Sarah Palin: I'm not trying to overshadow Romney

Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney
Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney
AP

Updated 5:03 p.m. Eastern Time

Mitt Romney announced his presidential campaign in New Hampshire this afternoon, but he didn't have the state to himself: Potential Republican presidential rival Sarah Palin is hosting an evening clambake not far from the farm where Romney held his campaign kickoff.

Palin, who is in the midst of a bus tour, played down the fact that both Republicans are in the key early voting state on the same day as simply a coincidence.

"I think that's exciting for him, that's great for him," Palin said in Boston before Romney's announcement, CNN reports.

"It's coincidental that we are in the same territory at the same time, but more power to Mitt as he mounts his campaign and best of luck to him," she added.

Yet Palin also took a shot at Romney over the health care law he signed as Massachusetts governor.

"Romneycare" looks not unlike the controversial "Obamacare" federal health care law passed by Democrats in 2010 and reviled on the right; both feature a mandate that residents purchase health insurance, which is at the center of conservative legal challenges to the federal law.

Romney has defended his signature legislationeven as he has vowed to repeal "Obamacare," arguing the Massachusetts law is the state's prerogative.

"In my opinion, any mandate coming from government is not a good thing, so obviously...there will be more the explanation coming from former governor Romney on his support for government mandates," Palin said in Boston, as First Read reports.

While Romney "makes a good argument" regarding the distinction between a state and federal mandate, Palin says, "even on a state level and even a local level, mandates coming from a governing body, it's tough for a lot of us independent Americans to accept, because we have great faith in the private sectors and our own families ... making decisions for ourselves."

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who appeared in New Hampshire Thursday as well and is pondering a presidential run, also took a shot at Romney on the issue, saying, "The reality is that Obamacare and Romneycare are almost exactly the same. It's not very helpful trying to distinguish them. I would think the best way to handle it is to say, it was a terrible mistake and if I could do it over again, I wouldn't do it.''

The Democratic National committee is playing up the Palin/Romney situation in a new web video that shows Palin's bus running over a Romney stick figure in New Hampshire.

Palin's bus tour of historic sites is not easily categorized. While the Fox News contributor is traveling in a huge bus emblazoned with her name and says she is considering a presidential run, she has suggested the high-profile trip isn't a publicity stunt. It's actually part of a "campaign to educate and energize Americans about our nation's founding principles, in order to promote the Fundamental Restoration of America," according to Palin's political action committee website.

According to Palin's daughter Piper, the trip is actually about something else entirely: A little time off. And the media isn't helping. A frustrated looking Piper Palin got in between her mother and a reporter during a recent leg of the tour, and she complained to a Time magazine photographer that his presence has been a downer.

"Thanks for ruining our vacation," said Piper.

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