Spin Guide: Romney Pledges to Repeal, Obama Says Families Should Celebrate

The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare as constitutional Thursday, and all of Washington flooded with press releases.

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The Republican reaction to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold Obamacare Thursday has two parts: First, that it shows the need to repeal the law because it increases health care costs, and second, it shows how important it is to elect Mitt Romney president. President Obama, on the other hand, said it wasn't about who gained the most politically from the court's decision, but that "here in America,  the wealthiest country on Earth, no accident or illness should lead to any family's financial ruin." Romney, however, stressed that the law could actually cause financial ruin, and promised, "What the court did not do on its last day of session, I will do on my first day if I am elected president of the United States. I will act to repeal Obamacare." Romney's spokeswoman said the candidate raised $300,000 off the ruling in the first hour after it was handed down. House Speaker John Boehner said "is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire" and so it must be "in its entirety." Another vote to repeal Obamacare was immediately scheduled for early July. Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus -- plus a couple potential Romney running mates -- said it showed Obama must be defeated in November. And Sen. Rand Paul made the bold claim that just because five Supreme Court justices "declare something to be 'constitutional' does not make it so." Those out of office were less on-message, like Sarah Palin, who tweeted a rhyme: "Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn't a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies." Karl Rove said the ruling was "boost for the president," but the controversy remains.

Polls show that individual parts of Obamacare are more popular than the law itself, so Obama's brief speech listed many of those. "It should be pretty clear by now that I didn't do this because I thought it was good politics," he said. Other Democrats, naturally, were more obvious in their celebrating, perhaps most of all Democratic National Committee executive director Patrick Gaspard, who tweeted, "It's constitutional. Bitches." Nancy Pelosi, with a slightly less confrontational tone, asserted "millions of American families and children" will have health care. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was more dramatic, saying, "the power of life and death back to the insurance companies, but our Supreme Court has spoken." We are offering your guide to the spin.

  • President Obama said the Supreme Court "reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America,  the wealthiest country on Earth, no accident or illness should lead to any family's financial ruin." The political discussion of who won and who lost "misses the point," the president said, before offering a list of the parts of the law that are more popular than the law itself. Among those items: no lifetime caps on coverage, insurers must cover kids with preexisting conditions, people under 26 can stay on their parents plans, people got rebates because their insurance companies were charging too much. "It should be pretty clear by now that I didn't do this because I thought it was good politics."
  • In a news conference overlooking the Capitol, Mitt Romney said, "What the court did not do on its last day of session I will do on my first day if I am elected president of the United States. I will act to repeal Obamacare." Like his fellow Republicans, Romney focused on attacking the law for being too expensive and driving a wedge between regular people and their doctors, noting that the Supreme Court ruled the law was constitutional, not that it was good policy. Republicans have said they won't immediately act to craft their own alternative to the law, but Romney promises to provide one. "We must replace Obamacare. That is my mission." He framed the election as a choice   -- a "time of truth" -- between two visions for America, one that grows government and one that doesn't.
  • House Speaker John Boehner issued a statement saying, "The president’s health care law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire.  Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety.  What Americans want is a common-sense, step-by-step approach to health care reform that will protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost.  Republicans stand ready to work with a president who will listen to the people and will not repeat the mistakes that gave our country ObamaCare."

  • The House will vote again to repeal the law after it returns from July 4 recess, Politico reports. On CNN, Michele Bachmann remarkably states the obvious: "But that will be for show only."

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweets, "Victory for the American people! Millions of American families and children will have certainty of health care benefits + affordable care." Roll Call's Daniel Newhauser says that while on an elevator ride with Pelosi, "She said she's not surprised by the ruling, but expected more of Kennedy." At a later press conference, Pelosi talked about the late Ted Kennedy, who had long worked to pass health care reform. "Now he can rest in peace. His dream for America's families has become a reality," she said.

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "Our Supreme Court has spoken, and now it's settled," on the Senate floor, according to the Washington Examiner.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says, "Today’s decision makes one thing clear: Congress must act to repeal this misguided law." He issued this (obviously pre-recorded) video:

  • Karl Rove called the ruling a "boost for the president" on Fox News, but said it won't "make the controversy go away. "In fact, it probably enhances the controversy, because like so many other things connected with this act, the premises on which it was sold -- this is not a tax, you can keep your plan if you want it, it'll reduce the deficit -- all these things turned out to be not true."

