Santorum steps up attacks on Romney’s Massachusetts record

March 11, 2012

Ahead of potentially decisive Republican primaries in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, former senator Rick Santorum stepped up his criticism Sunday of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, arguing that his rival has not told the truth about 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 about what his position on health-care reform was when he was governor of Massachusetts.

“Governor Romney in the state of Massachusetts mandated every person in Massachusetts had 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.”

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.”

A Romney spokeswoman did not 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.

Santorum’s ramped-up offensive against Romney comes as some of the former Pennsylvania senator’s supporters are urging former House speaker Newt Gingrich to drop out of the contest and allow Santorum to run a one-on-one nomination race against Romney.

Santorum on Sunday again declined to call on Gingrich to step aside.

“Well, you know, that’s not my job,”he told Gregory when asked whether he would urge Gingrich to leave. “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 said he hopes the contest will come down to two men “sooner rather than later, but we’ll wait and see what the speaker decides.”

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