Romney: Health care law 'a moral failure'

  • (CBS News) STERLING, Va. - In advance of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act due out Thursday, Mitt Romney said Wednesday it was a "moral failure" for President Obama to focus on health care legislation during a time of economic crisis.

    "His policies were not focused on creating jobs. They were focused on implementing his liberal agenda. There's nothing wrong with people having an agenda, but when the country's in crisis, you have a moral responsibility to focus on helping people come out of that crisis," Romney told a crowd of hundreds of supporters in Virginia, that proved to be one of the most energetic and excited crowds he has faced recently. "It was not just bad policy; it was a moral failure to put forward a piece of legislation that wouldn't help Americans get back to work."

    With the Supreme Court's ruling on the constitutionality of the healthcare law expected Thursday morning, Romney has spent the past two days previewing the ways he will respond. As he has promised to repeal and replace the law if it is not struck down by the Court, he has outlined his specific objections.

    "I don't like the idea of government bureaucrats getting between us and our doctors, that's number one. And by the way, for our senior citizen friends who are concerned about Medicare, let's remind them about one other thing we don't like about Obamacare. The president cut $500 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare, another good reason to get rid of it," Romney said. "And then for those that are a little younger, he's adding trillions of dollars to federal spending - we don't need more debt, we do not need more deficits, we cannot pass on these burdens to the next generation."

    Romney has made the law a central focus of his campaign, even though it is similar to a state insurance mandate he put into place in Massachusetts. If the Court rules against its constitutionality, Romney will lose a major talking point. Still, he has publicly expressed hope the law will be struck down.

    "My guess is, they're not sleeping real well at the White House tonight," he told the crowd.

    Romney was introduced by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, widely considered to be among Romney's vice presidential picks. McDonnell was firmly on message in advance of the Supreme Court ruling.

    "All that time when president Mitt Romney would have been focusing on jobs and economic development and getting you back to work and creating better dreams for you and your kids this president's focusing on unfunded mandates on the states and taking over the health care system, the best health care system in the world, by the federal government. So this president is out of touch, out of time, and it's time for a new president," he said.

    After the event, Romney came outside to present a new truck to one of his biggest fans, 70-year-old Virginia resident Jim Wilson, who used to follow Romney's campaign around the country with a pickup truck laden with Romney signs. After the truck was destroyed in a fire earlier this month, the campaign purchased a used 2003 Chevy Silverado for $13,900, and Romney presented Wilson with the keys.

  • Rebecca Kaplan On Twitter»

    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

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