So how does Newt Gingrich square this circle? If you’ve been following the Ron Paul newsletter controversy, this is going to sound dreadfully familiar:
R.C. Hammond, a spokesman for Mr. Gingrich, said the April 2006 essay shouldn’t be read as an endorsement of Mr. Romney’s health plan. He noted that it raised several questions about the Massachusetts effort, including whether the plan would work in the state. “Being critical…isn’t endorsing it,” he said.
Mr. Hammond said the Newt Notes essay wasn’t written by Mr. Gingrich himself. The Journal was able to view a copy using a web search engine that archives old and even deleted versions of Web pages.
Well, let’s be fair. Newt published that newsletter, and it’s almost certain that he profited from it. That makes him responsible for what got published under his byline, does it not? In fact, let’s recall that Gingrich attacked Paul last week for claiming not to know what Paul himself had published and sold (at a significant level of revenue). Gingrich was right in that criticism, but it applies here as well. For the last several months, Gingrich has attacked Romney for this plan, but now we’re supposed to ignore the fact that Gingrich’s newsletter offered significant, if somewhat qualified, praise for RomneyCare?
Nor was that the only entry in the newsletter series:
A follow-up August 2006 newsletter from the center called Mr. Romney’s plan “the most interesting effort to solve the uninsured problem in America today.” It praised “a Republican governor working with a Democratic state legislature to find a bipartisan reform that is based on market-oriented principles.”
The 2006 essays aren’t signed, but the Center for Health Transformation’s inaugural newsletter said the updates would be “periodically sent to members of the [center] from Newt, providing an insider’s view of key events and opportunities for transformation.” A sign-up page for Newt Notes now appears on the candidate’s campaign website.
These days, Gingrich attacks the plan for not hewing to free-market principles, a position with which I agree. Perhaps Gingrich believes this honestly now, too, but it seems that his view on RomneyCare has at best evolved since 2006.
That's what he would use as a response, just as he has the support he had in the 1990s for an individual mandate. It certainly is better than Romney being unapologetic for Romneycare. But in a debate against Obama, I fear it might be cancel out the issue.
Here's the entire response to Romneycare on the newsletter.