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Romney Calls Mandate A Tax, Throws Fehrnstrom Under The Bus

Romney Calls Mandate a Tax, Throws Fehrnstrom Under the Bus
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More silliness from the gang that couldn't shoot straight. One assumes that because of the holiday they'll think no one will notice their bizarre messaging inconsistencies.

(CBS News) Two days after his top adviser insisted otherwise, Mitt Romney on Wednesday told CBS News chief political correspondent Jan Crawford that President Obama's individual mandate - upheld last week by the Supreme Court - is "a tax."

"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," the presumptive GOP presidential nominee told Crawford in an exclusive interview, referring to the court's 5-4 ruling that largely upheld the president's signature health care law, with the individual mandate as a tax.

"I said that I agreed with the dissent, and the dissent made it very clear that they felt it was unconstitutional," Romney continued. "But the dissent lost - it's in the minority."

The individual mandate is uniquely problematic for Romney, whose health care legislation as Massachusetts governor also included a mandate. But as an anti-tax increase candidate, Romney has relied on the argument that at the state level, governors can tax on mandate under "police powers" - a fact that Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts noted in his opinion.

Still, Romney's remarks contradict a backpedaling maneuver Monday by his senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom. After the campaign had initially hopped aboard with critics saying the court's ruling indicated the health care law is a massive tax increase on Americans, Fehrnstrom - no doubt eyeing potential backlash relating to Romney's own past mandate - told MSNBC that Romney "agreed with the dissent written by Justice Scalia which very clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax."

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