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Obama quiet on healthcare ruling in weekly address

June 30, 2012|By Melanie Mason
(Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images )

This week's presidential radio address -- airing two days after the Supreme Court handed President Obama a major victory in upholding his healthcare law -- seemed to offer a prime chance for the president to reflect on the court's monumental ruling.

So, how many times did the president say the words "healthcare" or "the Supreme Court" or "Chief Justice John Roberts?"

Zero.
The decision garnered no mention in the president's address; instead, Obama spoke from Colorado Springs, where a massive wildfire has raged for the past week, destroying at least 346 homes and causing at least two deaths. Tens of thousands of homes have been evacuated.
"I know this is a little bit unusual -- we don't usually do weekly addresses like this, but I thought it was a good opportunity for us to actually focus attention on a problem that's going on here in Colorado Springs," Obama said in the address. "We never know when it might be our community that's threatened, and it's important that we're there for them."Obama toured parts of the devastated areas on Friday and said officials had made progress in containing the fire. For his radio address, he focused most of his remarks praising the firefighters and first responders who have been battling the blaze.

"It's important that we appreciate what they do not just when our own communities are struck by disaster," Obama said. "It's important that we remember what they do each and every single day, and that we continue to provide support to our first responders, our emergency management folks, our firefighters, our military -- everybody who helps secure our liberty and our security each and every day."
Republicans, meanwhile, were eager to call attention to the Supreme Court's ruling. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, delivering the weekly Republican radio address, assailed the healthcare law from the very start of his remarks.
Referring to the court's majority opinion -- authored by Chief Justice John Roberts -- that upheld the individual mandate as constitutional under Congress's authority to impose taxes, Barrasso said the court "ruled that the president’s healthcare law is what the President claimed it was not: a new tax. ... Now, all of America knows the truth."
The GOP quickly embraced the branding of the mandate as a tax as a way to further attack the healthcare law, in hopes of rallying opponents to the legislation to show up to the polls (and vote Republican) in November.
“There should be no doubt," Barrasso said. "Republicans in Congress will fight to repeal the President's failed health care law."
Indeed, House Republicans have already scheduled a vote to repeal the healthcare act on July 11. The vote is symbolic; although the repeal measure could pass the Republican-held House, it does not have much of a future in the Senate, which the Democrats control.
melanie.mason@latimes.com

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