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Is health care ruling Obama's 'Read my lips: No new taxes' moment?

Republicans are beating up on President Obama because the Supreme Court said the Affordable Care Act is tied to new taxes. But that could be a problem for Mitt Romney given his record in Massachusetts.

President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington Thursday after the Supreme Court ruled on his health care legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

Luke Sharrett/The New York Times/AP

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Remember “Read my lips: No new taxes” – George H. W. Bush’s infamous pledge in 1988, which he was forced to break as president and which Bill Clinton used to hammer Mr. Bush four years later?

Republicans certainly do, and they’re using it target President Obama – both on the specifics of the Affordable Care Act, which they vow to repeal, and to paint Obama as a tax-and-spend liberal.

Here’s how we got to this moment:

In launching what he’s now happy to call “Obamacare” back in 2009, the President likened the proposed penalty for not having health care coverage to car insurance. "Nobody considers that a tax increase,” he told ABC News. “People say to themselves, 'that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I'm not covering all the costs.' "

It was a point repeatedly made by the White House and congressional Democrats as the ACA fought its way to passage. No new taxes.

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Fast-forward to last week and the US Supreme Court’s startling decision to uphold the ACA as constitutional.

Speaking for the court majority regarding the individual mandate, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: "The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax." 


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