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Court Ruling Boosts Romney's Coffers, Repeal Message

Court Ruling Boosts Romney's Coffers, Repeal Message

By Erin McPike - June 28, 2012


Soon after the Supreme Court handed down its decision upholding the landmark health care reform law -- including the controversial mandate that individual Americans purchase health coverage -- Mitt Romney's website blared: "Obamacare upheld. Elections have consequences. Donate."

And within less than four hours of the decision, the presumptive nominee’s campaign had raised $1 million from online contributions.

Therein lies the good news for Romney. Although the court’s ruling is widely regarded as a victory for the president, giving him a boost on his signature accomplishment while he moves toward a difficult fall election, it may just as easily be declared a victory for his opponent, because it is certain to energize the Republican base. And Romney didn’t have to lift a finger for that to happen.

As veteran GOP strategist Mike Murphy, who has advised Romney in the past, put it: “Uphold makes life simpler for Romney. Overthrow would have forced discussion on what next. Now he can just keep running against Obamacare.” He added that the decision will keep Obama from using the Supreme Court as a “wider campaign scare issue with independent voters.”

“All in all I think Mitt does fine. The idea of this as a big Obama ‘win’ is just a Beltway creation. It's a wash, maybe a bit better for Mitt.”

Romney capitalized on that idea during a brief appearance in Washington. Standing on a rooftop overlooking the Capitol just minutes before the president delivered his own statement about the decision, he said, “What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.”

He continued, “Let’s make clear that we understand what the court did and did not do. What the court did today was say that Obamacare does not violate the Constitution. What they did not do was say that Obamacare is good law or that it's good policy.”

Then Romney outlined some of his complaints about the legislation: That it raises taxes by roughly $500 billion, slashes $500 billion out of Medicare, adds trillions of dollars to the national debt and dampens hiring power for many of the country’s small businesses.

He also took a step toward laying out some of the fundamental pieces of health care policy that he wants to see: “One, we have to make sure that people who want to keep their current insurance will be able to do so. Having 20 million people, up to that number of people, lose the insurance they want, is simply unacceptable.” He added that he’d like people with pre-existing conditions not excluded from health care coverage, and he wants to guarantee access to health insurance. Above all, he said, he wants to work toward lowering the cost of that coverage.

But what Romney has not done yet is describe how he would achieve those goals. Instead, he framed the election as a choice between big government and small government and how different his vision for the country is from President Obama’s.

“This is the time of choice for the American people. Our mission is clear: If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have to replace President Obama,” he said, adding, “My mission is to make sure we do exactly that. . . . If we want good jobs and a bright economic future, for ourselves and for our kids, we must replace Obamacare. That is my mission.”

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Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at emcpike@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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