(By John Locher/Associated Press)

Though Mitt Romney is considered to be a frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the national spotlight has forced him to repeatedly confront a major skeleton in his political closet: that as governor of Massachusetts, he once tried to help poor, uninsured sick people.

Romney, who signed the state’s 2006 health care reform act, has said he “deeply regrets” giving people in poor physical and mental health the opportunity to seek medical attention, admitting that helping very sick people get better remains a dark cloud hovering over his political career, and his biggest obstacle to becoming president of the United States of America ...“I’m only human, and I’ve made mistakes. None bigger, of course, than helping cancer patients receive chemotherapy treatments and making sure that those suffering from pediatric AIDS could obtain medications, but that’s my cross to bear.”

That’s the Onion, of course. But it’s all true. I’ve remarked previously on the absurd fact that Republicans appear to consider Rick Perry, who governs a state where fully 26 percent of the residents are uninsured, more credible on health care than Mitt Romney, who passed reforms driving Massachusetts’s rate of uninsurance down to 5 percent.