But … I thought ObamaCare was a bad thing, something Romney had vowed to repeal upon becoming president. The Mitt Romney I know strenuously insisted that federal “one size fits all” health insurance programs were a terrible idea and that the states should be encouraged to experiment as Massachusetts did. Barack Obama could cite RomneyCare all he wanted, but as far as the man who lent his name to that legislation was concerned, it was never intended to be a model for the galactic boondoggle we know as ObamaCare.

And so, at long last, the mask slips. Aren’t you guys sad that he’s not a candidate, so that we could spend the next two weeks obsessing over this “gaffe” as a possible gamechanger in the campaign?

Romney also credited Mr. Stemberg with persuading him to push for health care reform in Massachusetts when he was governor.

Romney said that shortly after he was elected, Mr. Stemberg asked him why he ran for governor. Romney said he told him that he wanted to help people, and Mr. Stemberg replied that if he really wanted to help, he should give everyone access to health care, which Romney said he hadn’t really considered before.

“Without Tom pushing it, I don’t think we would have had Romneycare,” Romney said. “Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare. So, without Tom a lot of people wouldn’t have health insurance.”

I can understand him crediting his friend Stemberg with RomneyCare, which Romney himself (of necessity) defends to this day. I can’t understand that last rhetorical step he takes, of crediting Stemberg indirectly with bringing a health insurance program that Romney has derided to the entire country. Is this a de facto admission that President Romney wouldn’t have repealed O-Care after all? Or is this the ol’ GOP chestnut that they would have repealed ObamaCare while replacing it with something that would have somehow kept all the good parts and eliminated all the bad? In that case, why not say, “In time, I think the best elements of RomneyCare inspired by Tom will come to be seen as a model for the states that’s far superior to ObamaCare”?

One of the virtues of no longer running for president is that he can say this stuff now without having to finesse it. Imagine what else we’ll be finding out in due time about his true feelings from the new unfiltered Romney. You don’t suppose that this beloved establishmentarian — gasp — actually prefers comprehensive immigration reform to self-deportation, do you?

Here’s a trip down memory lane from OFA. What perfect timing for Romney to drop this right before his running mate faces the GOP caucus in next week’s vote for Speaker. Exit question: Now that Romney’s come clean, can we get Rubio to admit that the Gang of Eight bill really was amnesty?

Update: Meh.

Getting people health insurance is a good thing, and that’s what Tom Stemberg fought for. I oppose Obamacare and believe it has failed. It drove up premiums, took insurance away from people who were promised otherwise, and usurped state programs. As I said in the campaign, I’d repeal it and replace it with state-crafted plans.