President Obama spoke from the East Room this afternoon, briefly heralding the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act, before spending some time explaining the benefits of the law that so many Americans don't understand.
The full transcript of the president's remarks is online, but I was struck by the way in which Obama characterized the near future in a campaign-style frame: do you want to go forward or backward?
"The highest Court in the land has now spoken. We will continue to implement this law. And we'll work together to improve on it where we can. But what we won't do -- what the country can't afford to do -- is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.
"With today's announcement, it's time for us to move forward -- to implement and, where necessary, improve on this law. And now is the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time: putting people back to work, paying down our debt, and building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead.
"But today, I'm as confident as ever that when we look back five years from now, or 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, we'll be better off because we had the courage to pass this law and keep moving forward."
Polls make it clear that the law isn't popular (though polls make it equally clear that the component parts of the law are popular), but the president seems to believe Americans wouldn't welcome yet another protracted debate over health care. The subtext of today's message seemed to be, "Remember how miserable we were, fighting for a year over health care? Republicans want to do all of that over again, and this time, the end game means fewer benefits for working families."
Incidentally, Obama spent a little time in his remarks talking about a woman named Natoma Canfield, whose letter the president framed and placed on his office wall. For those who aren't familiar with her story, here's some background on Natoma.