Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich faced a “tougher question” in Decorah late last night about his past support of a health care mandate. The question came from a man in the crowd.
“It’s not going to be mean, but it’s going to make you justify an answer,” the man told Gingrich. “Throughout the GOP debates you were strongly against RomneyCare and tonight you also said you were against ObamaCare, but back in 2006 I believe it is when the Massachusetts health care bill was passed, a newsletter under your name called Newt’s Notes came out and said that you fully supported that Massachusetts health care and then went further to say that the goal should be 100 percent coverage for all citizens. How can you reconcile that apparent contradiction?”
Gingrich responded by saying the goal is laudable, it’s just figuring out how to get 100 percent coverage for all citizens “in a constitutional way.”
“I would like to see all citizens have access to health care and I think everybody here wants to see that. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to have a mandate,” Gingrich said. “But I think everybody here recognizes we’re not going to let people die in the streets.”
AUDIO of the question and Gingrich’s answer.
Gingrich said he first talked about health care mandates “with the Heritage Foundation” in 1993 when he was trying to defeat “HillaryCare” — a reference to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s failed health care reform effort.
“The Heritage Foundation was positive about RomneyCare also in 2006. First of all, neither the Heritage (Foundation) nor I realized that Romney Care pays, uses taxpayer money to pay for abortions and neither of us realized that they had accepted Planned Parenthood by law as one of the members of their health board or I think we would have both said, ‘You ought to veto the whole bill if that’s what’s going to happen.'”
Gingrich told the crowd in Decorah the health care mandate is “too expensive” and “too bureaucratic.”
“The difference between Romney and me is we both used to have the wrong idea. I’m willing to say it was the wrong idea. He’s not and I think it’s funny that they want to attack me for admitting that I was wrong, but they won’t admit that he’s when now wrong to think that he’s still right when he’s wrong,” Gingrich said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Gingrich fielded questions about farm policy, military deployments and a child in the crowd asked Gingrich what his favorite color was — it’s red.
(Additional reporting by Darin Svenson, KDEC, Decorah)