Last night and this morning, Mitt Romney's widely anticipated healthcare speech is being portrayed, by and large, as a failed attempt to achieve several objectives simultaneously – defending his Massachusetts healthcare reform plan, differentiating it from President Obama's Federal law and shedding his image as a flip-flopper willing to renounce long-held positions due to political expediency. Praise for Romney's performance is nearly nonexistent, with commentators from across the political spectrum contending that the issue remains a tremendous drag on Romney's 2012 hopes.
ABC World News (5/12, story 3, 2:30, Sawyer), after describing Mitt Romney as "the Republican the polls show poses the biggest challenge to President Obama," said he "has been taking heat for being the architect of health care reform in Massachusetts, very much like President Obama's plan," which he "signed into law in 2006 with Ted Kennedy at his side." ABC added, "Eighty percent of Republicans oppose the President's health care plan, which, like the Massachusetts model, penalizes people who do not buy insurance. ... Romney did say he would work to repeal the President's plan and hand over power to individual states." Romney: "Our plan was a state solution to state problem. And his is a power grab by the Federal government to put in place a one size fits all plan across the nation."
On Fox News' Special Report (5/12), correspondent Carl Cameron noted that in his speech yesterday, Romney "first attacked President Obama's healthcare law" although "parts of 'Obama-care' were modeled on Romney's plan, but he flatly refused to apologize or distance himself from it." Romney: "I, in fact, did what I believed was right for the people of my state." Cameron added, "Hours before Romney's latest speech, White House spokesman Jay Carney had already taken notice." Carney: "Governor Romney seems to be running away from some of the goals of his own law." Cameron also reported that "during his 2008 White House run, Romney boasted about his [healthcare] record."
Politico (5/12, Negrin) reported that Carney "charged" that Romney was "'running away' from the objectives he sought. ... 'There's a lot of similarities between the Affordable Care Act and the law in Massachusetts,' Carney said."