POLITICS
05/25/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

FLASHBACK: In 2008 Debate, Romney Seemed To Support National Insurance Mandates

Yesterday, we undertook the Herculean task of unspinning former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's tangled-up rationalizations for why individual mandates he once supported as an important health care solution are now a terrible assault on liberty.

The hair-splitting distinction was a philosophical one: individual mandates imposed by states are fine, but national individual mandates are a bridge too far. That's a wonderful bit of esoterica, to be sure, but it hardly mitigates the fact that Romney supports the government imposing an individual mandate on constituents.

Well, Greg Sargent has a video that the DNC pulled from its Pensieve -- and lo and behold, we have Mitt Romney, looking for all the world like he supports national mandates. Play this out to the 45-second mark, if you please:

WATCH:

MODERATOR: "You seem to have backed away from mandates on a national basis."

ROMNEY: "No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work."

Credit Sargent for this catch, because, as he suggests, the DNC seems to have missed this!

Sargent bottom lines it thusly:

All this said, in a way the details of Romney's position, or positions, aren't really the point. Rather, the real problem for Romney here is that every time he goes on TV to bash Obamacare, he's going to be asked to explain why he's slamming a provision he signed into law himself.

All the explaining, of course, feeds the same storyline about his ideological malleability that did him in the last time.

And, as Ben Bell said in the Boston Herald yesterday: "The American attention span is getting smaller not larger. We communicate in 140 characters now. Engaging in a debate over the intricacies of the different types of universal health care plans is not something people want to do. So the reality is this: Romney supported universal health care in Massachusetts and he looks duplicitous bashing Obama's plan when his plan was quite similar."

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