ABC News’ Arlette Saenz reports:
Mitt Romney could face strong resistance in a potential White House bid from Tea Partiers troubled by the healthcare plan he implemented as governor of Massachusetts.
In an interview on CBN’s The Brody File Show, Amy Kremer, director of grassroots and coalitions for the Tea Party Express, one of the most public Tea Party groups in the country, was asked if Romney’s hand in the enactment of the Massachusetts healthcare plan would fly with the Tea Party movement.
“I'm being honest here. You can't get away from that,” Kremer told host David Brody. “These people don't have short memories. They're digging up everything from the past, and they're not going to let go of the health care.”
In 2006, then Governor Romney instituted a statewide healthcare plan in Massachusetts, mandating each resident buys healthcare coverage and provided subsidies for low income earners trying to obtain insurance.
Some conservatives are advising Romney admit the Massachusetts healthcare plan was a mistake. Earlier in the week, Texas Governor Rick Perry took to the airwaves, pointing out that the similarities between Romney’s Massachusetts plan and President Obama’s healthcare reform passed this March could serve as a stumbling block for Romney in a potential presidential campaign.
“The fact is – they are so similar that it is going to be a major anchor unless he stands up and repudiates that approach,” Perry told Fox News on Tuesday.
Romney has attempted to distance himself from the president’s healthcare plan but has continued to defend the plan he passed in Massachusetts. This past March, he called the Massachusetts plan “the ultimate conservative plan” in a television interview.
“I think our plan is working well. And perhaps the best thing I can say about it is that it is saving lives. It is the ultimate pro-life effort, if you will, because people who otherwise could have lost their lives are now able to get the kind of care that they deserve,” Romney said on Fox News Sunday in March.
Despite Romney’s efforts to separate himself from the newest healthcare legislation, President Obama recently discussed the administration’s attempt to mold a proposal similar to plans like Romney’s, hoping Republicans might be eager to support it.
“I couldn't get the kind of cooperation from Republicans that I had hoped for,” President Obama said in a 60 Minutes interview last week. “We thought that if we shaped a bill that wasn't that different from bills that had previously been introduced by Republicans — including a Republican governor in Massachusetts who's now running for President — that, you know, we would be able to find some common ground there. And we just couldn't.”
President Obama and Democrats eventually overcame the Republican resistance to pass their healthcare plan, but Romney might not have the same luck with a Tea Party movement gaining in speed and numbers, trying to thwart any nominee with an inkling of an agenda similar to that of the Democratic establishment.