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New Hampshire Democrats Target ‘RomneyCare’

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New Hampshire Democrats will not allow “RomneyCare” to die.

The Granite State Democratic Party is pushing a media offensive to advance Tuesday’s five-year anniversary of the Massachusetts health law signed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is expected to seek the Republican nomination for the presidency. The law, which requires Bay State residents to have health insurance, is largely considered the inspiration for President Barack Obama’s national health care overhaul.

“Five years ago, Mitt Romney laid the foundation for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Without Romney, it’s hard to see how President Obama would have been able to provide quality, affordable health care for every American,” New Hampshire Democratic Chairman Ray Buckley wrote in a message to supporters this morning. “Take a second today or tomorrow to  thank Mitt Romney for providing the critical momentum necessary to get President Obama’s vision of health reform through Congress and signed into law.”

For many Republicans, Obama’s health care bill has become a symbol of a government expansion that has enraged much of the GOP, particularly those associated with the tea party movement. It is the individual mandate provision, perhaps more than any other, that has drawn criticism from the right and is a central argument in the court battle over the constitutionality of the law.

Romney, like other probable GOP presidential contenders, says he supports the repeal of Obama’s health care bill. And he has consistently sought to defend his actions in Massachusetts as one of states’ rights.

A Boston-based tea party leader, however, recently told Roll Call that Romney is having trouble controlling the message.

Christen Varley, president of the Greater Boston Tea Party, recalled a coffee shop conversation with a Romney staffer, who referred to the health care legislation as “RomneyCare.”

“He’s going to be working on the presidential team. I go, ‘If you can’t not call it RomneyCare, how can I?’” Varley said. “Everybody calls it that. ... And then the president congratulated him? If the president ever congratulated me on anything, I would move to a farm in the Scottish highlands. It’s the kiss of death. I feel bad about it.”

New Hampshire Democrats are hoping that their gratitude will be as equally damaging to Romney, who is considered among the stronger GOP presidential prospects thanks in part to his 2008 bid.

“Click here to tweet Mitt Romney and thank him,” Buckley wrote. “Nationally, for more than 100 years, Americans and their elected leaders had debated how to reform a system that left too many people without care because of lack of access, soaring costs or unfair and discriminatory insurance regulations. It’s hard to believe that it was only five years ago that then Governor Romney stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Senator Kennedy to sign Massachusetts’ historic health care reform law.”

For more from our At the Races politics blog, click here.

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