President Obama has an image problem.
Despite the long-held stereotype that Republicans aren't media-friendly, they've done a bang-up job getting their message to supercede the Democrats on the Patient Rights and Affordable Care Act, or simply "Obamacare."
Make that "ObamaTax" -- the hashtag of which leap-frogged on Twitter over #ObamaCare by 6,523 percent. Yowzza.
The minute the U.S. Supreme Court held up the constitutionality of the law, Republicans seized the moment to attack Democrats over the one thing Americans don't want more of -- taxes.
A CNN/ ORC Poll released today shows 60 percent view Obamacare as a tax.
Obama's mouthpieces aren't doing themselves any favors by falling apart in explaining how the health care mandate's not a tax.
Watch as Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter gets flustered, tongue-tied and nervously flips her hair behind her ear explaining on CNN's Soledad O'Brien Show Friday how a mandate that's allowed under the "tax code" isn't a "tax," it's a "penalty."
"What John Roberts said, we have the power to impose this penalty on people through the taxation clause, it's a penalty."
Here's the tricky part: The mandate-or-tax debate between the justices is important. The court ruled that if the mandate were judged as a mandate, not a tax, it would be unconstitutional.
In politics, fewer things can sink a candidate faster than promising more taxes during a bad economy.
Despite Obama's insistance that Americans are doing better, even Democrats glumly view the economic future.
The Obama Truth Team hasn't wasted any time responding and posted up an "Obamacare: Separating fact from fiction" page.
Senior Obama strategist David Axelrod appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe in an attempt to ease Americans' minds by saying the individual mandate tax would only hit about 1 percent of the population, which sounds better than saying Obamacare will cost a family $2,000 a year.
“[W]e shouldn’t have free riders in the system who drive up everyone's healthcare [costs]. This is only for people who can afford insurance, don’t get it, and then end up in our emergency rooms, get free care and then drive up everyone else’s premiums.”
However you want to label the "duck," Wall Street Journal Chief Economist Stephen Moore predicts that it's going to be an expensive law and not just for the rich.
Despite what Obama promised, Moore said the law lands a "punch in the stomach of middle-class families" because 75 percent of the ObamaTax will hit families making less than $120,000 a year.
As long as the GOP keeps the Obama folks out there responding to the Republican message on taxes and the middle class, Romney's odds of gaining ground look good.
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