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"Now the American people are going to say, ‘Now what’s in that for me?’" Harkin said. "As long as Democrats are willing to go out there and positively say, ‘Look, now you are guaranteed that you will get affordable health insurance if you had breast cancer in the past ... preventive care, free mammograms. ... And they (Republicans) want to take it away from you. You have it now and they want to take it away from you. If you want it taken away from you, you just go ahead and vote for them.’"
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the presidential nominee in 2004, said Democrats need to seize the chance.
"I think it’s very important to do what wasn’t done sufficiently before," Kerry said.
The Republican response? Bring it on.
The court ruling gave clarity to the GOP call for repeal — electing Republican candidates in November is the only way now to ensure the law’s demise. In a fundraising appeal within hours of the court announcement, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said, "Now we know — four seats to repeal Obamacare," a reference to the net number that the GOP needs to seize the Senate majority.
Republicans also used the ruling to craft a new attack line. Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion said the law’s requirement that Americans purchase health care is a tax, which Republicans argued contradicted Obama and Democrats who insist they aren’t raising taxes on the poor and middle class.
"The court blew the president’s cover," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.
The tax debate will be at the forefront when the House votes the week of July 9 to overturn the law, a largely symbolic step with a Democratic-controlled Senate but one that will put Democrats and Republicans on record and provide fodder for the campaign.
Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.
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