Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Politics

Pam Bondi, Georgia AG attack Obamacare with awkward 1-2 punch

TAMPA — Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and her Georgia counterpart, Sam Olens, took President Barack Obama to task for his health care law during an awkward dual speech at the Republican National Convention.

Bondi and Olens stood side-by-side Wednesday night, sharing a microphone and trading lines like newscasters.

For seven minutes, the pair criticized Obama and the health care law, which they sought to overturn in court.

"He talks about giving us more control over health care decisions, but instead grants that power to government bureaucrats," said Bondi. "He claims that government is responsible for private sector success, but the only thing he is building is bigger government."

Florida was the first state to challenge the health care law's "individual mandate," with Georgia and 24 other states following suit. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the law, although it did rule that states cannot be forced to expand Medicaid.

Bondi became a face of the legal challenge, and as a result, a top surrogate for Mitt Romney, who has promised to repeal the president's signature policy achievement.

As the two spoke, some members of the Florida delegation snapped pictures of Bondi from the convention floor. Others held up signs that said, "Florida Loves Pam Bondi."

The speech, while focused, was clumsy and choppy.

At times, Bondi and Olens had trouble sharing the microphone.

Later, Bondi and Olens went back and forth asking questions to the audience that were to be answered with a resounding "No."

"Do you want a job-destroying insurance mandate that strangles businesses?" Bondi said.

"Do you want a federal government that tells you what to do, what to think, or what to buy when it comes to your health care?" Olens said.

Bondi: "Do you want the federal government to steal hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare to hide the true costs of Obamacare?"

Olens: "Do you want more of this for four more years?"

Bondi, however, stepped on the audience response at least twice, starting the next question before they could answer.

Some said they wished Bondi spoke alone. "I think she did extremely well, but I'd rather see her do it solo," said Pasco County GOP activist and Florida delegate Bill Bunting.

Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.

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