Dems schedule events to ‘thank’ Mitt Romney for his Massachusetts health care plan

Holly Bailey

Five years ago tomorrow, Mitt Romney signed into law a health care reform package in Massachusetts that White House officials have credited as being an inspiration for President Obama's health care law. It's a date that Romney, who has distanced himself from the bill, is not likely to commemorate, but Democrats are celebrating for him.

In Massachusetts, the state Democratic Party is holding a party Tuesday to mark the occasion, which will feature a "Thank You Mitt Romney" cake. Meanwhile, in neighboring New Hampshire, Democratic officials are urging supporters to sign e-mail petitions and post messages to Romney on Twitter to "thank him" for his leadership on health care.

The efforts, which have been promoted by the Democratic National Committee, are aimed at linking Romney to his health care plan ahead of his expected 2012 White House run. Already, Romney's likely GOP rivals, including former Sen. Rick Santorum, have sought to make health care a major issue in the 2012 primary, in hopes that GOP voters who revile Obama's legislation will turn against Romney.

So far, Romney has studiously avoided talking about his health care plan, unless he's asked about it--though a spokesman said last month that the ex-governor is "proud" of the bill. Last week, Romney offered up a new line of defense to the White House's efforts to tie his bill to Obama's, telling GOP activists in Nevada that the president should have consulted with him.

Today, Eric Fehrnstrom, a top adviser to Romney, pushed back against tomorrow's Democratic events, telling CNN that he's "not surprised Democrats are sitting around eating cake while 14 million unemployed Americans are struggling to put food on their table."

(Photo of Romney: Julie Jacobson/AP)