Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during the CNN/Tea Party… (Scott Audette / Reuters )
Mitt Romney defended the healthcare plan he enacted as governor during Monday's Florida debate while rival Rick Perry defended Massachusetts' right to chart its own course, even if he didn't agree with what the state settled on.
Romney was confronted by CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the "tea party" opposition to an insurance mandate, a hallmark of both the Romney and Obama plans. Asked if he'd back down from it, Romney said no.
"I'm not running for governor. I'm running for president," Romney said. The Obama plan "is a bad law -- it's unconstitutional. I'll get rid of it."
He also advocated steps like health savings account that would give individuals more of a stake in the choices they make.
Perry has criticized health insurance mandates. But as a fierce proponent of the 10th Amendment, Perry was asked whether Massachusetts had the right to choose that course.
"That's what Gov. Romney wanted to do, so that's fine," he said. "The fact of the matter is that was the plan that President Obama has said himself was the model for Obamacare. ... In the state of Texas, we don't think that's the way we want to go."
Romney responded by saying he wouldn't trust what Obama says about what he based his plan on.
"If you think what we did in Massachusetts and what President Obama did are the same, well, take a closer look," Romney said. He said his plan raised taxes and cut Medicare, and focused only on the uninsured. "I'm happy to stand up for what we did."