Mitt Romney prepares for Supreme Court decision on health care law

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s health care law may be two days away, but Mitt Romney on Tuesday offered a preview of how he’ll respond.

If the law is rejected, Romney plans to argue that Obama wasted both his time, and the time of the American people, by pursuing a policy that doesn’t pass constitutional muster. If the law is upheld, Romney would argue that opponents need to elect him so that he can overturn it himself.

“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 during a campaign stop in Salem, Va. “If it is deemed to stand, then I’ll tell you one thing: We’re going to have to have a president—and I’m that one—that’s going to get rid of Obamacare. We’re going to stop it on Day 1.”

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The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the health care law on Thursday, a much-awaited decision that could significantly shift the contours of the presidential race.

President Obama on Tuesday defended the law, which still doesn’t fare well in public opinion polls.

“The American people understand that we’re not going to make progress by going backwards,” Obama said at an Atlanta fundraiser. “They understand we don’t need to refight this battle over health care. It’s the right thing to do that we’ve got 3 million young people who are on their parents’ health insurance plans that didn’t have it before. It’s the right thing to do to give seniors discounts on their prescription drugs. It’s the right thing to do to give 30 million Americans health insurance that didn’t have it before.”

At one point, the crowd booed at the mention of “Mr. Romney.”

“Mr. Romney is a patriotic American,” Obama said. “He’s got a beautiful family. He’s been very successful in his life.”

During his campaign stop on Tuesday, Romney also expanded on his comments on the Supreme Court decision on Monday that ruled against several parts of the controversial Arizona immigration law.

“The Supreme Court had to step in because states had to step in, states looking to find a way to solve the problems he didn’t address, tried to address it in their own ways, and now the Supreme Court’s looked at it,” Romney said. “And what we’re left with is a bit of a muddle.”