Actually, Obama Was Against The Individual Mandate Before He Was For It

Mitt Romney isn’t the only presidential candidate with a record of flip-flopping on healthcare reform. 

The GOP-backed SuperPAC American Crossroads reminded us this week that, as a 2008 presidential candidate, Barack Obama was strongly opposed to the individual mandate that is now the cornerstone of his signature healthcare legislation. 

In a new video, released to coincide with the Supreme Court’s Obamacare hearings, the group uses clips of Obama defending the individual mandate in his healthcare legislation alternating with clips of the candidate Obama attacking his 2008 Democratic rivals for supporting the mandate. The overall effect makes it look as though the president is arguing with himself over the provision.

In reality, the ad actually underscores the political idiosyncrasies of the Obamacare debate. Before the president’s landmark legislation passed in 2009, the individual mandate was primarily championed by conservatives — including Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich — while Obama and many other Democrats opposed Obama and many other Democrats were opposed to the idea.

This mutual flip-flopping will likely make it difficult for either party to make healthcare a central issue in the 2012 presidential race, regardless of the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision. And if the court overturns the mandate, it could also provide a small political out for Obama as he seeks re-election in the wake of the defeat. 

Watch the American Crossroads video below. 

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