On Fox News today, Michele Bachmann made the inevitable link, putting both Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in the same box on the individual mandate.
"Our candidate can't be compromised.
We have candidates that are compromised on the individual health care mandate, which is ObamaCare.
It was Newt Gingrich's idea, and Mitt Romney implemented it."
So there you have it -- Bachmann called Newt the father of the individual mandate and Romney the executor.
In a 1993 Meet the Press interview, Gingrich spoke out in favor of a mandate, and expressed support for variations of it long before it became such a politically charged issue.
“I am for people, individuals -- exactly like automobile insurance -- individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance. And I am prepared to vote for a voucher system which will give individuals, on a sliding scale, a government subsidy so we insure that everyone as individuals have health insurance.”
And as Sam Stein wrote in May.
This mandate was hardly some little-discussed aspect of Gingrich's plan for health care reform. In the mid-2000s, he partnered with then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to promote a centrist solution to fixing the nation's health care system. A July 22, 2005, Hotline article on one of the duo's events described the former speaker as endorsing not just state-based mandates (the linchpin of Romney's Massachusetts law) but "some federal mandates" as well. A New York Sun writeup of what appears to be the same event noted that "both politicians appeared to endorse proposals to require all individuals to have some form of health coverage."