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Palin steps on Romney announcement

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) took a direct shot at Mitt Romney’s
presidential campaign on the same day Romney made his bid official,
and in his own backyard.

Less than an hour before Romney was set to officially announce his presidential bid, Palin criticized him for signing Massachusetts’s healthcare plan, according to reports.

{mosads}”In my opinion, any mandate coming from government is not a good
thing, so obviously … there will be more the explanation coming from
former Governor Romney on his support for government mandates,” Palin
said, according to NBC News.

Palin made her remarks in Romney’s home state of Massachusetts,
where she stopped on a leg of her bus tour throughout the Northeast.
She is expected to make the short trip up to New Hampshire Thursday
evening, her first since 2008, when she was the GOP’s vice presidential
nominee.

Romney faced criticism from Palin for the healthcare plan he
supported as governor, a plan which is now regarded as a potential
Achilles’ Heel for his presidential ambitions. Conservatives have
complained about the similarities between the Massachusetts plan and
President Obama’s national healthcare reform law. Romney sought to
minimize criticism with a speech in Michigan last month, where he
said he was “proud” of his efforts as governor, but pledged to undo
Obama’s law.

The Granite State is a key
battleground in the path to the
Republican nomination, and is particularly central to Romney’s map to
the nomination. Palin’s sharp rhetoric toward Romney sends a clear
signal that she’s not willing to let the former
Massachusetts governor have his day in the sun.

Tea Party activists might be less inclined to vote for Romney because of his healthcare law, Palin said, according to RealClearPolitics.

“That perhaps will be a big challenge for him because tea party
activists are pretty strident, in a good way, in making sure that the
candidate that many of the tea party patriots will support — the
candidate has a record of living out the principles that tea party
patriots do embrace,” she said.

Palin said Romney made a “good argument” when he said that states
have the right to pursue their own plans, but that it didn’t
make it alright for Massachusetts to require individuals to buy health
insurance, the “individual mandate” that also plays a key role in
Obama’s plan.

Palin also took a swipe at Tim Pawlenty, the former
Minnesota governor who’s also vying for GOP nomination, dinging him for calling on candidates to get into the
race early.

“That is one thing that I disagree with Pawlenty on is he believing that it all needs to happen right now,” she said. “I think he says that because that was his strategy, but I obviously don’t follow anybody’s strategy and don’t just kind of go with the flow in the conventional way of doing things.”

Palin’s words could stoke further speculation that she is inclined
to jump into the GOP presidential field, even though she has claimed
her tour has nothing to do with a possible bid.  

The ex-Alaska
governor has said repeatedly that she prefers to take her time while
making her decision whether to run, but that the quality of the current
crop of GOP candidates will play heavily into her decision.

“In my races over the last twenty years, I’ve usually been the
first one to jump in,” she said on Fox News in March. “But in this
case, because it is so monumental and so affecting on a family, I
probably would wait to see who is willing to put their name forward in
the hat, in terms of serving this country.”


—This post was updated at 1:01 p.m.

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