Politics

Romney: ‘Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare’

Then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke during the first presidential debate with President Barack Obama in 2012.
Eric Gay/Associated Press
Then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke during the first presidential debate with President Barack Obama in 2012.

At one point in 2012, Mitt Romney was willing to bet $10,000 that a central part of his Massachusetts’ health care plan was not the model for President Obama’s signature initiative. As he traveled around the country to campaign, Romney swore the new federal health care law, dubbed Obamacare, was “a disaster” and unconstitutional.

But in an interview with the Globe about Tom Stemberg, a Staples founder who died Friday, Romney praised his friend’s role in passing the hallmark health care legislation. Romney also praised “Romneycare,” suggesting it was the precursor to the president’s health care legislation that he repeatedly disparaged on the campaign trail.

“Without Tom pushing it, I don’t think we would have had Romneycare,” Romney said. “Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare. So without Tom, a lot of people wouldn’t have health insurance.”

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Romney sought to clarify his remarks on his Facebook page Friday:

Getting people health insurance is a good thing, and that?s what Tom Stemberg fought for. I oppose Obamacare and believe...

Posted by Mitt Romney on�Friday, October 23, 2015

James Pindell can be reached at james.pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell, or subscribe to his daily e-mail update on the 2016 campaign at bostonglobe.com/groundgame.