President Obama speaks at the White House following the Supreme Court's… (Luke Sharrett / Getty Images )
WASHINGTON – President Obama claimed victory Thursday in the Supreme Court decision to uphold his healthcare law, declaring it a win for the American people rather than for him politically.
In a brief address from the White House, Obama embraced the court decision as an affirmation of his signature legislative accomplishment and alluded subtly to his reelection campaign.
“The highest court in the land has now spoken,” Obama said. “What we won’t do, what the country can’t afford to do, is re-fight the political battles of two years ago or go back to the way things were.”
The country must now keep moving “forward,” he said, using the official catchword of his campaign.
The statement was a direct challenge to Republicans, who are now vowing to repeal the law they refer to as “Obamacare.”
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said the court decision only underscores the need for Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. Senate Republicans argued that the public doesn’t have faith in the law.
“The Democrat healthcare law has made things worse,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the floor. “Americans want it repealed, and that’s precisely what we intend to do. Americans want us to start over. And today’s decision does nothing to change that.”
But in his short address, Obama made clear what his spin strategy will be – to frame the healthcare debate as yesterday’s fight.
“With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward to implement and where necessary improve on this law,” Obama said. “Now is the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time … building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead.”