On Super Tuesday eve, Rick Santorum delivered a series of harsh attacks on Mitt Romney today, stressing that his rival’s history on health care had alienated conservative voters.
“Mitt Romney passed government-mandated health insurance in Massachusetts, and argued and tried to persuade the president in this debate in 2009 to adopt his government-mandated health care system for the federal government,” Santorum said in a conference call with reporters, presumably alluding to Romney’s 2009 USA Today piece that’s been circulating throughout media reports today.
Romney, he continued, had “misled the public as to what his position was” on health care.
“To continue to mislead,” Santorum added, “and to try to obfuscate by just throwing negative ads at someone, and not having to respond to the fact that he was an advocate for something he says he wasn’t, is further evidence that conservatives will not trust him, will not rally around him through this primary season, and ultimately, I don’t care how much money he will spend, we will be the nominee.”
In Ohio, Santorum stressed, his campaign was being significantly outspent: Romney’s campaign and super PAC were spending four and eight times as much respectively as his campaign was in the Buckeye State. “To suggest this is David and Goliath is probably a bit of an understatement,” he remarked of the state of the primary race.
“I think people are starting to realize that what you have with Governor Romney is someone who’s just simply not a genuine article. He’s not someone that you can trust on the issue of big government,” Santorum said.
People, he added, “say they just don’t trust Mitt Romney to not do what’s the fashionable thing at the moment,” whether that be cap-and-trade, bailouts, or the health-care individual mandate.
In an e-mail sent to reporters after the Santorum conference call was announced but before it was held, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said in a statement, “Rick Santorum has a habit of creating distortions, exaggerations and falsehoods about Mitt Romney’s record. Over the last several years, Governor Romney has said many times, in many different formats, that his health care reform plan was the right model for Massachusetts, and that it should not be used as a one-size-fits-all national health insurance plan. Governor Romney is a federalist and has always said that states should be free to come up with their own health care reforms.”