Romney says he would keep parts of health care law
By MICHAEL BARBARO and JIM RUTENBERG
The New York Times | September 10,2012
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gets out of his vehicle as he arrives at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bedford, Mass., Sunday.
Mitt Romney on Sunday said he would retain elements of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, blamed Republicans as much as Democrats for the “mistake” of agreeing to automatic cuts in military spending to avoid a fiscal crisis and acknowledged that Obama’s national security strategy has made America in “some ways safer.”
The remarks, made in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” appeared to be an appeal to undecided, middle-of-the-road voters. When host David Gregory asked Romney what elements of Obama’s health care program he would maintain, Romney said he would still require that insurance companies cover those with pre-existing conditions, just as the president’s law has.
“I’m not getting rid of all of health care reform,” Romney said, while emphasizing that he planned to replace the president’s plan with his own. “There are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage.”
Romney also said he would seek to balance the budget within eight to 10 years. Any attempt to do so in a first term, Romney said, would have “a dramatic impact on the economy. Too dramatic.”
He said he disagreed with a compromise made last year by the White House and congressional Republicans that called for automatic cuts to military spending as a way to force a deal on deficit reduction.
“I thought it was a mistake on the part of the White House to propose it. I think it was a mistake for Republicans to go along with it,” he said.
Romney was also questioned about the omission in his convention speech in Tampa of any mention of the war in Afghanistan.
He answered, “You know, I find it interesting that people are curious about mentioning words in a speech as opposed to policy,” noting that he had mentioned the war in Afghanistan just before the convention, in a speech to the American Legion. When Gregory noted that his American Legion address did not have the same audience of the convention speech — “tens of millions of people” — Romney replied. “You know, what I’ve found is that wherever I go, I am speaking to tens of millions of people. Everything I say is picked up by you and by others and that’s the way it ought to be.”