In tonight’s first presidential debate, Governor Romney and President Obama will spend 15 minutes discussing healthcare. This is a perilous topic for both, but whoever wins this debate within the debate will take a big step to winning on November 6th.
The Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare as both candidates now call it, will be center stage. The president will offer his standard defense, saying it helps middle-class families by making insurance more affordable and more secure.
But the president knows a full-throated defense will not work. A majority of Americans have consistently supported repeal since day one.
Rather than defend the indefensible – higher costs, higher taxes, Medicare cuts, government expansion – the president will attack.
First, he will tie together ObamaCare and the reform law Gov. Romney signed in Massachusetts, arguing that they are the same.
Gov. Romney should stipulate that there are some policy similarities between the two, but that the differences are what matter. He can deflect this attack and return the spotlight to the president’s unpopular law by clearly saying:
“I did not raise taxes. You raise taxes by $500 billion.
“I did not cut Medicare. You cut Medicare by more than $700 billion to pay for a new entitlement that the public opposed. Your cuts jeopardize seniors’ access to care.