Republicans Using Healthcare Ruling to Rally Conservatives

An email from Romney to Republican supporters urges them to donate money to put a stop to the "failed policies" of Obama.

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the Supreme Court's healthcare ruling in Washington, D.C.

The battle lines are forming for the next phase of the debate over healthcare reform.

Republicans are using the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling that President Obama's healthcare law is constitutional to rally conservatives who believe the law is a flagrant abuse of government power because it requires individuals to buy health insurance.

The latest e-mail fund-raising appeal by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney features senior Romney adviser Matt Rhoades arguing that, "The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare. This means to repeal Obamacare we need to replace Barack Obama." The email to supporters urges them to "donate $10 or more to put a stop to the failed policies of Barack Obama."

GOP governors are also displeased with the court ruling. State executives including Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana are beating the drums of opposition, expressing hope that Congress will repeal the law as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Democrats are using the decision to solidify support within their own base and to undermine Romney with independent voters.

[Photos: At The Supreme Court]

The Democrats' latest tactic is to attack Romney for opposing the Obama healthcare law simply to curry favor among die-hard conservatives even though he supported similar legislation at the state level when he was governor of Massachusetts. Among those making that argument were spokesmen and surrogates for the Obama re-election campaign over the weekend.

Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Congress should now focus on creating jobs and not re-litigate health care legislation.

The latest Reuters/Ipsos online poll finds that Americans are deeply split on the high court ruling, although support for the Obama law has increased by 5 percent to 48 percent since the justices announced their decision last week.

All this suggests that the issue of health care will be a prominent one in the runup to the November election.

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

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