President Obama’s campaign spokesman said on CNN this morning that his boss disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling on the individual mandate.
When prodded by host Soledad O’Brien, Ben LaBolt said that the Obama specifically believes that the mandate consists of a penalty.
“You saw our arguments before the Supreme Court. You see what the president has said over the past several years that it’s a penalty for that 1 percent of the population who can afford health insurance but hasn’t chosen to get it,” LaBolt said. “Because the fact is that has led the rest of us to pay a hidden tax of $1,000 a year, folks already covered. It drives up our premiums.”
“So, then he disagrees with the Supreme Court decision that says it’s now a tax?” O’Brien asked.
“That’s right. He’s said that it’s a penalty. You saw our arguments before the court,” LaBolt, rejecting O’Brien’s assertion that the tax angle was used by Obama’s side as a “backup argument” before the court.
“It never referred to it as — it never referred to it as a tax. It said it was a penalty,” LaBolt said. “And that’s under the section of the law that is the tax code, but it said very specifically it’s a penalty.”
The campaign spokesman was later pressed on why the “penalty” was administered by the IRS.
“Nowhere during the arguments — we are the ones who have been consistent here,” LaBolt said. “Consistent it’s a penalty. Mitt Romney has disagreed with his own campaign advisers and disagreed with himself about whether his own mandate is a tax. He made clear in 2009 in the USA Today op-ed that it was a tax.”