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What Romney will say after Obamacare decision

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Photo - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns at Carter Machinery Company, Inc., in Salem, Va., Tuesday, June 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns at Carter Machinery Company, Inc., in Salem, Va., Tuesday, June 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Politics,Beltway Confidential,Byron York

The Romney campaign has prepared responses for whatever might happen Thursday in the Supreme Court Obamacare case.  And whatever the speculation about Romney’s position, those responses are not all that different from one another.

Romney has already telegraphed what he will say if the health care law is struck down, in whole or in part.  In that case, Romney will remind voters that in 2009 and 2010, when Americans were desperate for their president to devote all his time to fixing the economy and creating jobs, Barack Obama instead passed a huge, intrusive, and expensive health care bill.  And if the Court finds Obamacare unconstitutional, Romney will say Obama’s term in office has been a waste of time and energy — at the worst possible time.

“If Obamacare is not deemed constitutional, then the first three-and-a-half years of this president’s term will have been wasted on something that has not helped the American people,” Romney said Tuesday at a rally in Salem, Virginia.  Obama neglected the recovery in favor of health care, Romney will say, and in the end Americans got neither recovery nor health care. Romney will undoubtedly say that many, many times if the Court rules against the White House.

But what if Obamacare is upheld?  Campaign aides point out that on the stump Romney has not been arguing that Obamacare is unconstitutional.  He’s been arguing that it’s a bad law.  That won’t change if the Supreme Court decides that Obamacare passes the minimum possible standard — that is, if it is constitutional.  In that case, Romney will likely repeat what he has been saying up to now: Obama chose national health care over recovery and created a vast, intrusive, and expensive system that will slow, rather than speed, economic recovery — and should be repealed immediately.

In Team Romney’s view, a Court decision upholding Obamacare would reinforce the argument that only an election can change the law.  In that scenario, the ballot box becomes the next, and last, court of appeals.  Look for Romney to point that out if the Court rules in favor of the White House.

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Byron York

Chief Political Correspondent
The Washington Examiner