Republican presidential candidates clearly came to Tuesday’s debate with the intentions of taking on former Gov. Mitt Romney.
After accusing Romney of backtracking on his suggestion that the Massachusetts health care law should be available to the entire nation, former Sen. Rick Santorum did his best not to allow him to answer the question.
As CNN host Anderson Cooper noted the time had expired, the crowd began to boo. Romney was given a few more seconds to respond, but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich added his voice to the criticism of Romney’s health care plan.
“Your plan essentially is one more big government bureaucratic high cost system which candidly could not have been done by any other state because no other state had a Medicare program as lavish as yours, and no one got a grant from the Bush administration for this experiment,” Gingrich charged.
“Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you,” Romney replied.
“You did not get that from me,” Gingrich insisted. “You got it from the Heritage Foundation.”
“And you never supported it?” Romney asked.
“I absolutely did — with the Heritage Foundation — against Hillarycare,” Gingrich admitted.
“OK, that’s what I’m saying. We got the idea from you and the Heritage Foundation,” Romney concluded.
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Oct. 18, 2011.