Mitt Romney: No Apology for Individual Health Care Mandate

On the kick off to his "No Apology" book tour, Mitt Romney is on message – refusing to apologize for the Massachusetts health care law that, like President Obama’s federal legislation, requires citizens to buy health insurance.

“I’m not apologizing for it, I’m indicating that we went in one direction and there are other possible directions. I’d like to see states pursue their own ideas, see which ideas work best,” Romney told me.

That stand seems to reject the advice of Karl Rove and others who say that Romney can’t get the GOP nomination in 2012 unless he finds a way to distance himself from Romneycare, but he did concede that his Massachusetts plan is imperfect.

As for Obamacare? It’s a “very bad piece of legislation,” Romney said, siding with the federal judge who ruled it unconstitutional and wrote in his decision that “it is difficult to imagine that a nation which began…as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place.”

“That was the whole idea of our federal democracy, we’d have people be able to try different ideas state to state but what we did not do was say that the federal government can make its choice and impose it on all of the states. That is one of the reasons why this bill is unconstitutional,” Romney said.

“The right thing for the president to do now with these decisions saying this bill is unconstitutional, with the house taking action to repeal it, with the senate considering doing so, he should press the pause button and say ‘you know what, let’s hold back in this Obamacare,’” he said.

While Romney criticized the president’s health care plan he has few quarrels with the way the administration is handling the situation in Egypt.

“I think that they got off to a rocky start. I think some of the statements early on were misguided. But I think they corrected and they said they want to see transition, I think that’s right,” he told me.

“I don’t know that I would say to the president ‘You should call for Mubarak’s resignation,’” Romney said. “That I think flies in the face of a long history of friendship between he and our country and our friends, but it is very clear that [Mubarak] needs to move on and transition to the voices of democracy.”

-- George Stephanopoulos

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