Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images.
Uh oh, Mitt.
NBC News recently obtained White House visitors logs that show that Obama administration officials met with Mitt Romney’s own health care advisers a dozen times in 2009 to help craft the sweeping health care reform law that Republicans loathingly call Obamacare.
The disclosure is sure to be seized upon by Romney’s GOP rivals, who have blasted the Republican frontrunner for signing, and later defending, the Massachusetts state law that was seen as a model for the national one signed last year by the president.
While Romney has promised to dole out 50 state waivers that would, in effect, repeal the national law if he is elected, he’s been unable to win over some conservatives who question his sincerity.
Jon Gruber, an MIT economist who advised Romney on health care while he was governor and who attended five of the White House meetings in 2009, including one presided over by the president, offered this pull quote to NBC that we’ll all probably be seeing in a future attack ad by one of Romney’s rivals:
"The White House wanted to learn a lot on what we’d done in Massachusetts," Gruber said. "They really wanted to know how we can take that same approach we used in Massachusetts and turn that into a national model."
In case that wasn't enough to get Rick Perry's AV team salivating, Gruber also called Romney "the father of health-care reform," adding: "I think he is the single person most responsible for health care reform in the United States. … I’m not trying to make a political position or a political statement, I honestly feel that way. If Mitt Romney had not stood up for this reform in Massachusetts … I don’t think it would have happened nationally. So I think he really is the guy with whom it all starts."
The report comes one day after Perry unveiled a new ad incriminating Romney as a flip-flopper, an Obama lackey and, in one scene, even the president’s (white) twin. "When it comes to government-mandated health care, there is no difference between Mitt Romney and President Obama," Perry spokesman, Mark Miner, said in a statement accompanying the ad.
Romney’s camp, as expected, is playing down the link between Romneycare and Obamacare, and doing so by distancing themselves from Gruber. But Gruber is defending Romney, saying that he is "proud" of the former governor for "sticking up for what he did in Massachusetts" but is "disappointed" about his current efforts to make distinctions between the state law and the Affordable Care Act.