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Republican leaders were much faster in their political response to the court’s ruling, recognizing that it opened up the more lethal tax issue against Mr. Obama. It took a few days, but eventually, Mr. Romney was on board, too.

Do any of these semantic games matter? Not to the voters. Obamacare remains unpopular, and the tax on incomes that Mr. Obama and the IRS will slap on those Americans unable to afford health care makes this a very incendiary issue. Mr. Romney needs to pound the president on it until Election Day.

The last thing Mr. Obama and his campaign advisers want is to remind voters about Obamacare. The president rarely mentions his signature social welfare initiative because of its widespread unpopularity. Now, it has metastasized into a new income tax (one of 20 new taxes in the law) on the very people Mr. Obama swore he would protect.

The White House and their newscaster friends in New York will be doing everything they can to belittle this issue and to change the subject. But Mr. Romney needs to find a unique way to keep reminding middle-income Americans that if Mr. Obama is re-elected, he and the IRS will be raising taxes on them in his second term.

At the Labor Day launch of his 1980 campaign, Ronald Reagan found a way to respond to Jimmy Carter and the news media who took him to task for saying the economy was in a recession. The official definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of zero economic growth, and that hadn’t happened yet. Reagan, the White House said, didn’t understand the basic definition of a recession.

At a rally for and about immigrants, with the Statue of Liberty in the background, Reagan in shirt sleeves went on the attack: “If it’s a definition they want, I’ll give it to them: A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose your job, and recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”

The crowd went wild and Mr. Carter was swept out of office in a landslide.

Mr. Romney needs to summon forth that kind of podium-pounding impatience with four painful years of sluggish economic growth, chronically weak job formation, monster budget deficits and debt, and a president who has broken his promises on an ever-increasing tax burden.

He can begin with Mr. Obama’s recently stated belief that the private economy “is doing fine.”

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.