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Did TR really back national health insurance as Obama claims? Yes.

Not content to emulate Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, Republican icons for whom President Obama has expressed admiration in the past, Obama has aligned himself with a third GOP hero on the issue of health care.

"The problems we face today are a direct consequence of actions that we failed to take yesterday," Obama said, opening a health care conference in the East Room of the White House on March 5. "Since Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform nearly a century ago, we have talked and we have tinkered. We have tried and fallen short, we've stalled for time, and again we have failed to act because of Washington politics or industry lobbying."

We wondered whether Roosevelt really proposed reform on the scale of the near-universal health care Obama advocates, or if the new president was pushing the whole bipartisan-appeal thing a bit far.

We consulted two well-regarded biographers of Roosevelt, H.W. Brands and Kathleen Dalton. Both confirmed that in 1912, when the former Republican president was running as a Progressive Party candidate for what would have been his third term (after a four-year break), the party advocated national health insurance in its platform .

Read entire article at St. Petersburg Times -- politifact.com