It's a tax, it's a penalty, it's both. Romney campaign confused.

First we have Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom going on MSNBC and saying the Obamacare mandate penalty/Obamatax is, contrary to the Supreme Court decision, not a tax but a penalty.

And right on cue every partisan enveloped in the tit-for-tat horse-race collectively climaxed in joy or anger depending on their persuasion.

So apparently these semantics are a BFD, as the President would say.

Enter Chris Christie:

I don't think it's exclusively a tax or a penalty, it's both.

Wait, wait. So it goes both ways? Does this have something to do with bipartisanship where both sides win? I r confused.

But Romney isn't. He's had enough of the rhetorical kama sutra required for the Obamatax:
For an issue that's supposedly potent against Democrats, Romney's campaign is declaring a cease fire. This, even as the law polls unfavorably and it proved to be a motivating force for Republicans and disaffected independents in the 2010 midterms.

It's becoming clear that Romney has decided to focus on the economy at the expense of everything else... He's avoided criticizing the administration's handling of the botched Fast and Furious operation, even as it threatens to become a serious vulnerability for the president.
So Romney is trying the successful McCain strategy of playing nice? But let me say seriously that I think the National Journal overstated the facts. Actually they just linked to the story about Fehrnstrom and decided that was enough to call it a "cease-fire". Great work guys!

In response to Mr. Fehrnstrom going off message, conservatives are upset about Romney's apparent silence:
The Obama campaign has seized on remarks made by Romney adviser Eric "Etch-A-Sketch" Fehrnstrom this morning on MSNBC, to the effect that the individual mandate in Obamacare (and Romneycare) is not a tax. Fehrnstrom allowed Chuck Todd to push him off message--and re-ignited the fears that conservatives have long had about Romney's will and ability to fight. In response, conservatives--who had just coalesced around opposition to what many now call "Obamatax"--exhort: Mitt, start fighting, or give up and let someone else do it.
This just won't do; McCain strategy off. I guess rhetorical kama sutra sprinkled with semantic foreplay is back on.
So is the Romney campaign, in fact, declaring a “cease-fire” on Obamacare? No, no, no, says Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. “From our perspective, Obamacare has been and will continue to be a central issue in the campaign,” says Williams. “It presents voters with a bright line that divides the two candidates. Gov. Romney is going to repeal Obamacare and President Obama is going to keep it. There is a clear choice in November.”
To make matters worse for team Romney, Mitch "squishy balls" McConnell throws in this stinkbomb:
"Odds long to undo health care law."
[Republicans] promise to efficiently manage the Leviathan with a measured hand. And maybe some tax breaks from time to time. And who better to keep that promise than the man whose team gave us state-run health care in the first place?
I'm beginning to doubt the competence of Romney's campaign. Their messaging is so confused and changes day to day, compounded by the fact Romney is known as a flip-flopper. If your guy can't stay on message, fire him on the spot. Make him walk out of the interview in shame. But if there is any truth to the "cease-fire", Susan Duclos explains why it might be a good idea:
Obamacare will be a defining issue in the November 6, 2012 presidential election as will the economy and jobs, but the individual battles fought until that day must be divided up accordingly where Romney's strength in business can be utilized by his campaign and his weakest area, health care, can be utilized by other sources.
Yes, Romney's campaign is confused, or at least incompetent at appearing otherwise. They need to get on message, stay on message, and don't be afraid of a little multitasking. There's gold in them there hills!


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