A late afternoon forum in South Carolina followed appearances by Mitt Romney in New Hampshire earlier in the day and over the weekend.
USA Today: Michele Bachmann Takes A Jab At Mitt Romney
Without mentioning names, she said that not only was the federal mandate requiring Americans to obtain health care coverage unconstitutional. She said that it was "inherent in the Constitution" that any state mandate also would be unconstitutional. ... Romney hadn't been scheduled to attend the American Principles Project Palmetto Freedom Forum, organized by South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. But he signed up last week after Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumped in the race (Page, 9/5).
CNN: GOP Candidates Compete At South Carolina Forum
Speaking directly to DeMint, a top supporter from his 2008 presidential bid who is still neutral in the 2012 race, Romney said the Massachusetts law would be one of his "biggest assets" in a general election fight against President Barack Obama. "I'll say to him, why didn't you give me a call? I would have told you what to do right and what not to do," Romney said, defending the rights of states to make policy instead of the federal government (Hamby, 9/5).
The New York Times: Romney Plays Down G.O.P.-Tea Party Strife
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, tried to bridge the gap between himself and the Tea Party on Monday morning, telling a gathering of supporters that the differences between the Tea Party and traditional Republicans were not as wide as many people seem to believe. ... Mr. Romney’s critics in the Tea Party say that his record as governor of Massachusetts – notably his passage of a universal health care law that has been likened to the federal legislation passed by President Obama – does not jibe with Tea Party principles. Mr. Romney did not address that criticism directly on Sunday (Eligon, 9/5).
The Associated Press: Tea Party Forcefully Shaping 2012 GOP Race
The former Massachusetts governor is starting to court them more aggressively as polls suggest he's being hurt by weak support within the movement ... Some tea party groups plan to protest Romney's appearances. They are irked that as governor, he signed a bill that enacted a health program mandating insurance coverage. It served as a precursor to Obama's federal measure that the tea party despises (Blood and Peoples, 9/4).
CBS News: Mitt Romney Welcomed By The Tea Party Express
In the capital of the state that will hold the nation's first presidential primary next year, about 250 people gathered at Rollins Park to see Romney make his first appearance at a tea party event since announcing his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. ... One young man took the microphone and denounced the health care plan that Romney signed when he was governor of Massachusetts. ... "Does Romneycare violate individual responsibility?" the speaker said. ... "Does Romneycare expand government, yes it does. So the Tea Party stands in direct opposition to Mitt Romney's record" (Boxer, 9/5).