Rick Perry on Romney's health care law: It's a "huge problem" for him

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to local Republicans during the Black Hawk County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011, in Waterloo, Iowa.
Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Updated: 2:36 p.m. ET

Republican presidential contender Rick Perry is the latest candidate in the GOP field to take Mitt Romney to task for his record on health care.

Perry, speaking on Laura Ingraham's conservative talk radio show on Thursday, lambasted the former Massachusetts governor for passing a universal health care law in the state that many have likened to the plan President Obama pushed through Congress last year - including the president himself.

Perry told Ingraham the law was a "total debacle" and would be a "huge problem" for Romney.

"I think Mitt is finally recognizing that the Massachusetts healthcare plan he passed is a huge problem for him," Perry said. "It was not almost perfect."

Romney has been widely criticized by Republicans for having pushed through the state's health care law, and many believe it to be a major political liability going into the 2012 election. The former governor, however, stands by it - and has made repeated attempts to differentiate it from Obama's plan.

"Our plan was a state solution to a state problem, and his plan is a power grab by the federal government to put a one-size-fits-all plan across the nation," Romney said in May. ""I know some of my more liberal friends don't find that a compelling difference... But those of us who believe the decision to make America a federalist system was not just a throwaway decision on an important fundamental element of what makes America such a successful nation and that is something of course is lost in ObamaCare."

The Texas governor, who entered the presidential contest just this month but who is already rivaling Romney in the polls for frontrunner status, said on Thursday "the answer to our healthcare problems can be found in our states."

Also on the radio show, Perry took a backhanded swipe at Mr. Obama's decision to vacation on Martha's Vineyard. When asked if he might ever go there himself, Perry responded, "I'm not even sure I know where it is."