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Posted at 11:50 AM ET, 03/11/2012

Rick Santorum: Romney ‘doesn’t tell the truth’ on health care

Ahead of two suddenly pivotal primaries in Alabama and
Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, speaks in Cape Giradeau, Mo., on Saturday. (Eric Gay - Associated Press)
Mississippi on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Sunday stepped up his criticism of Mitt Romney, arguing that his primary rival has not told the truth when it comes to his record on health care.

In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Santorum told host David Gregory that Romney has sought to mislead voters when it comes to his position on health-care reform as governor of Massachusetts.
“Governor Romney in the state of Massachusetts mandated every person in Massachusetts have to buy health care,” Santorum said. "He doesn’t tell the truth about that either. He said, ‘Oh, it’s only the 8 percent that didn’t have insurance.’ That is simply not true.”

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, said it was Santorum who was misrepresenting Romney’s position on health care.

“Rick Santorum has a habit of making distortions, exaggerations and falsehoods about Mitt Romney’s record,” Saul said. “Governor Romney has never advocated for a federal individual mandate. He believes in the Tenth Amendment and, as a result, has always said that states should be free to come up with their own health care reforms.”

Santorum charged that on both health care and on climate change, Romney “continues to go out there and tries to misrepresent what he did in Massachusetts because it’s not popular.”

“He was for climate change,”Santorum said. “Man-made global warming. He put caps on CO2. And now that it’s not popular, now that the climate changed, guess who changed along with it? Governor Romney.”


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures while speaking to workers and supporters at Thompson Tractor in Birmingham, Ala., on Friday. (Marvin Gentry - Reuters)
A Romney spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the interview. Romney has repeatedly defended his health care record by arguing that he supported reform in Massachusetts but does not back it at the federal level.

The ramped-up offensive by Santorum against Romney comes as some supporters of the former senator are urging former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) to drop out and allow Santorum to run a one-on-one race against Romney.

And as the four-way GOP primary slog continues, Santorum himself on Sunday again declined to call on Gingrich to step aside.

“Well, you know, that's not my job,” Santorum told Gregory when asked whether he’d urge Gingrich to get out of the race. “I’m not going to tell people to get in and out of this race. I didn’t ask Speaker Gingrich to get in. I'm not going to ask him to get out.”

He noted that he hopes a two-man race will take place “sooner rather than later, but we’ll wait and see what the speaker decides.”

By  |  11:50 AM ET, 03/11/2012

 
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