Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Mitt's Minced Words

Here we go again: Mitt on health-care law and whether it's a penalty, as his campaign said, or whether it's a tax, as he says now.

Mitt's Minced Words

And so on the 4th of July, a day on which America celebrates its independence from taxation without representation, Mitt Romney chose to celebrate his own independence from his campaign's representation.

Yep, just two days after Romney's chief campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney's position and belief is that the health-care law mandate to purchase insurance is a "penalty" and not a tax, Romney himself said the mandate is "a tax" and not a penalty.

Here's a full report from Thursday's The New York Times.

There are those who might suggest this was done out of political convenience.

It does, after all, realign Mitt with Republican Party conservative leaders who, since the Supreme Court uphelp the law, have been calling the mandate a tax.

On the other hand, it separates Mitt from his own former position on his Massachusetts health-care law, which also has a mandate that he said was not a tax.

Some will see this as a version of Democratic Sen. John Kerry's famous line regarding his vote against $87 billion for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."

No doubt there'll soon by TV ads mocking Romney with something like, "I actually did say a health-care mandate is not a tax before I said it is a tax."

Such political gymastics clearly are not about party. Maybe it's more a Massachusetts wealthy pol thing.

Whatever iit is, it's bound to stir the pot some more and add to Romney's perceived persona as a pol who'll say anything (not that that much separates him from the pack) to win or keep public office.

And all the rest of us can do is, well, grrrrrr.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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