By Alicia M. Cohn - 09/14/11 03:20 PM EDT
Discussion over government-imposed mandates has raged in recent GOP
presidential debates. Romney’s campaign has faced a major challenge
over the healthcare insurance individual mandate he implemented in
Massachusetts as governor, which has been compared to President Obama’s
healthcare reform bill.
In defending his state’s healthcare bill, Romney said the so-called “ObamaCare” bill was “unconstitutional” while the Massachusetts law was not “because there are two different constitutions.”
Romney’s fellow White House contender, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), is also taking heat over a mandate he imposed as governor that required all sixth-grade girls to be vaccinated for the sexually transmitted Human Papillomavirus.
Romney’s defense echoed Perry’s stance on the rights of states to govern individually. Perry is fond of noting that some issues should be decided on a “state-by-state” basis.
“The plan that we put in place was put together by Republicans and Democrats,” Romney said. “It worked in Massachusetts. States have the right to mandate. States mandate kids go to school. The federal government can’t do that. States mandate that you have to buy auto insurance. The federal government can’t do that.”
Romney has been gunning for Perry over the issue of Social Security
in the last two debates. But Romney denied that the GOP candidates
planned in advance to gang up on Perry, who is new to the debate stage
but already leading the field of candidates in the polls.
“We’re big guys, both Rick Perry and me,” Romney said. “We understand that now and then we’ll step on each other’s toes.”