Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt claimed on Thursday that the Obama administration never referred to the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate as a “tax” when it argued the bill’s constitutionality before the Supreme Court.
However, as we demonstrated in an article published earlier this afternoon, this simply isn’t true. In fact, the claim is so monumentally false, everyone from CNN’s Soledad O’Brien to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly has called “B.S.” on LaBolt.
“Are they [the Obama administration] being straight with the American people and now sending Ben LaBolt, among others, to come out and say ‘it’s not a tax’?” Kelly asked NDN president Simon Rosenberg.
“Well, let’s look at what the architect of this strategy said about this –”
“No, no, no, no!” Kelly said, refusing to let Rosenberg dodge the question by turning the conversation into something about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. “Before you go to Romney, let’s stay on President Obama. We’ll get to Mitt Romney, but answer my question!”
But Rosenberg persisted: “Mitt Romney called it a ‘tax penalty,’ Mitt Romney has called it –”
“Mitt Romney is not the architect of ‘Obamacare,” an increasingly frustrated Kelly interjected. “He wasn’t. He was the architect of ‘Romneycare.’ Let’s stay on point, we’ll get to Romney in a minute. We sticking with Barack Obama.”
Rosenberg went on to explain how the “penalty” works under the tax authority — meaning he continued to avoid Kelly’s opening question. It didn’t take long for her to decide that she wasn’t going to allow him to dodge her question with campaign-style talking points.
“No! No! No!” she said.
“Why can’t I answer the question?” said an also frustrated Rosenberg.
“Because you’re not being direct either!” she responded. “Yes, they argued that he had the power under the taxing powers of the Constitution. But I just showed it to you! Then they went into the Supreme Court, Simon, and said ‘it is valid as a tax in its own right!’”
This story has been updated.