By Julian Pecquet - 04/05/12 08:53 PM EDT
Mitt Romney's newest adviser lobbied for a national mandate that everyone have insurance two years before President Obama embraced the idea, The Washington Examiner reported Thursday.
The revelation that former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie was hired by the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform to lobby for the mandate in 2007 could further hurt Romney's popularity with conservative voters. Romney has tried to distance himself from Obama's healthcare reform law by arguing that the mandate he imposed as governor of Massachusetts was a state solution, but his ties to Gillespie could make that harder.
The Democratic National Committee, sensing an opportunity, immediately blasted out the Examiner's story on Thursday. Romney's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Many Republicans once supported the personal mandate, which they saw as a conservative alternative to an employer mandate. Former proponents include presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who advocated for a federal mandate as recently as 2005 alongside Hillary Clinton and again in his 2009 book Real Change: the Fight for America's Future.