Mitt Romney to GOP: Don't shut down government to kill Obamacare
At a fundraiser in swing-state New Hampshire, Mitt Romney urges Republicans to rally behind 'electable' candidates for 2016 and not to risk a government shutdown to stop Obamacare.
Mitt Romney leaped into the deep waters of debate over the future course of Republican Party policy Tuesday night in a speech near the shores of New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee where the former GOP presidential candidate has a vacation home.Skip to next paragraph
Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.
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Mr. Romney, who described himself as a “severe conservative” during the 2012 campaign, appeared to side with the pragmatic wing of his party with most of his remarks, made at a political fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican Party. In particular, he warned against shutting down the government in an attempt to strip funds from the Affordable Care Act, known informally as “Obamacare."
“I badly want Obamacare to go away, and stripping it of funds has appeal. But we need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government,” Romney said. “What would come next when soldiers aren’t paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social Security, and when the FBI is off duty?”
What would come next, in Romney’s eyes, is a predictable political failure: Voters would revolt, Obamacare would get its money after all, and Republicans would be hurt at the polls, as Washington conventional wisdom holds they were following the 28-day government shutdown of 1995 and '96.
“I think there are better ways to remove Obamacare,” he added.
However, he didn’t go on to say what those notional “better ways” were. Rolling back time and electing him, perhaps?
Romney also urged Republicans to rally behind electable candidates, not those who appeal to the party base but frighten moderates. He didn’t name any names here – he did not, for instance, mutter “Sen. Ted Cruz” under his breath. And he did acknowledge that this advice might be ironic coming from someone who billed himself as the electable choice, only to be proven wrong at the polls.
“My guess is that every one of the [2016 GOP presidential] contenders would be better than whoever the Democrats put up,” Romney said. “But there will only be one or perhaps two who actually could win the election in November.”