney's go-to lines when asked about the similarities between his Massachusetts health care law and Obama's is to demand why he wasn't consulted on the latter.

"He does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration of his plan," Romney said in April. "If that's the case, why didn't you call me? ...Why didn't you ask what was wrong? Why didn't you ask if this was an experiment, what worked and what didn't. ... I would have told him, 'What you're doing, Mr. President, is going to bankrupt us.'"

But the extensive involvement of the very same people behind his own law undercuts that argument and highlights the similarities between the two plans, which both feature a mandate requiring people to purchase health care and subsidies to help them afford coverage.

"The White House wanted to lean a lot on what we'd done in Massachusetts," MIT economic professor Jon Gruber, a Romney aide who met with the president in 2009 to discuss health care, told. "They really wanted to know how we can take that same approach we used in Massachusetts and turn that into a national model."

Gruber was the most closely involved in the White House effort, securing a $380,000 contract to work with Congress on designing the Affordable Care Act. Another Romney aide who met repeatedly with the White House was Jon Kingsdale, who in Massachusetts was appointed to serve as executive director of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, which implemented Romney's law. John McDonough was not a part of the Romney administration, but worked closely with Romney as an advocate for expanded health care in designing and promoting the governor's plan.

Imagine you were once running for 2012 presidential nomination, dropped out, and then watched Rick Perry crash and burn and Herman Cain -- think of it! -- become a top tier candidate.

You might have some regrets. You also would be Tim Pawlenty.

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Fox News reports that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will endorse Mitt Romney in Hanover, New Hampshire.

[Update: 1:12 p.m.] MSNBC now reports that Christie will endorse Romney.

In a memo, David Axelrod encouraged wavering lawmakers to back the American Jobs Act in Congress this week, citing polling data indicating that the public was breaking hard for the bill.

"Since introducing the American Jobs Act (AJA), the American people have rallied around President Obama's call for Congress to pass this plan," he wrote. "The more people know about the American Jobs Act; the more they hear the President talking about it; the more they want Congress to pass the plan."

Axelrod wrote that poll numbers were improving for the plan as Obama speaks out on its behalf. The president is hitting the road today to tout the bill in Pittsburg.

"In an early September, 43% supported the AJA and 35% were opposed (CNN/ORC Poll 9/11/11)," Axelrod wrote. "After three weeks of advocacy by the President, support has grown by nearly 10% so that 52% support the plan with 36% opposed (ABC/Washington Post Poll 10/5/11)."

He added that the shift was especially pronounced with independents, who went from trusting the GOP over Obama on jobs by a 42-37 margin in an early September Washington Post-ABC poll to trusting the president over them 44-31 in October in a poll byt the same outlet.

The Senate may vote on the bill as early as Tuesday and Democrats have struggled to present a united front on the legislation. Already, the bill has been altered to include a surtax on millionaires in order to garner more votes from within the party.

Responding to a question about the apparent lack of unanimity amongst Senate Democrats ahead of the vote on the American Jobs Act, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) quite bluntly responded, “People will read it as a lack of support for a jobs program.”

“I frankly think all 53 democrats — 52 — are for a jobs bill of some type,” Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday. “I think you’re correct that if we cant get 51 Democrats to vote for it, it will clearly be argued by Republicans and construed by all of you as undermining the president’s message.”

Ahead of tonight’s Republican presidential debate, Herman Cain said in a radio interview that he is “going after Romney.”

H/t Politico’s Juana Summers.

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