Panel: Candidates still speak out on health care
(CBS News) On "Face the Nation," CBS News correspondents covering both Mitt Romney and President Obama's campaigns said that more than a week after the Supreme Court upheld the health care law, both campaigns are still talking about it.
CBS News' White House Correspondent Norah O'Donnell said the president's campaign continued to discuss the issue because health care is "an issue of values and principles."
She said they are attacking Romney for coming out and saying the mandate is a tax, then saying it was a penalty, and then again a tax. "It is a sign once again Mitt Romney does things just for politics and says anything to get elected," O'Donnell characterized the Obama campaign's message.
CBS News legal correspondent Jan Crawford said the Romney campaign's message is that he is the only one standing between voters and "this vast government takeover of our medical system," the point being that unless President Obama is voted out of office, the health care law will stand.
Opinions in the discussion were that, unless Republicans managed to win both the White House and gain a majority in the Senate while holding onto the House, the health care law would not be repealed. Crawford agreed, saying, "I don't think it is going to be as simple as some of the talk that we have heard from Governor Romney" about repealing should he win.
The panel also discussed the messaging from the Romney campaign, which has not always been in sync with Congressional Republicans and conservative commentators.
CBS News political director John Dickerson said that despite criticism from conservatives, including Rupert Murdoch, about how the campaign is handling important issues, nothing is going to change.
"What I heard in the Romney campaign, they know some things have not gone well, but they are a tight-knit group and not going to change much," he said.
"They are going to fix some of the communication problems and get more specific," Dickerson added, "but they do recognize that basically there is something more they have to give people other than just saying 'Barack Obama has done a bad job.'"
O'Donnell said the president is also receiving pressure to be more specific on his proposals for a second term. "I think you saw the president on this bus tour take a hit, certainly because the jobs numbers came out and they are not great job numbers, and he didn't introduce any new economic policies - instead pushing sort of the same jobs plan he has been unable to get through the Republican [House]," she said.
However, she said this period of the campaign is about defining themselves and attempting to define their opponent.
"We see about three-quarters of President Obama's ads have been negative ads against Mitt Romney, pointing out his record on Bain and accusing him of [being] someone who outsources jobs, sort of the same idea on this bus tour," she said. "Then is going to come this contrast in visions, and I am told by campaign advisers they have just scratched the surface on Mitt Romney's business record and background."
- Leigh Ann Caldwell
Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.Follow on Twitter »
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