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David Axelrod on Twitter yesterday, talking about Mitt Romney's latest flip-flop over whether the individual mandate is a tax or a penalty administered through the tax code:

Mitt: Fed freerider penalty is "tax," identical MA law is not.
If he were in WH, parsley would be official veg: Twister, national pasttime.
@davidaxelrod via Twitter for iPhone
And Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter to Chuck Todd on MSNBC:
The difference the Obama administration and Mitt Romney is that we've been consistent. This is a penalty administered through the tax code.
In other words, the issue here doesn't really have anything to do with the substantive merits of Obamacare: it's that while President Obama has consistently said one thing, Mitt Romney has been twisting in the wind.

More from Cutter:

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what we're calling this. We've been consistent about what it is. ... Contrast that with Mitt Romney. ... Mitt Romney could call it a tax, he could call it a penalty. We don't particularly care. We just hope he chooses one and sticks to it.
And why is that important?
Look at what's happened over the past five days. His spokesperson calls it a penalty. A couple of days later, the right wing of his party rises up and criticizes him. He's suddenly calling it a tax. So that's what this debate is all about: whether Mitt Romney can take a principled position and stick with it. That's the question.
As David Axelrod put it this morning:
If Tea Party and Cong Rs can pull Mitt's chain, and get him to do a 180 on the mandate he championed, imagine what they'd do with him in WH!
@davidaxelrod via Twitter for iPhone
So it's clear that the Obama campaign doesn't see this debate as being about health care policy (which is good because the tax vs. penalty debate has nothing to do with the benefits of Obamacare). Instead, they see it as yet another indictment of Mitt Romney's lack of backbone because while they've been consistent about how they view it, Romney has been shifting all over the place. And it's not just that he's been shifting all over the place, it's that Romney's doing it for obviously political reasons, not the least of which is his need to satisfy his party's right-wing base.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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