Talk about irony: Nearly a year after President Obama handily beat Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election, the victor apparently needs some help from the vanquished.
Speaking at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston, where in April 2006 Romney signed the state’s health reform bill into law, Obama on Wednesday sought to draw parallels between the rocky roll out of Romneycare back then and Obamacare over the past month.
“Health care reform in this state was a success. That doesn’t mean it was perfect right away,” Obama said. “There were early problems to solve. There were changes that had to be made.”
The event seven years ago was a celebration of what Romney regarded as the crowning achievement of his governorship.
“I look around at the people in this room — what makes it unusual is not just how many people are here for a bill signing, but who is here for a bill signing,” Romney said at the time. “Doctors and nurses, administrators, insurers, healthcare providers, citizens, advocates, partisans on both sides of the divide, business groups, community groups — it’s just a remarkable collection — federal, state officers, local officers — to see everybody here in one place is really quite, quite amazing because you represent every institution in the Commonwealth that seems to touch healthcare in any way.”
In a 2011 article, the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza described the scene from 2006:
The brick building was decked in patriotic bunting, and a fife-and-drum corps led Romney inside. Two enormous signs flanked the stage, announcing, in a vaguely eighteenth-century font, “Making History in Health Care.” Aides distributed buttons with the same message. “I want to express appreciation to Cecil B. De Mille for organizing this event,” Romney said as he began his remarks.
On Wednesday, President Obama used his own Faneuil Hall appearance to talk about one of the major achievements of his presidency — albeit one that has been marred glitches. The flag bunting was there, but the atmosphere of celebration was notably absent.
The president pronounced himself “not happy” with the technical problems plaguing the HealthCare.gov.
“There’s no excuse for it. And I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP,” he promised.