WOLFEBORO, N.H.– Mitt Romney contradicted a top aide to his campaign and aligned himself instead with the Republican establishment in labeling the health care mandate a tax, not a penalty, as Democrats have contended.

“Now the Supreme Court has spoken and while I agreed with the dissent, that’s taken over by the fact that the majority of the court said it’s a tax,” Romney said in an interview Wednesday with CBS. “Therefore it is a tax. They have spoken. There’s no way around that.  You can try and say you wish they’d decided a different way, but they didn’t. They concluded it’s a tax. That’s what it is.”

Romney’s description of the health care mandate as a tax aligns his position with that of GOP leaders, who have for days used the Supreme Court’s majority decision upholding the law under Congress’s taxation authority as a cudgel with which to attack Democrats and the president as having raised taxes.
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