Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) healthcare plan shouldn't disqualify him from being the GOP candidate for president, one of his top foes for the nomination said Sunday.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), who's hammered away at the Massachusetts health reform Romney pioneered as governor, said he wouldn't rule out Romney as the nominee.
"I don't think it disqualifies him. I think the purpose of states are to always be laboratories of government," Huckabee said on "Fox News Sunday."
"It's not a good plan, but he attempted something that he wanted to see, would it work," the former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate said.
Huckabee raised eyebrows this week with criticism toward "Romneycare" included in his new book. Both former governors poll near the top of the pack in the race for the 2012 nomination, though neither have formally entered the race.
The Massachusetts reforms are seen as one of Romney's largest possible vulnerabilities among Republican primary voters. The plan resembles in some ways President Obama's healthcare reform law, which all the candidates have vocally criticized.
“Mitt Romney is proud of what he accomplished for Massachusetts in getting everyone covered,” Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told the Boston Globe earlier this week. “What's important now is to return to the states the power to determine their own healthcare solutions by repealing Obamacare. A one-size-fits-all plan for the entire nation just doesn't work.”
Huckabee denied his attacks on Romney were somehow inappropriate at this stage in the campaign, claiming that his attacks were based on policy, not the personal.
"Policy differences are legitimate. If we start attacking each other on integrity and character, that's a problem," Huckabee explained.