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Romney and the Mandate

8:27 AM, Mar 5, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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According to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, a whopping four out of five swing-state voters regard Obamacare’s individual mandate as unconstitutional. Somewhat incredibly, more than half of all Democrats nationwide (not just in swing states) agree. And voters in every last one of the 88 counties of Ohio recently backed a ballot measure that said, in part, “In Ohio, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system.” 

In that light, Mitt Romney’s chances for victory in Tuesday’s Ohio primary may well hinge on his success in getting Ohio Republicans to overlook any disagreements they have had, or perhaps still have, with Romney on this issue. Romney didn’t take a position on the Ohio ballot measure last fall, and he continues to say that the individual mandate that he spearheaded in Massachusetts was the right policy for his state. Moreover, when running for president the last time around, Romney made clear that — at least at that time — his preference for state-based mandates didn’t apply merely to the Bay State:

But the bigger problem for Romney may be his comments in a recently unearthed USA Today op-ed published in July 2009 — in the midst of the Obamacare debate — in which he seemingly encouraged President Obama to include a federal mandate in Obamacare. 

If it seems strange that Obama would have required any encouragement on that front, recall that Obama consistently campaigned against such a mandate.

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