Throughout the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney struggled to distance himself from the health care overhaul he put in place as governor of Massachusetts, which served as a blueprint for President Obama’s health care law Romney has pledged to repeal.
But in the last week, Romney has reversed course and is now touting ‘Romneycare’ in interviews leading up to the Republican National Convention.
“With regards to women’s health care, look, I’m the guy that was able to get health care for all the women and men in my state,” Mitt Romney said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” before making sure to attack Obama’s law. “There’s talking about it at the federal level, we actually did something. And we did it without cutting Medicare and without raising taxes.”
“So you’re saying, look at Romneycare?” host Chris Wallace responded.
“Absolutely. I’m very proud of what we did. And the fact that we helped women and men and children in our state,” Romney said.
Romney brought up the Massachusetts law in order to contradict the assumption that President Obama offers more to women on the issue of women’s health care — an issue the Obama campaign has put front-and-center as a strategy for winning women’s votes. But Romney was also careful to point out differences between his plan and the president’s.
This is not the first time in recent days that Romney has mentioned his health care plan in an effort to appeal to women.
On Thursday, Mitt Romney touted his plan as one way he could narrow the gender gap in an interview with CBS in Denver, Colorado.
“Health care is a big issue. That’s why my health care plan I put in place in my state has everybody insured,” Romney said, before taking a jab at ‘Obamacare.’ “But we didn’t go out and raise taxes on people and have an unelected board tell people what kind of health care they can have.”
The Romney campaign seems to be adjusting its strategy in order to accommodate for the gender gap. TPM’s PollTracker Average shows Obama winning women voters by 10 points nationwide. On Sunday, a new CNN poll found voters believe Obama is more in touch with the issues facing women than Romney is by a whopping 30 percentage points.
But touting his health care plan — even as he is careful to differentiate it from Obama’s plan — carries significant risks. Just weeks ago, conservatives lit into the Romney campaign after spokesperson Andrea Saul began to tout the benefits of ‘Romneycare,’ in response to a Super PAC attack ad about a woman who died without health insurance. “To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Gov. Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care,” Saul said earlier this month.
Erick Erickson of RedState was among several conservatives who responded angrily to Saul’s comments. “OMG. This might just be the moment Mitt Romney lost the election. Wow,” Erickson tweeted.
“What conservatives are doing re Andrea Saul’s comment is the same as how you housebreak your dog,” another RedState editor, Dan McLaughlin, tweeted. “Romney needs to know not to go there.”
Since then, the Romney campaign had shied away from mentioning ‘Romneycare’ again until this week.
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.