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Romney assails ‘Obamacare’ as part of broader ‘attack on economic freedom’

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SAN DIEGO — With the Supreme Court beginning its review of President Obama’s national health-care overhaul, Mitt Romney on Monday admonished the law and cast it as part of a broad federal overreach by Obama that he said represents “an attack on economic freedom unlike anything we have ever seen before.”

Frederic J. Brown

AFP/Getty Images

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures while speaking during an event at NuVasive, a maker of devices intended to improve spinal care, in San Diego on March 26, 2012 in California.

Yet as he visited a medical device company here that makes artificial spines to deliver a speech in front of a banner that read “Repeal and Replace Obamacare,” Romney did not directly call for the repeal of the health-care law. Nor did the Republican presidential front-runner refer to the first of three days of oral arguments at the Supreme Court that are consuming Washington.

Instead, Romney spoke broadly about what he considers a culture of government regulation and overreach brought on by the Obama administration.

“I just don’t think the president and his people understand that as they burden enterprise with taxation and with regulation, they hurt all of us,” Romney said. “This is not just about the business itself being attacked, bad enough as that is, and the employees who work there being attacked, bad enough as that is, but the entire economy, all of America, slows down and the proof is what you’re seeing in the current recovery.”

Romney repeatedly referred to NuVasive, the spine technology company that hosted his campaign event here. Its chief executive, Alexis V. Lukianov, who emigrated here from Russia to start his business, said the federal health-care law has curtailed the company’s ability to innovate. He estimated that the looming tax on medical device companies, one component of the broader law, would mean the loss of about 200 jobs next year.

Romney said: “We’ve got to make sure that we replace President Obama with someone who truly understands what it is that makes America’s economy work, who understands the power of innovation. These dreams that people like Alex have had, these dreams are crushed — tax by tax, regulator by regulator, regulation by regulation. Washington is crushing the dreams, and crushing the dreamers. We can’t let it happen.”

Romney’s GOP opponents are trying urgently to stop Romney’s march to the nomination by highlighting the similarities between the federal health-care law and the Massachusetts overhaul Romney signed into law as governor.

But in his speech here, Romney did not refer to the state law his opponents call “Romneycare.” He did, however, speak of his disdain for “Obamacare.”

“There are a lot of reasons not to like Obamacare,” Romney said. “My colleagues the other day listed a whole series of them — and there are about 30 things — and I chuckled as I looked down, just shaking my head at the things Obamacare is doing.”

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