President Barack Obama welcomes the Supreme Court's health care ruling (Luke Sharrett/AP/Pool)
President Barack Obama called the Supreme Court's decision to uphold his historic health care overhaul a victory for sick and struggling Americans and vowed a renewed focus on the worry atop voters' minds: the sour economy.
"Whatever the politics, today's decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it," he said in brief remarks two hours after the nine justices delivered their verdict.
"Now's the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time: putting people back to work, paying down our debt and building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead," he said in the ornate East Room of the White House.
Even as he professed that a political scorecard missed the point of the 5-4 ruling, Obama also got in a sly dig at Mitt Romney. The president defended his adoption of the so-called "individual mandate," which requires Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty, and underlined: "This idea has enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current Republican nominee for president."
The nearly united Republican response to the high court's ruling showed that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had won only a reprieve and that its fate was now entwined with the results of the presidential election. Republicans, channeling deep conservative anger at the law, vowed to target the law for repeal in Congress and served notice that the only way to roll it back was to put Romney in the White House. (House Republican leaders set a July 11 repeal vote—a symbolic measure since Democrats control the Senate.)
"This is a 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," Romney said in televised remarks, speaking from a rooftop with the Capitol as his backdrop. "If you don't want the course that President Obama has put us on, if you want instead a course that the Founders envisioned, then join me in this effort. Help us. Help us defeat Obamacare. Help us defeat the liberal agenda that makes government too big, too intrusive, and is killing jobs across this great country."
The Romney campaign said that in the three hours after the ruling, it had raised more than $1 million.
The president, alluding to public opinion polls that have never found the law to be popular, noted that "it should be pretty clear by now I didn't do this because it was good politics." But he urged Americans to set aside the "divisive" debates of 2009 and 2010.Read More »from Obama cheers Supreme Court’s health care ruling, says focus must now be jobs