ABCNews.com uncritically quoted Romney's attack on Clinton health plan

An ABCNews.com article quoted Mitt Romney attacking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's health care policy, but did not note that Romney was attacking a plan that he had not yet seen, nor that as governor of Massachusetts, Romney endorsed a law requiring residents to purchase health insurance.

A September 16 ABCNews.com article quoted Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney attacking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) then-unannounced health care policy at a campaign event in Iowa, saying: “The last thing we need is Hillarycare,” and, “The last thing we need is socialized medicine.” The article did not note, however, that Romney was attacking a plan that he had not yet seen, nor that Romney himself, as governor of Massachusetts, endorsed a law requiring Massachusetts residents to purchase health insurance.

Clinton's health care plan was announced on September 17.

From the ABCNews.com article:

According to a recent ABC News poll, health care is the second most important issue to Democratic voters, after Iraq. And most of the Democratic candidates now sound a lot like the former first lady, in their calls for universal health care.

But Clinton's health care record also makes her uniquely vulnerable to attacks, with her name still synonymous in Republican circles with a government takeover of the health care system.

“The last thing we need is Hillarycare,” said Republican candidate Mitt Romney at a recent campaign stop. “The last thing we need is socialized medicine.”

As a September 16 Associated Press article made clear, however, Romney had attacked Clinton's plan “sight unseen” :

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney panned Hillary Rodham Clinton's health care plan sight unseen Saturday, eager to remind voters she failed at “socialized medicine” once before.

Speaking to more than 160 people at a Republican fundraiser, Romney said he didn't expect anything new from the Democratic presidential candidate and New York senator. Clinton is scheduled to lay out proposals for universal coverage in a speech at a Des Moines hospital on Monday.

“She says what we need to do is have the government take over health care,” Romney asserted. “The last thing we need is 'Hillary care.' The last thing we need is socialized medicine.”

Mark Daley, a Clinton spokesman, brushed off the comments. “Considering Governor Romney's penchant for flip-flopping, he will be the first to endorse it on Monday,” Daley cracked.

Clinton said she has learned about the need for consensus since leading the failed reform effort in 1993 and wants to “figure out how we provide universal health care without putting billions more into the system.”

“She'll have health care run by Washington,” Romney said. “I don't want to have the people who did the Katrina cleanup taking care of my health care.”

On September 17, the AP reported that Clinton's plan would “requir[e] everyone to carry health insurance and offer[] federal subsidies to help reduce the cost of coverage.” The article went on to note that despite Romney's attacks on “the government [being] in charge of health care,” he had signed into law Massachusetts' health care plan, which also requires residents to purchase insurance. From the September 17 AP article:

Republicans have already readied attacks on the Clinton plan. The Republican National Committee sent an e-mail to reporters Monday dubbing it “Hillarycare'' and questioning why she waited months to release a plan.

On Saturday, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney warned it would smack of ” socialized medicine'' and said Americans didn't want the government to be in charge of health care.

But as Massachusetts governor, Romney signed into law a health care plan requiring every state resident to purchase health insurance.