Romney, who has emerged as the GOP’s candidate to beat during his second presidential bid, was going into his first debate with his critics already telegraphing their eagerness to link the former Massachusetts governor with President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Conservatives loathe the Democrats’ plan that mandates all Americans have health insurance and was modeled on a Massachusetts law Romney signed into law.
“I strongly oppose the individual mandate at any level,” former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said on Sunday, previewing an expected line of criticism toward Romney. “I think it’s a dramatic overreach.”
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