Talk On The Trail: Romney Praises His Own Mass. Health Reforms, Denounces The 2010 Health Law

In what The Washington Post describes as "political flexibility," GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney touted the state health law he signed while Massachusetts' governor as proof of compassion and empathy, while also sharply criticizing the federal health law, which is viewed as President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement.

Los Angeles Times: Romney Cites His Healthcare Law As Proof Of His Compassion
Mitt Romney, while campaigning in Ohio on Wednesday, highlighted the healthcare law that he passed while governor of Massachusetts as proof of his empathy for people. … The healthcare law is controversial among conservatives because it included a mandate that nearly every state resident purchase the insurance or be fined; it served as the model of the federal healthcare law that is Obama's signature act as president, and that is an anathema to many Republicans (Mehta, 9/26).

Politico: Romney Hits 'Obamacare' In Ohio
Facing falling poll numbers in Ohio, Mitt Romney reconfigured his stump speech here, ratcheting up his attack on President Barack Obama's health care law and returning to his once-abandoned talking points about the Founding Fathers and the debt clock. ... Instead of simply vowing to repeal the health care overhaul, Romney spoke more about the danger it poses to American freedoms (Gibson, 9/26).

The Boston Globe: Mitt Romney Praises Mass. Health Law, Denounces Obamacare
Mitt Romney cited his record on Wednesday in shepherding through the Massachusetts health care law as a sign of his empathy for all people, talking far more openly than usual about a law that has caused him so much strife with conservative Republicans. Romney cited his health care plan as a sign of his empathy a week after a video emerged showing Romney dismissing nearly half of the electorate, telling donors at a May fund-raiser that 47 percent of voters considered themselves victims and were too dependent on government to consider voting for him (Viser, 9/27).

The Washington Post: Romney Shows Political Flexibility On Health Care
Over the course of a half hour on Wednesday evening, Mitt Romney put on a vivid display of his political flexibility on the lightning-rod issue of health care. As his surrogates were warming up a crowd of 3,600 at the SeaGate Convention Centre in downtown Toledo, Romney sat backstage for an interview with NBC News, during which he fully embraced the health care overhaul he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts. … Then, just minutes later, Romney stepped out to rally his supporters here with a sharp critique of Obama's national health-care overhaul, calling the federal law "Exhibit No. 1" of Obama's liberal view of government, even though it is very similar to Romney's own Massachusetts law (Rucker, 9/26).

CNN: Health Reform Law An Example Of Compassion, Romney Says
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney pointed Wednesday to the Massachusetts health reform law he signed – and particularly its coverage of children – when asked about his compassion for middle class people. Romney raised the law in an interview with NBC News. Conservatives have criticized Romney for supporting the law, which is similar to the health reform law signed by President Barack Obama. Romney has said his law was constitutional and appropriate in Massachusetts, but was not meant to be implemented nationally (Wallace, 9/26).

Bloomberg: Romney Touts His State's Health Law While Bashing Obama Overhaul
Republican Mitt Romney cited a Massachusetts health-care law he backed as showing his "empathy," then later reiterated his pledge to repeal national legislation modeled after the state's measure as he and President Barack Obama crisscrossed Ohio yesterday. Republican Mitt Romney cited a Massachusetts health-care law he backed as showing his "empathy," then later reiterated his pledge to repeal national legislation modeled after the state's measure as he and President Barack Obama crisscrossed Ohio yesterday (McCormick and Nichols, 9/27).

The New York Times: Romney Ad Reaches Out To Working Class
Mitt Romney stepped up his efforts to repair the damage from his "47 percent" comments, releasing a new television ad on Wednesday. ... In an NBC News interview on Wednesday, Mr. Romney, explaining why he could relate to middle-class voters, talked about the health care law he championed as governor of Massachusetts but rarely mentions on the campaign trail. "Don't forget — I got everybody in my state insured," he said. "One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record" (Parker, 9/26).

National Journal: Romney's New Message: I Care
Although the message may not have been written on a cue card, the Romney campaign took a page out of the 1992 playbook of George H.W. Bush on Wednesday, launching a new charm offensive meant to appeal directly to those who were turned off by his comments at a private fundraiser about "the 47 percent."  The message: I care. Faced with his own image problems in 1992, the first President Bush made a now-infamous gaffe on the campaign trail when he mistakenly read out loud the stage directions on cue cards given to him (Huisenga, 9/27).

Politico Pro: Romney, Obama Duel Over Health Care In NEJM
President Barack Obama's health care law fails to control costs that will bankrupt the country and his $700 billion in cuts to Medicare are not viable, Mitt Romney writes in a New England Journal of Medicine essay published Wednesday. In a dueling essay, Obama reiterates his call for "additional steps" to fix the nation’s health care system in a second term, including a "permanent fix to Medicare's flawed payment formula that threatens physicians’ reimbursement." He blasts Romney for having "a radically different vision for the future of our health care system — even if it means running from his past as the architect of health reform in Massachusetts." The essays are a chance for each man to make his case without the constraints of a 30-second TV spot (Norman and Cheney, 9/26).

Medpage Today: Obama Vs. Romney On Health Care In NEJM
Less than a week after they co-starred on TV's "60 Minutes," President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney delivered another "showdown" with dueling commentaries on the Affordable Care Act, published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. The statements came in response to a request from NEJM editors asking the candidates to "describe their healthcare platforms and their visions for the future of American healthcare." Not surprisingly, the statements were long on sound bites and light on details (Peck, 9/26).

In other campaign news -

Politico: Todd Akin Still Had Shot In Senate Race
Senior Republicans and leading pundits quickly declared Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments a mortal blow to his Senate candidacy, writing off the conservative congressman’s campaign in one of the country's most important races. But a month after his comments set the political world on fire, there's a different feeling on the ground here among operatives, voters, activists and officials in both parties: Akin can still win. ... The fact that Akin is still a contender has unnerved Democrats here and put Republican leaders in Washington in an increasingly awkward position after they slammed the congressman and vowed not to spend a dime in the state if Akin refused to drop out — a decision that some Republicans fear could cost their party the majority (Raju, 9/26).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.