POLITICS

Morning Examiner: Obamacare is a tax

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

On Tuesday, we predicted that Mitt Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom’s claims that Obamacare’s individual mandate was not a tax were “unsustainable.” Yesterday, Mitt Romney agreed. In an interview with CBS’ Jan Crawford, Romney said:

The Supreme Court has spoken, and while I agreed with the dissent, that’s taken over by the fact that the majority of the court said it’s a tax, and therefore it is a tax. They have spoken. There’s no way around that. … You can try and say you wish [the court] had decided a different way, but they didn’t. They concluded it was a tax; that’s what it is. And the American people know that President Obama has broken the pledge he made. He said he wouldn’t raise taxes on middle-income Americans, and not only did he raise the $500 billion that was already in the bill, it’s now clear that his mandate, as described by the Supreme Court, is a tax.

Good for Romney. This is the right position to take, and it speaks well of his judgment that he adopted this position so quickly.

Later in the day, before his interview with CBS’ broke, a Romney supporter shook Romney’s hand on a campaign rope line and said of Obamacare, “It’s still a tax.” To which Romney replied, “It is. I agree. Good to see you again.”

This is exactly why Romney had to call Obamacare tax. It is how his base wants to attack Obamacare going forward. Among other things, it will not only allow Republicans to attack President Obama for breaking his pledge to raise taxes on the middle class, but it will also make full repeal easier in the Senate (only 51 votes are needed to repeal a tax under the reconciliation rules of the Senate).

Campaign 2012
Romney: The Associated Press is reporting that Ann Romney still controls a Bermuda company that Mitt Romney has not been required to report in ethics filings. The Romneys did report ownership of the company in IRS filings as required by law.

Obama: Obama begins two-day bus tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio today. He has four scheduled public appearances, each one in a county he carried in 2008.

Super PACs: National Review‘s Jim Geraghty reports that, through July 3rd, pro-Obama outside groups have outspent Pro-Romney groups $148.7 million to $105.2 million.

Around the Bigs
The Wall Street Journal, Complaints in Congress Helped Prompt VIP Loans: A controversial program at Countrywide Financial Corp., offering loans to “VIPs” on favorable terms, spread to Congress in part because congressional staffers complained about their Countrywide mortgages to the company’s lobbyist, according to a new report by a House committee.

The Wall Street Journal, Cities Consider Seizing Mortgages: Local officials in California who say the housing bust is a public blight on their cities may invoke their eminent-domain powers to restructure mortgages as a way to help some borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth.

The Washington Post, Mexico’s presidential election tainted by claims of vote buying: An amateur video broadcast Wednesday on Mexican television networks shows activists loyal to newly elected president Pena Nieto handing out prepaid gift cards from the grocery chain Soriana to voters.

The New York Times, Fraud Case Shows Holes in Exchange of Fuel Credits: A Maryland man convicted of selling $9 million worth of fuel credits has exposed a major flaw in the Environmental Protection Agencies biofuel credit program.

USA Today, Defense cuts starting to pinch economy: The Bureau of Economic Analysis, which measures defense-related spending more broadly, said last week that weaker defense spending shaved half a percentage point off first-quarter growth. Instead of growing 2.4 percent, the economy grew 1.9 percent.

Righty Playbook
The Heritage Foundation‘s Matthew Spaulding explains why the Declaration of Independence still matters.

The Corner‘s Robert VerBruggen again refutes a Forbes magazine article purporting to show that Fast and Furious never happened.

RedState‘s Erick Erickson has endorsed a “Freedom’s Slate” of candidates competing in Republican primaries.

Lefty Playbook
Jonathan Cohn predicts Republican governors will make good on their threat to opt out of Medicaid.

Kevin Drum believes they will ultimately cave and opt in.

David Corn links to documents showing that Romney never left Bain Capital.

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