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Conservative Groups Blast "Tyranny" Of ObamaCare's Birth Control Requirements


Says one anti-abortion advocate: “They've forced every pro-life American to pay for abortions.”

A protester outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Image by SAUL LOEB / Getty Images

The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act means that its requirement that most employers cover birth control for their employees will stand as well. Anti-abortion groups reacted with anger Thursday, but pledged to continue the fight, with some calling for the removal of Supreme Court justices.

Keith Mason, president of anti-abortion group Personhood USA, told BuzzFeed Shift the ruling was "the largest expansion of government tyranny that I've ever seen." He added, "it perhaps begs the question of whether electing a president with an 'R' next to his name is a good strategy, because Roberts has sold out the right." By upholding the law, he said the Court had "forced every pro-life American to pay for abortions and abortion-causing drugs."

Asked whether he considered birth control measures "abortion-causing drugs," he said that "some don't, some do." He added that anti-abortion advocates needed to start talking about "recusing judges" (he likely meant to refer to impeachment, not recusal) and that "we'll be watching those who are elected already to see what they actually do in light of this tyranny." Anti-abortion advocates have been concerned that the ACA would open the door for federal funding to pay for abortions, despite the administration's assurances that it won't.

The conservative group Concerned Women for America had a similar take. Spokeswoman Alice Stewart told BuzzFeed Shift that her group "supports the protection of all innocent human life from conception until natural death; since the individual mandate remains in place, this continues to restrict the religious freedoms of millions of America."

The US Council of Catholic Bishops has long opposed the requirement that employers cover birth control — they also opposed Obama's later accommodation allowing religious employers to opt out, but stipulating that insurance companies themselves must then provide the coverage. In a statement today, the USCCB expressed their displeasure with the ruling, arguing that the ACA's lack of "conscience protection" for religious employers would allow the government to force such employers "to cover sterilization and contraception, including abortifacient drugs."

For one group, this isn't the end. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has several pending lawsuits attacking the Affordable Care Act from a different direction: they're concerned not with Congress's power to mandate that people buy coverage, as the Supreme Court was this time around, but with the birth-control coverage requirements. On a conference call today, Becket Fund's general counsel Kyle Duncan called Obama's allowing religious employers to opt out a mere "accounting gimmick," and senior counsel Mark Rienzi said the Fund's lawsuitswould "forge ahead" in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision. The decision, he said, "clears the decks" for other lawsuits to go forward.

Some at the Becket Fund even cast the ruling as a good thing. Senior Counsel Hannah Smith said the language of the Roberts opinion made clear that the ACA "is still subject to legal challenge." And Duncan said that the Supreme Court's decision today not to strike the law down laid the groundwork for a later decision that would be specifically about religious liberty concerns — "and that will be a good thing for religious liberty."

Abortion rights groups, meanwhile, are applauding the Court's decision. In a statement, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said that the ACA expands access not just to birth control but also to cancer screenings and visits to gynecologists. She called it "the greatest advance in women’s health in a generation."

Update: Chuck Donovan, spokesman for the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, told BuzzFeed Shift his group hadn't expected today's ruling to affect birth control coverage requirements in the ACA, unless it overturned the whole law. He was more sanguine about the legal challenges being brought by the Becket Fund, and added that he hoped that upcoming elections would bring in more legislators who were supportive of religious and conscience exemptions to birth control coverage.

He also explained that his group was concerned the ACA would allow Americans to use federal subsidies to purchase insurance on the open market that would include abortion coverage; SBA List does not consider the requirement that consumers pay for this portion of coverage themselves to be a sufficient remedy. They would prefer that the insurance plans involved exclude abortion coverage entirely, and that those who want such coverage purchase a separate rider.

Ann Coulter Saw This Coming


Coulter predicted conservative outrage at Roberts a full seven years ago.

Ann Coulter prophesied the coming split between Chief Justice Roberts and conservatives back in 2005, writing that "Stealth nominees have never turned out to be a pleasant surprise for conservatives."

After pretending to consider various women and minorities for the Supreme Court these past few weeks, President Bush decided to disappoint all the groups he had just ginned up and nominate a white male.

