continued to spew this false accusation with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. He must have known no one would challenge him there as long as his lie was directed at Romney.
What the books say
Perry's grievance is with differences between hardcover and paperback editions of Romney's book. We've combed through Chapter 7 of both.
Romney's changes to the book have been explored before, by Boston political journalist David S. Bernstein. He noted in February 2011 that Romney had added harsher language on the national health care law as passed: "Obamacare will not work and should be repealed," and, "Obamacare is an unconstitutional federal incursion into the rights of states."
Romney more clearly explained ways that he disagreed with implementation of the Massachusetts law.
He also changed this line, which came after a paragraph touting the success of the Massachusetts health plan:
Hardcover: "We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care."
Paperback: "And it was done without government taking over health care."So now I guess I can assume that not only is being a serial adulterer acceptable behavior in the conservative movement of the Republican party, serial lying is acceptable as well.
The deleted 11 words, "We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country" are the crux of Perry's argument. His campaign sent e-mail the day after the debate with a link highlighting precisely that change.
It looks suspicious, right? Perhaps Romney did extol every piece of his Massachusetts plan, individual mandate and all, for every state in the union.
But here's the original quote with full context from Page 177 of the hardcover:
"My own preference would be to let each state fashion its own program to meet the distinct needs of its citizens. States could follow the Massachusetts model of they choose, or they could develop plans of their own. These plans, tested in the state 'laboratories of democracy' could be evaluated, compared, improved upon, and adopted by others. But the creation of a national plan is the direction in which Washington is currently moving. If a national approach is ultimately adopted, we should permit individuals to purchase insurance from companies in other states in order to expand choice and competition.
"What we accomplished surprised us: 440,000 people who previously had no health insurance became insured, many paying their own way. We made it possible for each newly insured person to have better care, and ultimately healthier and longer lives. From now on, no one in Massachusetts has to worry about losing his or her health insurance if there is a job change or a loss in income; everyone is insured and pays only what he or she can afford. It's portable, affordable health insurance — something people have been talking about for decades. We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care."
Romney's not really saying the Massachusetts law "should be the model for the country," the way that Perry describes it. He's in fact presenting a defense of state-level choice. It's like a shout-out to other state leaders: Hey, you can have what Massachusetts has!
And it's consistent with what Romney fired back at Perry in the Sept. 22, 2011 debate: "This is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan." And with how he characterized his own book in the most recent debate: "I say, in my view, each state should be able to fashion their own program for the specific needs of their distinct citizens."
Romney did support Massachusetts' individual mandate. But we don't see evidence in his hardcover book that he supported a federal one, much less that he removed such a reference from later editions.
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