Photograph by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images.
Bob Dole went a little off message Thursday after endorsing Mitt Romney ahead of Saturday's Kansas caucuses, offering his rather honest take on the man he is now backing for president and the Massachusetts health care law that continues to cause him headaches.
Dole's comments came in an interview with ABC News following his endorsement. While he stressed that the Massachusetts law wasn't necessarily "fatal" to Romney's campaign, he said it certainly is a liability that needs to be addressed. "I haven't gone over the Massachusetts plan, but there are mandates in it," Dole said. "That's the one thing that Romney has to answer to, about mandates."
(Of course, as Slate's David Weigel pointed out this morning, Bob Dole previously backed a health care mandate himself.)
The former GOP presidential nominee also called into doubt Romney's campaign promise that if elected, he would repeal Obamacare on day one of his presidency. "You know, when he stands up and says, 'One of the first things I'm going to do is repeal Obamacare'—of course the president can't repeal it," Dole said, before adding: "He's going to start the ball rolling."
Dole also didn't necessarily sugar coat his predictions for his home state's upcoming caucuses, saying that he had "hope" that Romney would pull out a victory on Saturday but noting that Kansas is a "pretty conservative state."
Most observers in Kansas are predicting that Rick Santorum will be the overall winner in Kansas, and claim most of the state's delegates up for grabs in the caucuses, according to Politico. The Romney and Newt Gingrich campaigns have both more or less abandoned the state, and are instead focusing their resources on Tuesday's primaries in Mississippi and Alabama.