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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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Steve Brown

Chicago, IL

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Romney’s Iowa Book Tour Swing

March 29, 2010 - 6:48 PM | by: Steve Brown

If you’re promoting a new book and maybe interested in running for President…a swing through Iowa (home of the first in the nation White House contest) might be a good idea.

That’s what Mitt Romney did today in Des Moines. The former Massachusetts Governor’s book “No Apology” is now in its third week on the New York Times best seller list. One of Romney’s central themes in the book is the federal government as a hurdle to the American way.

“Washington is smothering that spirit of innovativeness and pioneering and technology,” Romney told a gathering of about 300 at the Des Moines Public Library. He continued, “They’re weakening America’s capacity to be America.”

Of late…when not talking about his book Romney has been talking about health care. Romney called new health care reform bill signed into law by President Obama “an unconscionable abuse of power”.

Today, Romney went further…casting doubt on whether the federal government could handle its new health care responsibilities, “If you like how they managed Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and the Post Office…uh and the railroads…Amtrak…well then you’ll like how they manage health care.”

One of the things Republican critics of the health care law focus on is the new requirement that people must buy medical insurance. Recently in New Hampshire, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty slammed the mandate saying, “We have the United States federal government telling citizens they must buy a good or a service for no other reason than they’re alive and if you don’t you’re going to be fined.”

This is where Romney has a potential problem. Health care reform cobbled together in Massachusetts while Romney was Governor had a similar individual mandate to buy coverage…or pay a penalty. In fact when Romney signed the legislation into law in 2006…standing behind him was Sen. Edward Kennedy…a champion of the federal bill (although he died before it became law).

Now…Romney and his supporters contend there are differences between health care reform Massachusetts-style and the federal version. How’s that going to play in Iowa?

“When he goes into people’s kitchens and stands on people’s porches…he’s going to have to explain the difference,” says Ed Failor, president of the Iowans for Tax Relief (the largest PAC in Iowa and decidedly conservative in nature). Failor says that will be a difficult sales pitch.

Romney does have assets as a potential presidental candidate. He has wealth…and has spent it on his campaigns before. He has knowledge of the inner workings of business…at a time when voters demand the government do things to help businesses grow. And he’s experienced…he’s run the race before.

Those are all good things.

But for awhile…Romney may have to explain health care bills and mandates…and the differences to voters with seemingly little patience these days…in Iowa and elsewhere.