Former political editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tom Baxter catches Mitt Romney in a classic Republican screw-up/walkback and puts it in context of the GOP’s increasingly schitzy framing of Obamacare and Medicare expansion:
Paying tribute to a departed friend last week, Mitt Romney stumbled into the sort of gotcha moment that causes former supporters of the 2012 Republican standard-bearer to flinch.
“Without Tom pushing it,” Romney said of businessman Tom Stemberg, “I don’t think we would have had Romneycare. Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare. So, without Tom a lot of people wouldn’t have health insurance.”
Realizing he had trampled into a sacred cow, Romney quick backtracked and issued a standardized denunciation of Obamacare. But Romney is not alone in his gotcha.
“I was personally against the Affordable Care Act… But we lost, folks,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said recently in a speech to a group of seniors. “We lost. And we lost in court. So what we have to do now is move past that, take the resources we have available and try to improve the quality of life for the people of Alabama and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
Pressed later to say whether he was moving toward accepting the Medicaid expansion at the heart of the Affordable Care Act, Bentley gave a response that is the perfect reflection of Republican ambivalence on this subject:
“You know I wouldn’t say nudging toward it,” said Bentley. “But we are certainly looking at that; not right now. We are not at that stage right now.”
That’s the picture from the hinterlands, where a collapsing rural healthcare system and a disproportionate share of the uninsured are making it progressively harder to hold the line on the Medicaid expansion. Mitt Romney said no more than the truth: without a movement toward something like the Affordable Care Act, a lot more people today would be without health insurance. Those who still aren’t tend to be in states which have held the line against this movement, riddled with problems though it may be.
Democratic candidates should make more of all this GOP talking tough about Obamacare coupled with caving on Medicaid expansion — yet another gift from the bottomless well of Republican double-talk.