Top Romney Adviser: Individual Mandate A Penalty, Not A Tax

Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, said Monday that he disagrees with the Supreme Court’s characterization of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate as a “tax.” Pointing to the opinion of the four dissenting justices who “very clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax,” Fehrnstrom told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that when the mandate was imposed in Massachusetts under the law signed by Romney, it was a penalty and not a tax.  

 TODD: The governor does not believe the mandate is a tax? That is what you’re saying?

FEHRNSTROM: The governor believes what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty and he disagrees with the Court’s ruling that it was a tax.

TODD: But he agrees with the president that it is not — and he believes that you should not call the tax penalty a tax, you should call it a penalty or a fee or a fine?

FEHRNSTROM: That’s correct. But the president also needs to be held accountable for his contradictory statements. He has described it variously as a penalty and as a tax. He needs to reconcile those two very different statements.

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Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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