First, his senior advisor says the mandate is a penalty, agreeing with Obama. Now Romney says the mandate is a tax. But does that mean he raised taxes in Massachusetts where there is a state mandate to buy insurance?
Coupled with the confusion over whether Romney was going to highlight Obamacare at all -- his staff saying no, while Romney saying yes -- one has to wonder who the heck is running that outfit?
Directly contradicting his senior adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney told CBS that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is "a tax."
Earlier this week, Fehrnstrom said in a TV appearance that Romney has the same view as the White House on the individual mandate: that it's a penalty, rather than a tax. Romney instituted a state-level mandate to buy health insurance as governor of Massachusetts.
But Romney shifted gears in a sit-down with Jan Crawford, declaring that President Barack Obama broke his pledge not to raise taxes by imposing the individual mandate.
"While I agreed with the dissent, that's overtaken 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," Romney said. "The American people know that President Obama has broken the pledge he made - said he wouldn't raise taxes on middle-income Americans."
CBS hasn't posted the full video of Romney's interview yet, so it's not clear if Romney addressed Fehrnstrom's comments, or whether his remarks on the mandate today mean he also raised taxes in Massachusetts. Republicans have urged Romney to campaign comprehensively against the law known as Obamacare, even if that means talking around his record as governor.
In the expanded interview, Romney claims that just because the Supreme Court ruled the Obamacare mandate a tax, doesn't mean that his state level mandate is a tax too.
But that's splitting non-existent hairs. As many on the right predicted when Romney first assumed the front runner role, he is going to have all kinds of problems explaining away Romneycare. These last few days are proof of that, and we can probably expect more of the same down the road.