By Rob Roper
Lebanon, N.H. – GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney met privately with a group of Vermonters before participating in a town hall meeting at the Lebanon (New Hampshire) Senior Center.
The meat of the brief meeting focused on healthcare reform and what lessons or advice the former Governor of Massachusetts could offer Vermont as we take the first steps toward a single payer system based on his own experience with reform in his own state. Romney’s message was short and to the point: “Don’t do it.” The candidate also expressed some sympathy for Vermont in that the ultimate failure of the policy would serve as a necessary lesson for the rest of the country. “I’m just sorry that it has to be you.”
During the main event, Romney elaborated on his thinking in response to a question regarding Vermont and states’ rights as it relates to healthcare and same-sex marriage.
“I love the Tenth Amendment,” said Romney, “and I love the right of states to conclude what kind of activities will be treated which way in their own states. And, as you know, that’s one of the reasons why you’re seeing Vermont pursue a single payer system. By the way, I think it won’t work, I think it will be massively expensive, and I think they’ll ration care. But, we’ll see.
“That’s the great thing about states, we’ll see how it works. They’ll try different things and we’ll see how it works out, and we’ll learn from the experiment. Justice [Louis] Brandeis of the Supreme Court said ‘states are the laboratories of democracy.’ Well,” Romeny added, “we’ll have a laboratory in Vermont that will be fun to watch.”
As for same-sex marriage, Governor Romney said that as president he would work to preserve the Defense of Marriage Act, citing the need for a national standard for marriage that is uniform across all fifty states.
“The challenge with marriage is that people move,” said Romney. “Marriage is a status that follows you from place to place when you move…. For instance a couple might be married in Massachusetts as a same sex couple and then move to a state that doesn’t have same sex marriage like Ohio. They might have a child or two. What’s the right of that child in Ohio relative to their parents? Are their parents married? Can they get a divorce in Ohio?”
“Because marriage is a status that carries with you from place to place,” Romney concluded, “I believe a national model. And, in my own view, I would protect the Defense of Marriage Act. I believe that the best setting for raising a child is with a mom and a dad, and so I’m in favor of a single, national standard for marriage in which marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman. That’s my view.”
The Vermonters who came to support Mitt Romney are hopeful that the candidate will make an appearance across the river in the Green Mountain State at some point during the primary season, but Romney was not able to make any promises at this time.
George W. Bush came to Vermont as a candidate in 1999, keynoting a VTGOP event at Sugarbush Resort. (He’s never come back). John McCain held a rally in Burlington during his 2008 run for the presidency as well.
Look for a more comprehensive overview of Romney’s Lebanon event in next Wednesday’s edition of True North Reports.