Republicans have tied themselves up in rhetorical knots since the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate at the heart of President Obama's health care law. GOP lawmakers said the mandate to buy insurance was a new tax. The Romney campaign said it wasn't a tax, and then reversed itself. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell worked to square the circle.
The requirement that uninsured Americans buy insurance, he told CNN’s State of the Union, was a "mandate tax" and a "penalty tax."
Influential lawmakers from both parties typically use the Sunday shows to roll out new talking points, and McConnell’s language may be repeated by the Romney campaign and its congressional allies.
McConnell also opened up a new line of attack against the law, which has gradually becoming more popular since the high court ruling. He told CNN's Candy Crowley, without citing his source, that 77 percent of those who would need to pay a penalty for not having insurance were earning $120,000 or less, and pointedly said that would bring in more new government revenue than the so-called "Buffett Rule," a White House-backed plan to raise taxes on those earning more than $1 million per year.
McConnell's jabs at the law make one thing abundantly clear: While the legal fight over the Obama administration's health care plan is over, the political fight is just getting started.
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