CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Mitt Romney said it was a compliment to be called the grandfather of "Obamacare" — a statement likely to anger conservatives already skeptical of his Massachusetts health insurance program that served as a model for President Obama's federal plan.
"Now and then the president says I'm the grandfather of Obamacare. I don't think he meant that as a compliment, but I’ll take it. This was during my primary; we thought it might not be helpful," Romney said during a Univision candidate forum Wednesday.
The former Massachusetts governor reiterated his vow to repeal the president's healthcare plan but praised his own, which included a requirement that most Massachusetts residents purchase health insurance.
"I’ve actually been able to put in place a system that fit the needs of the people in my state. And I'm proud of the fact that in my state, after our plan was put in place, every child has insurance, 98% of adults have insurance,” Romney said.
Romney's healthcare plan has drawn scorn from conservatives because of its similarity to Obama’s plan, which is loathed by many in the Republican Party. During the GOP primary, Rick Santorum said Romney’s plan made him the worst Republican to challenge Obama on healthcare.
The candidate or his campaign have praised the Romney plan before, including twice on the same day in August. Irate conservatives have targeted such statements in the past.