During the 2008 primaries, Obama actually came out against an individual health-care mandate with this very sensible argument:
"If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house. The reason they don't have a house is they don't have the money. So our focus has been on reducing costs, making it available."
Unfortunately, he abandoned this belief once he was elected, and signed a health care bill with an individual mandate that has been declared unconstitutional by several appeals courts. Perhaps someone needed to remind him of this quote during the Obamacare debates.
Speaking of presidents who abandoned previously stated positions, with decidedly negative results:
"Somalia...started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission and that's where the mission went wrong...I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation-building."
--Candidate George W. Bush
As president, of course, Bush led us into two very costly nation-building exercises on a scale not seen since the 1940's and which have dragged on for almost a decade. 9/11 may have justified the initial attack on the Taliban, but I don't understand why Bush changed his mind so dramatically on the wisdom of nation-building.