Mitt Romney praised Obamacare for offering health care to more Americans Friday, despite the fact that he spent his last presidential campaign attacking it.
Romney's comments came in tribute to Thomas Stemberg, the founder of Staples, who passed away Friday. Romney was an early investor in the company through his private equity firm, Bain Capital. In comments to the Boston Globe, Romney credited Stemberg with encouraging him to push health care reform when he served as governor of Massachusetts:
Romney said that shortly after he was elected, Mr. Stemberg asked him why he ran for governor. Romney said he told him that he wanted to help people, and Mr. Stemberg replied that if he really wanted to help, he should give everyone access to health care, which Romney said he hadn’t really considered before.
“Without Tom pushing it, I don’t think we would have had Romneycare,” Romney said. “Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare. So, without Tom a lot of people wouldn’t have health insurance.”
It's jaw-dropping that Romney would voluntarily praise Obamacare, since he spent his 2012 campaign promising to get rid of it on the first day of his presidency.
"On day one of my administration, I'll direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. And then I'll go about getting it repealed," Romney said in one of his speeches.
Forced to cater to a conservative base, Romney also did his best to disavow any tie between his system in Massachusetts and what President Barack Obama did on the federal level -- even though the White House used Romneycare as a model.
"It really does serve as the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act," David Simas, an Obama deputy senior adviser for communications and strategy, said in 2013.
When Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul invoked the former governor's top legislative achievement in 2012, conservatives lashed out at her for praising the law that helped people obtain health insurance.
UPDATE: After his comments got picked up by numerous media outlets, Romney attempted to walk them back in a Facebook post.
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