Mitt Romney: Don’t shut down the government, listen to Joe Manchin

September 27, 2013

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday that he disagrees with members of his party who are trying to use the threat of a government shutdown to strip funding from Obamacare.

"We're more effective tactically not to use a shutdown of some kind to pursue the ... anti-Obamacare objective. I don't think that will be as effective,” Romney told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“I think there's a better way of getting rid of Obamacare — my own view — and that is, one, delaying it by at least a year. That was Senator Manchin's idea, the Democrats' idea,” Romney added.

The Senate on Friday voted 54 to 44, by party line, to keep the government’s lights on through November. The bill now heads to the House, where conservative lawmakers have vowed to block any funding bill that funds the president’s health-care law.

If lawmakers in both chambers can’t come to an agreement by Tuesday, many parts of the federal government will grind to a halt.

In the CNN interview, Romney suggested that Republicans could overturn Obamacare “in a more traditional way” — by winning majorities in both houses of Congress.

This isn’t the first time Romney has urged caution over shutting down the government. At a fundraiser for the Republican Party of New Hampshire in August, Romney said “we need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government.”

“I'm afraid that in the final analysis, Obamacare would get its funding, our party would suffer in the next elections and the people of the nation would not be happy,” Romney said.

Romney also said his biggest mistake as a presidential candidate was not doing more outreach to the Latino community, which voted in huge numbers for President Obama.

"I made a lot of personal errors that a human being is going to make," Romney said. "But the largest strategic error was not investing sufficiently, particularly in Hispanic TV and Hispanic outreach to help Hispanic voters understand that ours is the party of opportunity, that ours is the party that will help them have a brighter future, better jobs, better teaching for their kids."

Romney's comment about "self-deportation" at a GOP debate was considered one of his biggest blunders of the campaign, but Romney says the remark has been taken out of context.

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Aaron Blake | September 27, 2013