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Rick Santorum: Mitt Romney Can't Get Rid Of Obamacare

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Rick Santorum on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court March 26 as arguments began on President Obama's health care law.
Rick Santorum on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court March 26 as arguments began on President Obama's health care law.

WASHINGTON -- Rick Santorum stepped squarely into the national debate over President Obama's health care law on Monday, traveling to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to deliver a message: Mitt Romney can't get rid of Obamacare.

"He may say he wants to repeal Obamacare but he won't have the mandate from the course of this campaign to be able to win the argument, not just here in Congress but across the country," Santorum said. "I'll be making that argument throughout the course of our campaign. If we're successful it will be very clear where the American public is."

"That won't be the case with Governor Romney, because as you see, he's not here, he's not making the argument in this race," Santorum said, speaking to a throng of reporters, onlookers and pro-Obamacare activists who at times tried to shout him down.

Former Sen. Santorum (R-Pa.) spoke not long after the nation's highest court heard arguments in the first of three days it will spend focused on the 2010 law. Santorum is seeking to capitalize on the white-hot heat the arguments are creating around the health care issue, in order to inject some momentum into a flagging campaign for president.

"If we run this campaign, which I will, on Obamacare, we make this the central issue of the campaign, and we're successful, there is no doubt that Obamacare will be repealed in one form or another," Santorum said. "And that's not going to be the case with Governor Romney because he can't make it the argument, because if he makes it the argument the Obama machine will turn it right back on him. Therefore there won't be the mandate."

Santorum has made Romney's 2006 state health care law a central part of his argument against the former Massachusetts governor for much of the GOP primary, but he has elevated the line of attack even further over the last month or so. Romney, for his part, has rarely talked about the issue, repeating his promise to repeal Obama's health care law if he's elected but otherwise avoiding the topic.

Santorum's argument on Monday was that Romney's promise is nothing but words.

"All [Romney] says is, 'I will repeal Obamacare,' while in the same breath he defends Obamacare at the state level," Santorum said. "It just doesn't wash and it won't wash in the general election. That's why if you really want Obamacare repealed, if you really want Obamacare repealed, there is only person who can make that happen, and that's someone who makes Obamacare the central issue in this race."

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