So all we know about him for sure is that he can't dance and he probably doesn't know who Jay-Z is. Other than that, he is a blank slate. Tabula rasa. Big zippo. Nada. Oh, yeah ... We also know he's argued cases before the Supreme Court. Big deal; so has Larry Flynt's attorney.

But unfortunately, other than that that, we don't know much about John Roberts. Stealth nominees have never turned out to be a pleasant surprise for conservatives. Never. Not ever.

Since the announcement, court-watchers have been like the old Kremlinologists from Soviet days looking for clues as to what kind of justice Roberts will be.

Coulter titled the post "SOUTER IN ROBERTS' CLOTHING" and attacked Roberts for having defended children on welfare during his time as a lawyer.

Today, conservatives are attacking Roberts from all corners for having provided the swing vote that upheld Obamacare. His Wikipedia page was even briefly changed to say, "Chief Traitor."

I reached out to Coulter by email to see what he had to say about her prescience back in the Bush years.

She said she had no time to talk, but "Remember: always trust Ann Coulter," she told BuzzFeed.

In 2008, Obama Attacked McCain For Health Care Taxes


The Supreme Court ruled today that President Obama's individual mandate to buy health care is permissible because it's a tax. In 2008, then Senator Barack Obama attacked John McCain during his first run for the White House for his health care plan's taxes, which he dubbed “the McCain tax.”

Source: youtube.com

RomneyCare Included "Tax" To Ensure Participation


A Democrat sends along this video from 2006 of Mitt Romney describing his Massachusetts health care law. It included a “tax” to compel the wealthy to buy insurance — much like President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Source: youtube.com

“For those that have higher incomes, we expect them to have health insurance. And if they don't we're going to withhold their tax refund or put in place other penalties to assure that everybody comes in the system."

8 Republicans Who Supported The Individual Mandate


The Supreme Court ruled today that ObamaCare, and the individual mandate, are not unconstitutional. Republicans responded with calls for a full repeal. Here are nine Republicans who at one time supported an individual mandate.

Mitt Romney

Source: youtube.com

Newt Gingrich

Source: youtube.com

Tommy Thompson

Source: youtube.com

Chuck Grassley

Source: youtube.com

View Entire List ›

Dingell Vs. Issa


Did you watch Congress argue about holding the U.S. Attorney General in contempt? It was… something!

Ryan Gosling Responds To Supreme Court Ruling On ObamaCare


Of course there's a Ryan Gosling meme for the SCOTUS decision on ObamaCare.

It turns out the ladies behind HuffingtonPost Women are the creators of this new meme. Read more about it here.

View Entire List ›

Massachusetts Dems Thank Teddy


Today is his big day, posthumously.

Via: massdems.org

The Massachusetts Democratic Party has organized a "Thank You Teddy!" rally in Boston to celebrate the Supreme Court's decision this morning — and as a reminder that Ted Kennedy, the longtime senior senator from Massachusetts, was a key champion of universal health care.

"Senator Ted Kennedy fought his entire life for this cause and believed that access to quality health care was a matter of right and not a privilege," the Democrats write on their website. "Tonight, we thank and honor Senator Kennedy for his work."

Nancy Pelosi also paid tribute to Kennedy today, saying "I knew that when he left us he would go to heaven and help pass the bill."

ObamaCare Hits 24 On The Bieber Scale™


Twitter mentions of “ObamaCare” were 24 times more common than Twitter-king Justin Bieber just after 10:00 am today, while “SCOTUS” was 19 times more frequently mentioned than the pop star.

Source: analytics.topsy.com

REMIX: Democrats Walk Out On The Contempt Vote Of Attorney General Eric Holder


Democrats walked out on the vote by House Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over the Fast and Furious scandal. We made the most exciting thing to hit C-SPAN today more exciting.

Source: youtube.com

Health Care Day In Romneyland


Eager anticipation turns to mere efficiency. “It focuses the change side of the equation to one solution: Support Romney,” says Stevens.

