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07.06.2012

DAVID AXELROD, PRESIDENT OBAMA’S SENIOR CAMPAIGN ADVISER, DISCUSSES THE CONTROVERSY OVER “TAX” VERSUS “MANDATE” AND FURTHER EXPLAINS HIS STATEMENT REGARDING GOP CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY ON “CBS THIS MORNING”

 

AXELROD ON THE HEALTH CARE WORD CHOICE: “WHETHER YOU CALL IT A MANDATE, WHETHER YOU CALL IT A TAX, WHAT IT IS, IS A PENALTY ON THE LESS THAN 1% OF AMERICANS WHO CAN AFFORD HEALTH CARE AND REFUSE TO BUY IT”

AXELROD ON COMPARING ROMNEY TO RICHARD NIXON: “I ABSOLUTELY STAND BY IT, AND THE REAL QUESTION IS, IS THE NEWS MEDIA GOING TO PRESS HIM ON IT?”

David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior campaign adviser, discussed the controversy over “tax” versus “mandate” and further explained the statement he made to CBS Radio News Correspondent Peter Maer with co-host Erica Hill and CBS News Special Correspondent Jeff Glor, live today, July 6, 2012, on CBS THIS MORNING on the CBS Television Network (7:00 AM – 9:00 AM).

Below are excerpts from the interview.

HILL: We just heard a piece from the President charging Mitt Romney with playing politics over use of the word “tax” when it comes to the mandate. The President adamantly denied it was a tax in 2009 when he was trying to sell this. The Supreme Court says otherwise. How do you reconcile that now as you try to sell a tax to the American people?

AXELROD: Whatever you call it, whether you call it a mandate, whether you call it a tax, what it is, is a penalty on the less than 1% of Americans who can afford health care and refuse to buy it. Then, show up in our emergency rooms and stick the rest of us with the tab. This is precisely the argument that Governor Romney made for six years, and that his campaign, as late as last week. As the President said, he got heat from Rush Limbaugh and the right and the guys in the Republican Caucus on Capitol Hill and he folded. More than a discussion of health care, it does give you an insight into how he would operate if he were President.

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GLOR: Last night you said that Mitt Romney was the most secretive candidate since Richard Nixon. You said this to CBS Radio News. I think that would strike a lot of people as extreme. Do you stand by those comments?

AXELROD: I absolutely do. Listen, you mentioned the $100 million that Mitt Romney raised. He's the first presidential candidate since that time in recent years — both Republicans and Democrats — have all revealed who is raising money for them, the so-called bundlers. You have no idea who is raising this money for Mitt Romney. He's the first Republican or Democrat who hasn't released tax returns in a series of years. His father was a pioneer in this when he ran for president and said you have to release multiple years or else people can hide some of what they're doing. We just learned the other day from the Associated Press that Governor Romney has this Bermuda business and he transferred it to his wife's ownership the day before he became Governor of Massachusetts, so he wouldn't have to put it on an ethics form. This is the most secretive candidate since Richard Nixon. What happened after Nixon is we as a country, said we need a higher level of disclosure, so people know who their candidates are, what their entanglements are and we can make judgments on it. Governor Romney and his campaign have stonewalled and are trying to turn the clock back 50 years on transparency and disclosure. I absolutely stand by it, and the real question is, is the news media going to press him on it?

Click here to watch the CBS THIS MORNING interview.

Click here to read the CBS RADIO NEWS interview recap.

 

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Chris Licht is Vice President of Programming, CBS News, and Executive Producer of CBS THIS MORNING.

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Press Contact:   Whitney Kuhn      212-975-2856        KuhnW@cbsnews.com