Pawlenty Uses Health Care Reform To Go After Romney In NH

March 29, 2010 6:43 a.m.

And so it begins — less than a week after health care reform was signed into law, it has become a problem for Mitt Romney.

In an interview with a New Hampshire newspaper over the weekend, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) used GOP anger over the Democratic reform bill to make a not-so-veiled attack on Romney, who signed a similar plan into law when he was governor of Massachusetts.

Romney and Pawlenty, of course, are central players in the nascent 2012 GOP presidential nomination fight. And New Hampshire, of course, is a central battlefield in that fight. So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why Pawlenty chose the Nashua Telegraph to slam RomneyCare as a bad example for the nation to follow.From Sunday’s paper:

During an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Pawlenty didn’t mention Romney by name, but he relayed how Massachusetts state Treasurer Tim Cahill warned that a national version of the Massachusets law could bankrupt the country in four years.

Cahill is running as an independent for governor.

“Looking at the Massachusetts experience,” Pawlenty told the Telegraph, “it would not be one I would want for the country to follow any further.”

As Eric reported last week, the Massachusetts health care plan is a problem for Romney as he plows headlong into a second run for president.

To combat the liability that goes with being the only man in the 2012 field to have signing a health insurance mandate into law in common with Obama, Romney has taken gone out of his way to slam the Democratic reform plan. The day after the bill passed the House, Romney said that Obama had “betrayed his oath” with the bill, which Romney called “an unconscionable abuse of power.”

Pawlenty has also attacked the plan, calling for repeal of the law or its destruction in the courts. But without the millstone of RomneyCare around his neck, Pawlenty is free to aim his fire at not just Obama, but Romney as well.

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