Thursday, on CNN’s morning show “Starting Point,” Obama campaign spokesperson Ben LaBolt first said President Barack Obama thought the individual mandate was a “penalty” even though the Supreme Court said it was a tax. When asked if Obama disagreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare, LaBolt then said, “that’s right. He’s said that it’s a penalty.”
Then, LaBolt lied and said the Obama administration never even argued the individual mandate could be a tax during oral arguments even though Obama’s Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, argued that, “this Court has got an obligation to construe it as an exercise of the tax power, if it can be upheld on that basis.”
Mitt Romney’s campaign pounced on LaBolt’s comments in which he said Obama thought Obamacare was unconstitutional.
“In a curious development, President Obama apparently disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling upholding his health care law,” Romney Campaign Spokesperson Amanda Henneberg immediately said in an e-mail statement. “It’s too bad he doesn’t also see that Obamacare is bad policy and bad law.”
At a campaign event in Ohio on Thursday, Obama said Obamacare was “here to stay.”
Anyone who cares about the constitution would, at this point, would wonder if Obama thinks Obamacare is unconstitutional but should be implemented anyway.
The mainstream media, which would have taken a Republican president to task for the same thing, appeared disinterested.
Compare how the mainstream media ignored LaBolt’s comments to how they saturated their coverage around Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom’s comments on Monday. Fehrnstrom said that Romney essentially thought the individual mandate was a penalty and not a tax on MSNBC.
The mainstream media pounced on this statement, flooding the zone with coverage and stories, because Fehrnstrom’s comments partly helped shield President Obama from having to defend Obamacare as a tax, which is the only reason the law was held to be within the bounds of the Constitution.
So when Obama’s campaign spokesman said something similarly — if not more — damaging to the Obama campaign, the mainstream media, if they were truly honest referees, would have covered it as intensely as they covered Fehrnstrom’s comments.
Politico, which had at least four stories on the day Fehrnstrom made his comments, at least had one story on LaBolt’s comments, but the story was curiously titled, “Health Care Reform: Obama Camp: What’s Mitt Romney’s Plan?”
Yep, that is the headline the Politico editors got from the interview.
Other mainstream media organizations acted as if LaBolt never appeared on television.
The Washington Post‘s “The Fix” blog? No coverage.
The New York Times, which immediately wrote about Fehrnstrom’s comments, and their campaign blog, “The Caucus”? Nothing to see here.
MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” which gives off the false air of impartiality, did not mention LaBolt’s comments.
CNN’s programming, including “The Situation Room,” seemed to have forgotten LaBolt made the comments at all even though they were made on their network.
And the list goes on.
Once again, the mainstream media devours comments that help Obama and completely ignores comments that hurt him.
Obama has not spoken publicly about whether he thinks the individual mandate is a tax or a penalty and the mainstream media is in no hurry to ask him a question they know will hurt Obama no matter how he answers it.