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Santorum calls Romney 'serially' untruthful on his healthcare record

Rick Santorum accused Mitt Romney of being “serially” untruthful by “deliberately” misrepresenting his record on healthcare.

“What I’d like to talk about, which is offensive, is Gov. Romney out there for almost a year telling people in the Republican primary that he never advocated that RomneyCare would be a federal model, that he never advocated for the individual mandate that would require people to buy insurance,” Santorum said Thursday in an interview on CNN. “And now we find on several occasions just in the last week, article after article, interview after interview, where Gov. Romney did just that.”

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Romney’s critics have tried to tie him to President Obama’s healthcare law, as they say his state law in Massachusetts served as a model for the president.

Romney has argued that his plan did what was best for his constituents at the state level, and that he never would have advocated it be implemented nationally. However, earlier this week, an editorial from 2009 surfaced in USA Today in which Romney seemed to do just that.

“Healthcare is simply too important to the economy, to employment and to America's families to be larded up and rushed through on an artificial deadline,” Romney wrote. “There's a better way. And the lessons we learned in Massachusetts could help Washington find it.”

The editorial goes on to describe “tax penalties” that would discourage “free riders to take responsibility for themselves,” which many say is akin to the Obama administration’s individual mandate.

“Now, to me, that’s offensive,” said Santorum. “For someone to go out and deliberately misrepresent his record, what he did at a very critical time when people were making decisions on the issue of healthcare, for him to go out and recommend that to President Obama and then tell the voters at debate after debate that he never did any such thing, not only is his policy bad, not only did he recommend the wrong policy for the country, then he didn’t tell the truth about what he did.”

“To me, that’s something that should be a much bigger issue on supposedly the leading candidate in this race, on the most important issue that we’re going to be dealing with in this election,” Santorum added.

CNN host Piers Morgan pressed Santorum, asking if that makes the former Massachusetts governor “a liar.”

“He clearly did not tell the truth,” Santorum responded. “You don’t necessarily go and accuse the person on a personal level, you describe the action. I did, and I accurately described that Gov. Romney did not tell the truth to the Republicans at the debates — serially telling people that he did not do what we now know that he did, repeatedly.”