President Obama’s health care law has always been a tough issue for his presumptive Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, because Romney signed a similar plan into law when he was governor of Massachusetts.
Now, Romney’s campaign finds itself in a skirmish over the issue with some fellow Republicans.
Romney’s attempt to distance himself from Mr. Obama’s law got tougher Monday when senior campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom veered off-message, saying the mandate in Romney’s own health care plan was a penalty, not a tax – essentially siding with the president.
“The governor believes that what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty, and he disagrees with the (Supreme) court’s ruling that the mandate was a tax,” Fehrnstrom said on MSNBC.
Since the court’s decision Thursday, practically every GOP leader has used the decision as proof the president’s signature legislation is a massive tax hike on Americans.
On the CBS News broadcast “Face the Nation” Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner insisted, “It’s now a tax, since the court says it’s a tax.”
Rep. Paul Ryan (R – Wis.) said on “ABC This Week” Sunday, “Believe me, if this was brought to the public as a tax, there’s no way this law would have passed into law in the first place.”
It’s a tricky spot for Romney.
From day one, he’s campaigned on a vow to scrap Mr. Obama’s health care law, but as Massachusetts governor, he signed the first individual mandate at the state level.