By Justin Sink - 06/27/12 09:58 PM EDT
Mitt Romney jabbed at the White House on Wednesday, suggesting President Obama and his top aides are having a sleepless night ahead of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on the healthcare law.
“My guess is they’re not sleeping real well at the White House tonight — that’s the way it ought to be,” Romney said of the pending decision during a campaign speech in Virginia.
“This is a decision of whether or not Obamacare is constitutional, whether it will pass constitutional muster, and so we're all waiting to see what the court will decide,” Romney said. “One thing we already know — it is still bad policy and has to go. And if I'm elected we're going to repeal and replace it. If, on the other hand, the court strikes it down, well then they'll be doing some of my work for me.”
Romney went on to rail against the law, arguing that it increased government spending and forced “government bureaucrats between us and our doctors.”
“He's adding trillions of dollars to federal spending. We don't need more debt, we don't need more deficit, we can't pass along these burdens to the next generation,” Romney said.
The Republican hopeful went on to pledge that he would do everything in his power to gut the act from the White House if it is upheld as constitutional on Thursday.
“For these among many other reasons, whatever the Supreme Court does tomorrow, one thing we know — if I’m elected president we're going to get rid of Obamacare,” Romney said.
Romney also accused Obama of “moral failure” in pursuing health care reform, rather than focusing his efforts solely on the economic recovery.
“His policies were not focused on creating jobs. They were focused on implementing his liberal agenda,” Romney said.
Returning to his earlier remark, Romney predicted “there's going to be a lot of sleepless nights in the White House in the next few months.”
“The American people don't like it, and the more they learn about it, the more they don't like it,” Romney said.
Romney's sentiments were echoed in introductory remarks before the crowded event in a Northern Virginia office park. Each mention of the possibility the Supreme Court might overturn the law was met with loud cheers from the energized crowd.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, widely regarded as a possible Romney running mate, called the healthcare law “the greatest power grab in the history of the United States.”
“All that time when President Mitt Romney would have been focusing on jobs, this president is focusing on unfunded mandates on the state and taking over a health care system by the federal government,” McDonnell said. “It's no wonder the nation and the economy is now struggling and the recovery is so slow.”
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who led an early push to sue the federal government over the law, said Thursday would decide “whether or not we have a limited federal government or not or whether the un-affordable care act is going to stand.”
President Obama defended his signature first-term achievement at a fundraiser in Miami Tuesday night, calling the legislation "the right thing to do."
“I believe it was right to make sure that over three million young people can stay on their parent’s health insurance plan,” the president said. “I believe it was right to provide more discounts for seniors on their prescription drugs. I believe it was right to make sure that everybody in this country gets decent healthcare and is not bankrupt when they get sick.
“That’s what I believe,” he continued. “But it’s up to you. You decide.”
The event Wednesday was Romney's second consecutive day of campaigning in Virginia, a crucial swing state whose 13 electoral votes he will likely need to win to secure the White House. Recent polling of the state shows the candidates in a virtual dead heat, with President Obama dominating in the Washington, D.C. suburbs and Romney buoyed by the remainder of the state.
The event Wednesday in Sterling, Va., targeted the business community surrounding Dulles Airport, a technology and defense corridor that leans conservative — but is highly dependent on federal spending. Romney will need to make inroads in the area to carry the state in the fall, and tailored his economic message to the Northern Virginia audience.
“I'm counting on Virginia to do the right thing, and helps us get our country back on track,” Romney said.
This story was updated at 7:06 p.m.