“The right created it and spits it out as an epithet; it has that tone, a sneering quality like they’re hanging it around his neck,” said Jeff Shesol, a former White House speechwriter under President Bill Clinton. “But it has so taken hold, it reached that level of saturation that it’s very difficult for Obama or the Democrats to escape it. So why not then try to appropriate it?”

Some of those on the other side have been surprised at how the term has become the de facto name of the program.

“I never thought it would stick,” said Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist who was among those who encouraged its use in the early days. “People want health care personalized, not politicized, and the phrase Obamacare is an effective way to communicate the politicization of health care.”…

The expression Obamacare first was used in early 2007, according to research by Elspeth Reeve at The Atlantic magazine, generally by writers describing the candidate’s proposal for expanding coverage for the uninsured. The first use of it by a political figure she found was actually in September 2007 by none other than former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, the Republican then as now running for president.