President Obama is hitting the road this week with a Supreme Court victory on health care at his back, making a whistle-stop bus tour through two of the election's most hotly contested states: Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The bus tour, the first of the president's re-election campaign, was originally orchestrated to allow Obama to connect with middle-class voters unable to attend the high-dollar fundraisers at which Obama spend most of his campaign time this year.
Now that the nation's highest court upheld his health care law, Obama can also use the two-day trek to tout the law's most popular provisions and rebuke Republicans who oppose it.
Obama aides say the court's ruling has even freed the president to talk about one of the law's most unpopular provision, the individual mandate that requires everyone to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.
Obama is expected to offer voters plenty of reminders that the mandate was modeled after a law that his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, implemented as governor of Massachusetts.
"It is important to remember this," said White House spokesman Jay Carney, "that the penalty ... is modeled exactly on the penalty that exists in the health care reform that was promoted and signed into law by Gov. Romney in Massachusetts."
Democrats are eager to make the connection with Romney after the court ruled that the mandate amounts to a tax, opening a whole new line of attack for Romney and the Republicans.
The White House has already started pushing back on those claims, with Carney claiming that anyone who calls the provision a tax is lying.
"They're not telling the truth," Carney said of Republicans.
Administration officials say the mandate isn't a tax because people have the option of buying insurance or paying a penalty. Taxes, they noted, are not optional.
"This is not -- you can call it what you want, but it is affecting 1 percent of the population, because most people either have health insurance or will do the responsible thing, and if they can afford health insurance they will purchase it," Carney said.
While Obama motors through Ohio and Pennsylvania -- two states he won in 2008 only to see his popularity drop to below 50 percent in both -- House Republicans back in Washington will be gearing up for a July 11 vote against his health care law.
Obama will use his time on the campaign trail to cast Republicans as obsessed with the past while he remains focused on the future. Republicans, meanwhile, will be arguing that Obama is spending more time campaigning when he should be governing.
The last time Obama rode a bus was last August, after the federal government had nearly defaulted on its debt and Obama's approval ratings had tanked to an all-time low.
Obama took a lot of heat for that trip, which the White House billed as an opportunity for him to talk with the people about jobs and the economy. Romney at the time dubbed the trip the "magical misery tour" and said Obama appears "more interested in campaigning in swing states than working to solve the economic crisis that is crushing the middle class."