New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Jack Kimball gave former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney some cover on the issue of health care reform last night. Asked about Romney’s efforts at reforming the health care system in Massachusetts during an appearance on CNN’s John King, USA, Kimball told guest-anchor Jessica Yellin, “I think it’s important for everyone to understand that when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, they needed to do something, he came up with an experiment which is what you’re calling Romney care but it really was an innovative experiment.”

Kimball – whose election to run the New Hampshire GOP was viewed as a major power coup for the tea party in the run-up to the 2012 election – also added, “[Romney’s] a very smart man and what he did was he came up with this program geared for the state of Massachusetts. It was never meant to be some model for a national health care program. And Mitt Romney’s made it very clear, and as recently as a few weeks ago to me that he’s in favor of complete repeal of Obamacare, and that each state should be able to come up with their own plan, and to do what’s best for their state.”

He then downplayed the importance of the health care issue in the GOP nomination fight saying, “It shouldn’t be as big an issue as folks are making it.”