In March, Politico’s Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith reported that the structure of health care reform that President Obama signed into law earlier this year has “become so toxic among conservatives” that it “poses a potentially serious threat to” the “White House hopes” of former Massachusetts’ governor Mitt Romney because he signed similar legislation in 2006. Romney has unconvincingly tried for months to distinguish his plan from Obama’s. In an interview with radio talker Jason Lewis on Monday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a favorite of the conservative Tea Party base, claimed that Romney has “real concerns” about his own health care legacy:
LEWIS: Who is the real thing? Who is the real thing out there?
BACHMANN: I don’t know. I don’t know if that person has emerged yet, but I think, I think we need to be, we need to get behind somebody’s who willing to have guts and do what it takes to repeal this thing. And also repeal the whole agenda.
LEWIS: How do you feel as a conservative, I should say, about Mitt Romney?
BACHMANN: Well, I think that he has real concerns with what he did on health care in Massachusetts. I think that’s, you know, he understands economics, but I think clearly what happened in Massachusetts has not been a good thing for that state. It’s driving it towards bankruptcy as is TennCare in Tennessee.
Bachmann appears to be projecting onto Romney. Though he has awkwardly been trying to distance his plan from Obama’s, Romney continues to defend his health care initiative. In an interview with Newsweek released Monday, Romney said, “I think that some Republicans believe that what we did in Massachusetts has to be decried in order to justify their criticism of Obamacare. But in my view, they’re wrong.” In March, he told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren that his plan was “actually working pretty much as anticipated at the time it was passed.”