It's a penalty. It's a penalty that's administered through the tax code on less than 1% of the American people who are choosing not to get health care, but can afford it. Mitt Romney could call it a tax, he could call it a penalty, we don't particularly care. We just hope he chooses one and sticks to it.
Stephanie Cutter, Obama Deputy Campaign Manager, says that the tax is really a penalty administered through the tax code. This argument of semantics is important because if this tax/penalty is viewed as a tax, it breaks a pledge that Obama made about raising taxes on middle income Americans.