Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney attempted to score points on President Barack Obama Wednesday night by not only slamming Obama’s signature piece of legislation and saying he’d get “rid” of it, but also calling it “Obamacare” rather than healthcare reform.
“Obamacare is on my list. I apologize, Mr. President. I use that term with all respect,” Romney said in response to a question from debate host Jim Lehrer on what programs he’d cut as part of his deficit reduction plan.
Obama told Romney he “liked” the name Obamacare and later said he’d “become fond of this term ‘Obamacare.’ ”
He embraced the terms at least three times during the debate, using it nearly every time he talked legislation. This was a clear shift from the administration’s previous strategy of calling the legislation “healthcare reform” or it’s by it’s actual names – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “the Affordable Care Act” for short.
“And let me tell you exactly what Obamacare did. Number one, if you’ve got health insurance it doesn’t mean a government takeover,” Obama claimed. “You keep your own insurance. You keep your own doctor. But it does say insurance companies can’t jerk you around.”
Romney criticized Obama and Congressional Democrats (which controlled the House of Representatives at the time Obamacare was passed) for passing the controversial bill “without a single Republican vote.”
“I like the fact that in my state we had Republicans and Democrats come together and work together,” Romney said.
The attack unfortunately gave the President an opportunity to talk about Romney’s own healthcare bill from his time as Governor of Massachusetts, which Obama has said was the basis for the federal legislation.
They’re basically the same plan, Obama told Romney during the debate.
But unlike Obamacare, Romney’s plan – Romneycare – didn’t raise taxes. Romney made that point during the debate, but that key difference seemed to get lost in the shuffle.
Obama later told Romney that it sounded like Romney would have a busy first day if he was planning to accomplish his entire agenda and cut “Obamacare” on “Day One,” “which will not be very popular [with Democrats] as you’re sitting down with them.”