Political operatives duel as Supreme Court opens healthcare hearing

Beginning Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in favor of and against the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

Beginning Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a piece of legislation the Obama administration got through a Democrat-dominated Congress two years ago last Friday.

Healthcare reform has been a contentious topic on the campaign trail as the Republican presidential candidates have all promised to repeal the ACA and President Obama's re-election team has fought to defend it. Last week, the Obama campaign decided to embrace the derisive "Obamacare" label that its critics have used in political rhetoric.

The campaign began an effort through emails, T-shirts, bumper stickers, social media, and campaign spokespeople and surrogates to encourage supporters to share why they "like Obamacare," and to show their passion for it. "Ilikeobamacare" was the top trending topic on Twitter on Friday. White House senior adviser David Plouffe, a main architect of the president's 2008 campaign, made the rounds on Sunday morning shows, saying Republicans would come to "regret" their creation of the "Obamacare" label.

Meanwhile, the GOP's frontrunner for the nomination, Mitt Romney, wrote an Op-Ed in USA Today calling for the repeal of ACA. In it, Romney called the program "an unfolding disaster for the American economy, a budget-busting entitlement, and a dramatic new federal intrusion into our lives."

Complicating Romney's stance on the issue - which his fellow Republicans have repeatedly pointed out during campaigning - is that as governor of Massachusetts, Romney passed a very similar healthcare law in 2006, which required all residents to acquire health insurance. The former governor has defended his decision by saying he supports states' rights to choose what is right among their borders and constituents, rather than a nationwide solution to healthcare.

This weekend, Rick Santorum, who is also hoping to be the Republican nominee for president, called Romney the "worst Republican in the country" to put up against Obama in the fall precisely because of his record on healthcare.

On Saturday, Santorum won the Republican primary in Lousiana, but Romney remains far ahead in delegates, including those collected in Illinois, where he won the primary last Tuesday.

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