Former Massachusetts Gov., and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney pauses while speaking at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Friday, March 15, 2013.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Mitt Romney: Obamacare ‘rotting’ president’s second term

Updated

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press that President Obama’s “dishonesty” about the Affordable Care Act is “rotting” away his second term in office.

“Whether you like the model of Obamacare or not, the fact that the president has sold it on a basis that was not true has undermined the foundation of his second term,” Romney told host David Gregory. “I think it’s rotting it away. We’ve got to have a president that can lead, and right now he’s not able to do so.”

Romney said the president was “trying to get away from… the truth” about millions of Americans receiving cancellation notices from their insurance companies –a different outcome than the one President Obama promised and a point conservatives have repeatedly used to expand their attack on the law’s rollout.

The former Massachusetts governor, who’s health care model later became the blueprint for Obamacare, said it should be up to the states to adopt health care reform, instead of mandating a “one-size-fits-all” nation-wide system. “I think the president failed to learn the lessons that came from the experience of Massachusetts,” he said.

“Perhaps the most important lesson the president, I think, failed to learn was, you have to tell the American people the truth,” said the former presidential candidate. “And when he told the American people that you could keep your health insurance if you wanted to keep that plan, period, he said that time and again, he wasn’t telling the truth. And I think that fundamental dishonesty has really put in peril the whole foundation of his second term.”

Criticizing the president for lying to the American people, Romney said the Affordable Care Act would not have passed if Obama had not initially pledged that people who were happy with their insurance plans could maintain the same plans under Obamacare. 

“Obamacare barely made it through Washington, as you know,” he said. “There is no question in my mind but had the president been truthful and told the American people that millions would lose their insurance and millions more would see their premiums skyrocket, had he told them that at the time it was going through Washington, there would have been such a huge cry against it, it would not have passed.”

To rebuild credibility, Romney said Obama must work together with both Republicans and Democrats to rebuild the foundation of the health care law. 

After avoiding non-Fox News talk shows on the campaign trail, Romney made his first campaign appearance on “Meet the Press,” a month before Election Day. In his appearance, Romney seemed to soften his “Repeal and Replace [Obamacare]” stance by telling David Gregory that he did not want to get rid of the most popular provisions of the health care law. 

Well, I’m not getting rid of all of health-care reform,” Romney said in the interview that aired Sept. 9, 2012. “Of course there are a number of things that I like in health-care reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with preexisting conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like.”

Affordable Care Act, Mitt Romney and Obamacare

Mitt Romney: Obamacare 'rotting' president's second term

Updated