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Mitt Romney settles it: health care mandate is a tax

By Kasie Hunt

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, July 4 2012 12:27 p.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, participates in the Fourth of July Parade in Wolfeboro, N.H., Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

Charles Dharapak, Associated Press

WOLFEBORO, N.H. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday said the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance amounts to a tax, contradicting a senior campaign adviser.

"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 in an interview with CBS News. "You can try and say you wish they had decided a different way but they didn't. They concluded it was a tax."

In shifting his position, Romney contradicted senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, who said earlier in the week that Romney viewed the health care law's mandate to buy insurance as a penalty, a fee or a fine — but not a tax.

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney enacted a health care law that also required residents to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

"The governor believes that what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty and he disagrees with the court's ruling that the mandate was a tax," Fehrnstrom said Monday on MSNBC.

In an excerpt of the interview released by CBS News, Romney also said Obama broke his promise not to raise taxes on middle-class families by putting the mandate in place.

Romney was interviewed in Wolfeboro, N.H., where he is spending the week largely off the campaign trail. He marched in the town's Fourth of July parade Wednesday and appeared with his family.

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