How the presidential candidates react to Thursday's ruling will set the tone for the coming debate over health care.
The Supreme Court's decision issued Thursday to uphold the Affordable Care Act was, oddly enough, thought to be the best possible outcome for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney alike. For Obama, it's vindication for his signature policy accomplishment -- by a conservative court, no less; for Romney, it keeps in play his No. 1 argument to many conservatives -- "if you want to get rid of Obamacare, you've got to elect me."
It's still an open question, though, how the candidates will respond to the court's decision. Both were expected to speak in Washington Thursday. Here are a few questions we have for them:
1. Will he gloat? The temptation to take a victory lap will surely be strong for the White House. (As Patrick Gaspard, the executive director of the Democratic National Committee, put it on Twitter shortly after the ruling: "It's constitutional. Bitches.") But the law remains unpopular and poorly understood; too jubilant a response from the president could irritate those still leery of the legislation.
2. Will he throw it back on Romney? Obama has a choice -- go statesmanlike, or go political. The high road is nice, but it doesn't necessarily score you any points against your opponent. Will the president take the opportunity to call out Romney for his past support of health-care mandates -- in Massachusetts and nationally -- and/or press him on his plans for an alternative?