You couldn’t turn on your TV set yesterday without seeing President Obama in one of his five back-to-back appearances going on and on about his healthcare plan. That was the bad news. The good news was that Obama finally got some genuine grilling–from George Stephanopoulos, of all people.

Ace of Spades HQ reports:

He grills Obama on raising taxes. Obama wants to call individual mandate fines “non-taxes.” Because they’re just fines. Fines which are paid to the government as part of its revenue collections. That kind of fines.

Obama won’t stop arguing that that’s not a raised tax. Just new, additional money you in the middle (or lower) class have to pay to the government, but not a tax. Because it’s “fair” and “common sense.”

Hot Air adds:

Of course that “fine” is a tax. Imagine if you were allowed to “opt out” of police protection, with your annual tax bill reduced proportionately by the cost of police services that you wouldn’t be using. Inevitably, some who opted out would have a huge (i.e. hugely expensive) police emergency and would call the cops anyway and the rest of us would be on the hook for paying for it. Solution: End the opt out and force people to cover their share of the cost of police services whether they want to or not, which is exactly what cities do. You can call that an “individual police-fee mandate” if your heart desires but most of us recognize it instantly for what it really is — namely, a tax. (The next time a cop pulls you over, try telling him, “My individual police-fee mandate pays your salary.”) No surprise at all, though, that the same guy who insists that this colossal boondoggle will be deficit-neutral can’t level with the public here either. He promised you he wouldn’t raise taxes and, darn it, he’s not going to raise taxes. But he didn’t say anything about “fines,” did he?

Exit question one: Isn’t this an oddly regressive tax argument for The One to be making? Many people who can afford insurance but refuse to purchase it are kids in their 20s, whose careers are just starting and who aren’t making much money yet. People who can afford it and do purchase it tend to be older, more established in their careers, and likely a bit better off. Essentially he’s arguing that it’s unfair for these richer folk to have to pay higher premiums to cover those who can less afford it. What happened to redistribution, champ?

BTW, the New York Times’s Caucus blog notes that, counting Sunday’s media Obamexposure, our president has now given 114 interviews by the eighth month of his presidency–compared with 37 by this time for George W. Bush and 41 for Bill Clinton.