Romney: Obama ‘knowingly’ held back economy to pass healthcare reform

Mitt Romney charged Wednesday that President Obama “knowingly slowed down” the economic recovery to focus instead on healthcare.

“The idea that they knowingly slowed down our recovery in order to put in place ObamaCare — which they wanted and they considered historic, but the American people did not want or consider historic — is something which I think deserves a lot of explaining,” Romney said Wednesday during a campaign stop in Texas.

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Romney said Obama and his advisers discussed “the fact that Obamacare would slow down the economic recovery in this country, and they knew that before they passed it.”

He was paraphrasing a book by journalist Noam Scheiber that quotes former White House economic adviser Larry Summers saying he did not believe healthcare reform would slow the recovery, but that even if it did, he admired Obama’s decision to pursue a historic overhaul of the healthcare system.

Scheiber has said Romney is “definitely misrepresenting” the book, but that there is a “kernel of truth” to his interpretation. The book, Scheiber said, argues that Obama focused on long-term, historically significant priorities rather than shorter-term economic stimulus.

Talking Points Memo has the video of Romney's allegation.