From now on, don't expect to see Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) saying anything nice about the health care law Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) signed as governor. Sources in his inner circle responded quickly on Thursday to comments that were seen as a defense of Romney's plan with a message of their own: If Romney wants DeMint's support, he better admit it was a mistake.
Hours after DeMint's comments were printed in The Hill -- and written about on this blog - a a stern warning from a source close to the senator appeared a subsequent story in The Hill: DeMint would not consider backing Romney in the upcoming election unless "he admits that his Massachusetts health care plan was a colossal mistake." DeMint backed Romney in 2008 but has not said who he is supporting in 2012.
The fact that sources close to DeMint were so adamant in their pushback illustrates how sensitive the subject of Romney's Massachusetts health care plan is. If a prominent conservative can't make a matter-of-fact comment that state Democrats played a role in the law without pushback, how much tougher will it be for Romney himself to make the case for his signature accomplishment?