Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said this weekend during a highly anticipated speech to New Hampshire Republicans that he would repeal the federal healthcare law.
While speaking in the key early presidential primary state, the likely candidate went after President Obama's healthcare law and defended the Massachusetts healthcare law he signed as governor that has come under fire from Republicans.
Romney's comments during the Carroll County Lincoln Day Dinner are some of his strongest against the federal healthcare law, arguably the Obama agenda item Republican voters dislike most.
The way he addressed Obama's law, as well as his own, could preview his strategy on the campaign trail, should he decide to officially enter the race. The Massachusetts law could be one of Romney's biggest political vulnerabilities in a GOP primary field.
He told the audience that his law is not perfect, but that it beats a "federal takeover" of the nation's healthcare system.
"Our experiment wasn't perfect. Some things worked; some things didn't. Some things, I'd change,'' he said. "But one thing I would never do is usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover."
In recent weeks, several potential candidates, such as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), and other key Republicans like House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) have attacked the bill critics have dubbed "RomneyCare" as a failed approach that mirrors the president's plan.
The fact that Romney made his argument in New Hampshire is also significant: Winning the state during the GOP primary could be crucial for capturing momentum during the campaign.
Romney finished second in the state to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 presidential primary, and the former governor spent much time in the state helping candidates during the last election. Both of the state's House seats flipped to the GOP in 2010. Saturday night's speech was Romney's first appearance in the Granite State since the midterms.
Romney also rolled out other parts of his message, criticizing Obama's handling of the economy and dubbing the nation's economic woes the "Obama Misery Index."