Romney's stance on the health law tax is blasted by Democrats, scrutinized by GOP

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's reversal on whether the mandate is a tax has made him the target of intense Republican and Democratic scrutiny as the Supreme Court ruling on the health law proves a boon for the campaign bankrolls of both Romney and President Obama.

Reuters: Romney Campaign's Missteps Have Some Republicans Grumbling
The anxiety over Romney's campaign has been heightened this week by its conflicting messages over his position on a key part of the Supreme Court's ruling that upheld Obama's health care overhaul. But it was only the latest example of message problems from a campaign that even some Republicans say is being outmaneuvered by Obama's team (Holland, 7/6).

San Francisco Chronicle: Romney Faces Fallout After Fumble On Health 'Tax'
The seemingly simple concept of an individual mandate to buy health insurance has mutated into a complex political controversy that has tied Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in knots and has diverted attention from the Republican presidential candidate's relentless focus on the weak U.S. economy. ... The fumbling response has caused some prominent conservatives to publicly second-guess the quality of Romney's campaign and its ability to deal with adversity (Dunham, 7/7).

Reuters: Obama Chides Romney For Flip-Flopping On Health Care
President Barack Obama accused Republican rival Mitt Romney of kowtowing to conservatives when he changed his position on what to call the health care reform provision that requires people to buy insurance. Obama said Romney had defended the "individual mandate" as a penalty when he backed it as part of health care reform in Massachusetts as governor, but changed his tune on the national health care law after criticism from fellow Republicans (Mason, 7/6).

The Associated Press: Obama, Romney Use Ruling To Rally Core Backers
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both are using the Supreme Court decision upholding the federal health care insurance requirement, loved by liberals and hated by conservatives, to rally core supporters in the most competitive states in the presidential race. Yet while each side may be benefiting from groundswells of volunteers and money, the ruling seems unlikely to sway the legions of undecided voters who are focused heavily on the economy -- not on the health care debate that has raged in this country for years (Beaumont, 7/6).

NewsHour: Romney Rakes In Campaign Cash As Health Care Battle Rages On
Mitt Romney, the $100 million dollar man. The presumptive GOP presidential nominee and the Republican National Committee are expected to announce Friday a combined June haul of $100 million, nearly $5 million of that coming in the 24 hours following the Supreme Court's ruling on health care. RNC political director Rick Wiley taunted President Obama's top political aide Thursday with the news: .@Messina2012, check this out bro, we raised north of $100 million in June. I'm assuming u & Axe will need beers 2night bro. David Axelrod offered his congratulations and maintained that the Obama campaign always thought it would be outspent by the Republicans (Bellantoni, 7/6).

Los Angeles Times: Health Care Ruling Triggered Millions In Campaign Donations
The long-term political consequences of last week's Supreme Court ruling on the health care law remains unclear. But early indications show that as a fundraising tool, the 5-4 decision is a boon for both parties. ... After 24 hours, more than 47,000 donors had contributed a total of $4.6 million (to Mitt Romney). The Obama campaign, which also hit up supporters for post-decision donations, declined to specify how much it raised, though a spokesman said it was more than what the Romney campaign said its effort drew (Memoli, 7/6).

The New York Times: Delicate Pivot As Republicans Blast Rivals On Medicare Cuts
"Obamacare cuts Medicare -- cuts Medicare -- by approximately $500 billion," Mr. Romney has told audiences. That is a reprise of Republicans' mantra of the 2010 midterm elections, which gave them big gains at both the state and federal levels and a majority in the House. Yet the message conflicts not only with their past complaint that Democrats opposed reining in Medicare spending, but also with the fact that House Republicans have voted twice since 2010 for the same 10-year, $500 billion savings in supporting Mr. Ryan's annual budgets (Calmes, 7/6).

The ruling also has other polticians getting in on the act --

Politico: Health Care Ruling Could Tip Races
Former Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei lost in 2010 after facing heat over his health care vote and he'd like to just move on as he tries to regain his seat in 2012. GOP Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle beat Maffei by running on an anti "Obamacare" platform and she's more than happy to keep talking about the Supreme Court ruling from last week. ... It's a theme that's sure to play out in swing districts across the country. Democrats will argue that the Supreme Court has spoken on the health care law, and try (to) turn the conversation toward improving the economy. Republicans will say the law -; even though parts of it are popular -; tramples on individual freedoms and is a burdensome regulatory juggernaut (Nocera, 7/7).

National Journal: Durbin: Romney Is Obamacare's Daddy
At least one Senator on Sunday made it clear that health care reform will still be used as a cudgel to beat Mitt Romney, even as his campaign attempts to brush the candidate's connection to Obamacare aside following the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law. "Mitt Romney is the Obamacare daddy. He gave birth to this baby up in Massachusetts and now he doesn't recognize it, he can't pick out any strains in the hereditary chain there that look like anything that he did in Massachusetts," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on CBS's Face the Nation (Jaffe, 7/8).

Politico: Health Care Remarks Haunt Tommy Thompson
Those 2009 comments have come back to bite Thompson in his Wisconsin Republican Senate primary in which his conservative opponents are trying to make him the first real political victim of the landmark Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act. The Wisconsin attacks will test the continued potency of the issue among GOP base voters and may offer a measure of whether the tea party still has the power in Republican primaries to purge more moderate candidates in swing states (Raju, 7/8).

National Journal: McConnell Tries Out 'Mandate Tax' And 'Penalty Tax'
Republicans have tied themselves up in rhetorical knots since the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate at the heart of President Obama's health care law. GOP lawmakers said the mandate to buy insurance was a new tax. The Romney campaign said it wasn't a tax, and then reversed itself. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell worked to square the circle. The requirement that uninsured Americans buy insurance, he told CNN's State of the Union, was a "mandate tax" and a "penalty tax" (Dreazen, 7/8).

Finally, in a new ad, Obama is attacking Romney's abortion stance as well.

Fox News: Obama Attacks Romney On Abortion Stance, Campaign Calls New Ad False
The 30-second spot titled "Troubled" is airing in Virginia and seven other swing states. "Every woman who believes decisions about our bodies and our health care should be our own is troubled Mitt Romney supports overturning Roe v. Wade," says a female voice at the beginning of the ad (7/7).

Politico: Polling Memo: Planned Parenthood's Anti-Romney Ads Leave A Mark
Women are far more likely to support President Obama and voice doubts about Mitt Romney after being exposed to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund's recent anti-Romney ad campaign, according to a survey commissioned by the women's health and abortion rights group. The poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates and shared with POLITICO, tested female voters in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Des Moines, Iowa, to gauge the impact of the PPAF ads. The group announced at the end of May that it was spending over $1 million on an initial wave of commercials hitting Romney in Florida, Iowa and Virginia (Burns, 7/9).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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