Battle of the health-care contortionists

Those sentences are confusing. So let’s try again. This time, in the form of a hypothetical Q&A:

What do you think about an individual mandate?

Obama: I opposed it in 2008, but started supporting it in 2009. Now I hope the thing I ran against to get elected will be my historical legacy as president.

Romney: I supported it in Massachusetts, and called the state reforms a model for the nation in 2007 and 2008. But now I hope to dismantle the federal version of my state-level success.

Is the penalty for not following the individual mandate a tax? 

Obama: It is not a tax, unless I am arguing my case before the Supreme Court. Then, it is a tax, and the court agreed with me, and I am happy about this.

Romney: It is not a tax, even though my own party leadership now claims it is a tax. But I still want to dismantle Obama’s health care reforms because it raises taxes.