(POLAND, Ohio) — Casting himself as a strong decisive leader and his opponent as a flip-flopper, President Obama slammed Mitt Romney Friday for changing his position on what to call the individual mandate.
“When you hear all these folks saying oh, no, no, this is a tax, this is a burden on — on middle-class families — let me tell you. We know because the guy I’m running against tried this in Massachusetts and it’s working just fine even though now he denies it,” he told supporters at a campaign event at Dobbins Elementary School in Poland, Ohio.
The criticism comes after Obama accused Romney in a local interview of changing his position for political purposes.
The Supreme Court upheld the president’s signature health care law last week, saying its mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance was legal under Congress’ power to levy taxes.
While the ruling was a huge political victory for the president, Republicans have accused the president of imposing a tax.
“Basically what we say is, you know what, if you have health insurance, you’re all good. If you don’t have health insurance, we’ll help you get it,” the president explained Friday.
“If you can afford to buy health insurance and you don’t get it, so that you force us to pay for your health care when you get sick or you get in an accident, that ain’t right. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to charge you a penalty to make sure that you’re not unloading those costs on everybody else,” he said.
Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, the president continues to insist that the individual mandate is a “penalty,” not a tax.
“It will affect less than one percent of the population, because most Americans are responsible and do the right thing,” Obama explained. “I make no apologies for it. We’re going to keep it moving forward. It was the right thing to do two years ago; it’s the right thing to do now.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Eric Bradner, Jeff Zeleny and Shimon Prokupecz, CNN
Dan Berman, CNN