McConnell says Romney has led an extraordinary life; defends likely nominee on health care

04/09/2012 08:37 PM

Mitt Romney’s business success and “extraordinary life” make him a strong Republican presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said on Monday’s edition of Pure Politics.

“I don’t think there’s much question that he’s going to be the nominee,” McConnell said of the former Massachusetts governor (5:00). “It’s pretty obvious, and we’re just in the process now of beginning to unify the party and get behind our nominee.”

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator said he wouldn’t speculate as to whether the GOP primary would effectively be over by the time Kentucky Republicans vote in the May 22 primary. And he declined to say whether Romney’s chief rival at this point, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, should get out of the race if he loses Pennsylvania on April 24.

McConnell called Romney an “outstanding individual” and lists his reasons at 5:15 of the interview. “This is a man who has led an extraordinary life,” McConnell added.

McConnell said the Massachusetts health care bill Romney signed into law in 2006 while serving as Massachusetts governor shouldn’t be equated to the Affordable Care Act — nicknamed Obamacare — even though they both include mandates for individuals to carry health coverage. That’s because the states have the right to pass such powers but the federal government doesn’t, McConnell said.

“It’s a totally different thing,” he said. (4:00)

On the Affordable Care Act, McConnell said what he thinks Congress should have done to address health care instead of passing legislation that cuts part of Medicare and expands Medicaid.

“We should have taken a scalpel to it — things like having health insurance sold across state lines, things like medical malpractice insurance. In other words, don’t start with a notion that it’s a good idea to take over a 16th of our economy and a healthcare system that’s already the finest in the world,” he said (1:00 of the interview). “If we had the opportunity to repeal it, we’d consult with all the folks involved and try to go at it in a much more measured and targeted way.”

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