In August 2010, Missourians overwhelmingly approved a referendum known as Proposition C -- a ballot measure, the first of its kind in the country, specifically rejecting the individual mandate in the health care law.
The vote was 71 percent yes, 29 percent no.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who said this week his position against the mandate has been "clear," was asked repeatedly in 2010 how he felt about Prop C.
He was less than clear. In fact, he repeatedly ducked the issue.
A scan of his press releases around that election shows no mention of the individual mandate or Prop C.
Patrick Tuohey, who ran the campaign in favor of Prop C, says he can't remember Nixon ever taking a public stance on the proposal.
No official campaign committee was ever formed specifically to oppose Prop C. Hospitals spent some money to defeat the measure, but Nixon was not involved.
From a Kraske column in October 2010:
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s position on Prop C? Get this: He didn’t take one.
This is how the New York Times reported Nixon's position in July 2010:
A spokesman for Mr. Nixon declined to reveal how the governor would vote on the referendum. The governor acknowledges that the health care law is not popular in his state, but has said he will work to maximize its benefits for Missouri. “This isn’t about protest,” he said recently. “It’s about progress.”
And see this, from Talking Points Memo, in August 2010:
Opponents of Prop C, the Republican-engineered ballot measure dubbed the “Health Care Freedom Act”...number just in the hundreds and have scant help from the state’s Democrats or even Gov. Jay Nixon.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Nixon told TPM that the Democrat “hasn’t waded into the fray” on the ballot measure. Nixon’s view “is that the new federal health care plan is the law of the land, approved by Congress and signed by the president, and it’s his job to make sure that the citizens of Missouri get the most benefit from it,” said spokeswoman Christine Bertelson.
And in December 2010 Nixon was asked about the mandate and health care reform for a story in The Star.
"For now it’s the law of land," he said then. "We will continue to focus on what we can to do efficiently and effectively implement federal requirements."