THE RACE: Romney, Obama both run on court ruling

June 29, 2012 - 1:07 PM
Obama Wildfires

President Barack Obama leaves the White House in Washington, Friday, June 29, 2012, headed for Colorado. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Both sides seem to have performed an Etch-a-Sketch reset.

That's the scenario that was floated by Eric Fehrnstrom, a top aide to Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who famously said last March that once Romney clinched his party's nomination, he would shift into general election mode as if turning the knobs on an Etch-a-Sketch toy.

But the Supreme Court's upholding of President Barack Obama's health care law brought a shift in tactics for both Romney and Obama.

Romney said the ruling brings "greater urgency" to the race, and that hiring him as president is now the best way to get Obama's signature program repealed.

The court "did not get that job done," he told a fundraiser in New York City. The strategy is already paying off financially, with his campaign taking in over $4 million since Thursday's 5-4 ruling.

Romney also seized on the wording in Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion that the requirement that most Americans carry health insurance — or pay a penalty — is authorized by Congress' powers to levy taxes.

Romney and other Republicans are now depicting the health-care law as a huge tax increase, even though the penalty would only affect those able but unwilling to buy insurance.

Obama's campaign is dusting off an older attack line, used during the primary season by Republican challengers, portraying Romney as a "flip-flopper."

"He made a powerful case" for health care overhaul as governor of Massachusetts, senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC on Friday.

Obama's program owes much to Romney's Massachusetts law. "He needs to explain why he thought it was good public policy" then but not now, Axelrod said.

In short, Romney was for the legislation before he was against it. Sounds familiar.

Romney was also raising cash Friday in Buffalo, N.Y. Obama flew to Colorado to survey major fire damage.

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