ABC News’ Matt Stuart Reports: Republican candidate Mitt Romney, R-Mass., today accused GOP rival Rudy Giuliani of flip-flopping on healthcare pointing to the former New York Mayor’s support of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s plan in 1994.
Speaking with reporters after a Florida campaign event, Romney said when the former First Lady’s healthcare plan was announced in the mid-nineties "Rudy Giuliani had nothing but praise for Hillary’s plan. Why the change? Why the change in attitude?"
Romney said that Giuliani was once "all roses and petals for Hillary plan" suggesting that the former Mayor’s presidential ambitions influenced him to change his position.
The Romney campaign followed the comments with a press release, citing a New York Times article that quotes Giuliani in a 1994 radio interview saying that the Clinton health care plan was "doing some pretty good things."
Romney attacked Giuliani for having a "fact problem" and concluded saying "facts are stubborn things and that the Mayor needs to check the facts before he launches attacks."
In response Giuliani’s communications director Katie Levinson said Romney "is once again standing in a glass house with a bunch of stones in his hand."
"Governor Mitt Romney passed a mandate and tax hike laden health care plan in Massachusetts which Hillary Clinton’s own legislative director said was just like HillaryCare," Levinson said in a statement.
Giuliani’s camp also notes that "the mayor has been a proponent from the beginning for privatization to drive down costs and improve overall quality."
The exchange followed a weekend of back-and-forth between the campaigns.
Romney also responded to a report in the Politico where he is quoted as saying at a private fundraiser that he could not "see that a cabinet position would be justified" for a Muslim.
Romney claimed the quote was inaccurate, rather that he didn’t consider it important to have a Muslim in his Cabinet. "His question was: ‘Do I need to have a Muslim in my Cabinet to be able to confront radical jihad and would it be important to have a Muslim in my Cabinet?’ And I said no. I don’t think that you have to have a Muslim in the Cabinet to be able to take on radical jihad."
The Romney camp also asserts that Mansoor Ijaz, the gentleman quoted in the Politico report who had the exchange with Romney, is a Democratic fundraiser with a political agenda.
Asked if he would be open to having a Muslim person in his Cabinet, Romney stated he is "open to having people of any faith and ethic group but it would be based upon their capacity and their capabilities and the values and skills that they could bring to the administration.
"But I don’t choose people based on checking off a box," Romney added.