Gillespie Praised “Innovative” Romney Health Plan in 2006 Book

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Ed Gillespie in Richmond, Virginia.

Republican strategist Ed Gillespie had lots of nice things to say about Mitt Romney — including a health-care overhaul in Massachusetts — long before he joined Romney’s presidential campaign as a senior adviser.

“His plan for health care coverage in his state is innovative and stakes him out on a position that will be of great importance in the ’08 campaign,” Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman, said of Romney in a section of a 2006 book, Winning Right, that handicapped the 2008 presidential field. Romney lost the nomination race to Arizona Senator John McCain.

Gillespie wrote those words before President Barack Obama was elected and then signed into law a health-care overhaul that Romney’s Republican rivals say is similar to his Massachusetts plan. Both plans include insurance mandates. Romney has said the plan he backed was a state-specific solution and that he would repeal the Obama health-care law.

Gillespie also praised Romney as a “proven campaigner” after winning election as a Republican in Massachusetts, one of the nation’s most strongly Democratic states.

On former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who didn’t run for president in 2008, his “entrance in the race would have a significant impact on it, as he would throw off ideas that others would be forced to respond to,” Gillespie wrote.

“He has become more disciplined since his days in the House, but possibly not disciplined enough for a presidential campaign.”

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