Mitt Romney. (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)
By Jackie Kucinich, USA TODAY
Conservatives were up in arms on Wednesday after an attempt by Mitt Romney's spokeswoman to defend the candidate against a negative ad seemed to turn into a tacit endorsement of the Affordable Care Act.
The comments came as Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul responded to a recent controversial ad by Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama super PAC, that linked Romney to a woman's death.
The ad contends that the woman died of cancer because her husband lost health insurance when he was laid off by a Bain-owned steel company. The Romney campaign has called the ad "dishonest and discredited."
Saul's response enraged the right.
"To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Gov. Romney's health care plan, they would have had health care," Saul said in an interview with Fox News. "There are a lot of people losing their jobs and losing their health care in President Obama's economy."
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called the comment "a potential gold mine for Obama supporters," according to Talking Points Memo.
"They can say, 'Romneycare was the basis for our health care,'" Limbaugh said.
The remarks prompted RedState.com editor Erick Erickson to write a post titled "The Moment All the Doubts About Romney Resurfaced on the Right."
"Conservatives have put aside their distrust of Romney on this issue in the name of beating Barack Obama," he wrote. "They thought he and his campaign team had gotten the message and the hints. Consider the scab picked, the wound opened, and the distrust trickling out again."
Saul did not comment for this report.
The similarity of the Massachusetts health care law Romney passed as governor of the state and the Affordable Care Act was a main line of attack from his opponents during the Republican primary and remains a concern among some conservatives.
Romney has placed the repeal of President Obama's health care law as one of his first priorities if he is elected president.