  • And on cue, Andrea Saul, spokeswoman for Mitt Romney, tweets, "Over $100k already raised online for @MittRomney for #FullRepeal." By 11:30a.m., about an hour after the ruling was handed down, the number had risen to $300,000.

  • Sen. Rand Paul was one of the few elected officials to explicitly say he thought the court decided incorrectly. He issued a statement saying, "Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be 'constitutional' does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right."

  • Florida Rep. Allen West, an outspoken Tea Partier, said, "This is a sad day for Americans, as they will be taxed to pay for benefits they may not need or want as part of the insurance they are forced to buy. With this decision, Congress has been granted infinite taxation power, and there are no longer any limits on what the federal government can tax its citizens to do."

  • Executive director of the Democratic National Committee Patrick Gaspard tweets, "It's constitutional. Bitches."
  • Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus tweets, "Just elect Romney. We need #FullRepeal."
  • Sarah Palin, who once promoted the myth that the law included death panels, tweets, "Obama lied to the American people. Again. He said it wasn't a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies."

  • Newt Gingrich tweets, "Court has guaranteed this november most important election since 1860. Which American future- state control versus liberty will be decided."

  • …And fellow former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says, "Today's outcome is the worst of all scenarios. I believe so strongly that if we do not defeat President Obama this November and elect more conservatives in the House and Senate, our country's future prosperity is at risk." During the primary, Santorum said Romney was the worst possible candidate to go up against Obama because of Romneycare.

  • Another unexpectedly important force in Republican politics, Donald Trump, betrayed a bit of ignorance about how the U.S. government works. "Wow, the Supreme Court passed @ObamaCare. I guess @JusticeRoberts wanted to be a part of Georgetown society more than anyone knew."

  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential Romney running mate, tweeted, "Republicans must drive hard toward repeal, this is no time to go weak in the knees."

  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chair of the Republican Governors Association, says, "The only way to stop Barack Obama’s budget-busting health care takeover is by electing a new president," according to Politico.

  • Bill Burton, head of the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA, tweets, "The Romney spin really bleeding in: he won by losing. Now he can continue to promise not to impose on America what he imposed on Mass."

  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's former aide Brad Dayspring tweets, "THIS RT @patrickruffini: Republican political consultants rejoice." He later added, "SCOTUS' job is to determine constitutionality & they have. From a purely political perspective this is a terrible ruling for Democrats."

  • Former Bush administration official and Wisconsin Senate candidate Tommy Thompson tweets, "The #SCOTUS didn’t strike down #Obamacare, but an R controlled Congress still can. I pledge to repeal and replace it."
  • Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, a Senate candidate, issues one of the first Republican reactions to the ruling. His statement says, "Today’s ruling does not end the need for continued opposition to this offensive overreach into the most private aspect of Americans’ lives.  With this decision, I, my conservative colleagues and a substantial majority of Americans will redouble our campaign to defund and repeal all of Obamacare."
  • Florida CFO Jeff Atwater was apparently watching CNN. He issued a statement calling the ruling a "landmark" that upholds "individual freedom and limited government." The statement was retracted. He is among the many who sent out celebratory tweets, only to delete them. You can see more at BuzzFeed.
  • The Oklahoma Republican Party released a statement saying, ""The Supreme Court has provided us one more strong argument for why Governor Romney must defeat Barack Obama this November. Governor Romney has been crystal clear: he will repeal and replace Obamacare."
  • Former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer tweets, "I miss Justice Harriet Miers." Miers was the White House counsel Bush nominated to the Supreme Court who withdrew her nomination after outrage that she was unqualified. Bush nominated Chief Justice John Roberts instead.
  • And this is how the Internet reacted:

We had a few previews of how politicians would react to whatever the court ruled. Rush Limbaugh told listeners Wednesday that House Speaker John Boehner called him and promised Republicans wouldn't immediately try to replace Obamacare if it was struck down. It wasn't, so the focus will be repeal. Limbaugh said, "He called a lot of people and he was telling us what the Republican plan is. And it was repeal, repeal, repeal. Regardless of what happens. … He made it clear that repeal — and not repeal and replace, but repeal — was going to be the focal point for the House Republicans.”

(As all of Washington waited for the Supreme Court to issue its ruling on Obamacare, iConstituent's Andrew Foxwell tweeted the beautifully perfect image above right.)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.