ROMNEY: I happen to like what we did. I think it's a good model for other states. Maybe not every state, but most. And so what I'd do at the federal level is give to every state the same kind of flexibility we got from the federal government, as well as some carrots and sticks to actually get all their citizens insured. And I think a lot of states will choose what we did. I wouldn't tell them they have to do our plan. Governor Schwarzenegger, for instance, in California, has his own healthcare plan. He's going about it in a different way. I like mine better than his; he likes his better than mine.
RUSSERT: So if a state chose a mandate, it wouldn't bother you?
ROMNEY: I think it's a terrific idea. I think you're going to find, when it's all said and done, after all these states that are laboratories of democracy get their chance to try their own plans, that those who follow the path that we pursued will find it's the best path, and we'll end up with a nation that's taken a mandate approach.
Obviously, Romney was careful to cover his butt by saying that states should be allowed to take a different approach, but in his own words, he not only thought the individual mandate model would be best for most states, he also thought that we'd end up with an nation that's taken the mandate approach.
And you know what, he was right. With the health care reform bill signed into law by President Obama, that's exactly what we've done. And just like Romney said he wanted, the law sets up a waiver process that allows states to pursue different approaches if they can come up with a better model. President Obama favors allowing the waiver process to begin in 2014 instead of 2017, but Republicans are so fixated on repeal that they won't consider anything to make the law even better.
Whether the waiver process becomes available in 2014 or 2017, the basic contours of the health care reform bill reflect what Mitt Romney had said he wanted to see happen. But now that it's become unpopular within the Republican Party, Mitt Romney has changed his mind and says the whole thing ought to be repealed. And the obvious lesson from that is that you can't believe a single thing Mitt Romney says.