GOP waits for Romney to pick ‘tax’ or ‘penalty’

by
July 4, 2012

By Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times

A semantic dispute over what defines “a tax” or “a penalty” has pushed Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign deeply off message as he struggles for the right response to last week’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the health care law.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of Mr. Romney’s top surrogates, said Tuesday that in approving the law, the high court has officially stamped President Obama’s mandate a tax.

In doing so, Mr. Christie kneecapped top campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom, who a day earlier said it wasn’t a tax but rather a penalty. He was trying to preserve the tax-free integrity of the health care legislation that Mr. Romney signed as governor of Massachusetts.

Still to come is Mr. Romney himself, who analysts said eventually will have to take sides.

If he calls it a tax, he will be rejecting his top strategist and flip-flopping on his own stance in Massachusetts. But if he insists it’s a penalty, he would be agreeing with Mr. Obama and undercutting the attack strategy that most Republicans have taken since last week’s ruling.

Mr. Christie, in his typical blunt fashion, upped the pressure on Mr. Romney to take a position when he told Fox News Channel that it’s up to Mr. Romney to answer the question.

To read more, visit:  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/3/gop-waits-for-romney-to-pick-tax-or-penalty/

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