Santorum is attempting to turn the tide by arguing that Republicans would cede the health care issue to Obama if they select Romney as their standard bearer. Speaking to reporters Monday on the steps of the Supreme Court, Santorum said Romney is “the worst candidate to go against Barack Obama on the most important issue of the day.”
Health care might or might not be important to voters in the heat of the general election campaign. A recent CNN poll showed that voters ranked the issue a distant third (11 percent) behind the economy (53 percent) and the federal budget (20 percent) among the topics that mattered most to them. But in any event, several Republican Senators interviewed in the past couple of weeks have said they are comfortable with Romney leading their party on health care.
Republican Members who have been complimentary of Romney on this issue include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.). Today, Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Barrasso (Wyo.) added his name to that list. Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon, has been a leading voice for Senate Republicans in opposing Obama’s health care law.
“To me the difference is states’ rights and states making their own decisions and still believe that health care is going to be a very vital part of the discussion in this presidential election no matter who our nominee is,” Barrasso said. “I’m 100 percent comfortable with Mitt Romney making the case against Obamacare, which to me is a law that violates the Constitution.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.