Image by Alex Wong / Getty Images

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Eighteen hours before news that the Supreme Court had upheld the Affordable Care Act was splashed across cable news chyrons, Mitt Romney stood confidently in front of a crowd of roaring partisans at a Virginia electrical manufacturing warehouse, and winked at its coming demise.

"My guess is they're not sleeping real well in the White House tonight!" he said tauntingly, eliciting hearty cheers from his audience. "That's the way it ought to be!"

The room had the energy of a high school pep rally the night before a big game where the home team was expected to clobber its rivals. On stage, Romney was joined by Tea Party heroes Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia's Attorney General, and Gov. Bob McDonnell, who rallied the crowd with dark warnings about legislation the governor called "the greatest power grab in the history of America."

Off stage, aides grinned as they chatted coyly with reporters about plans for the next day. The campaign hadn't yet advised an official event with Romney on Thursday, but they told press to be in the lobby of the Washington Hilton late in the morning, their suitcases in hand.

Said one smiling aide, "It's going to be fun."

The next morning, reporters and campaign aides milled around the hotel's lounge, nibbling on bran muffins, checking their smartphones ever few seconds, and never wandering far from a flatscreen TV, where cable news pundits were predicting — gleefully on Fox, and mournfully on MSNBC — the Court-ordered death of President Obama's signature legislative achievement.

While awaiting the news, BuzzFeed e-mailed senior Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom to ask whether the candidate would be expounding on his own health care proposals in the future. His response arrived about 30 minutes before the ruling came down: "Gov. Romney has described what he'd put in place to replace Obamacare. The onus is on President Obama to say what he will do in the event the health care law is gutted."

He didn't mention the possibility of the law's survival.

Half an hour later, when Twitter feeds exploded with the news that the law would not, in fact, be gutted, the campaign's senior staff in Boston went dark. Phone calls went unanswered, e-mails went unreturned.

Romney was in his Hilton suite with a smattering of staffers and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens when he heard the news, according to aides. Downstairs, reporters were frantically hitting the refresh buttons on their laptops, spontaneously announcing half-processed developments to each other as they discovered them.

"The mandate has been upheld." "Roberts wrote the majority opinion." "Looks like it was 5-4." "CNN's still saying it was struck down."

Not long after the news broke, junior campaign aides shepherded reporters out of the hotel, into a bus, and on to a D.C. rooftop where Romney spoke at a podium carrying a sign that read, "REPEAL & REPLACE OBAMACARE."

Aides later insisted that they didn't have a separate sign ready in case the Court's ruling made "repeal" unnecessary. Whatever the case, the four-minute remarks were delivered seamlessly, and they were enough to allow the candidate to retreat to radio silence for the rest of the afternoon.

At the end of the day, as senior staff began firing up their Blackberries again, it was clear the talking points had been circulated. It was a great day for Mitt Romney! Look at all the cash rolling in! Look at the renewed excitement on the Right!

And, crucially, they had definitely not been caught off guard by the Court's decision.

"We didn't know one way or the other how the Court would rule," said Fehrnstrom.

Senior adviser Stuart Stevens added, "To be honest, I didn't really speculate a lot which way this would go. I'm just not one of those guys who do the Final Four bracket thing or go deep into the possible draft picks on draft day. I find it hard enough keeping up with what is happening to speculate on what might happen."

But if Romney shared his staff's enthusiasm for the day's news, he didn't make it known to the press corps that boarded his plane from Washington to Newark, where he was scheduled to appear with Donald Trump at a Manhattan fundraiser. As reporters sat in the back of the plane, unwinding from the day's adrenaline rush and dining on grilled chicken salads, Romney stayed out of sight, not even come back to reiterate his message or put on a happy face. He left the spinning to his advisers.

"There is nothing about the ruling that makes you like Obamacare more," Stevens told BuzzFeed. "No one will be more for it because it is ruled a tax increase. It focuses the change side of the equation to one solution: Support Romney."

"We've raised a ton of money today from new voters," he continued. "Pretty clear path from here forward."

Rick Santorum Trashes RomneyCare


“I think what you've seen is that it hasn't worked in Massachusetts.” With surrogates like these…

Source: youtube.com

Health Care Verdict Drives Flood Of Small Contributions To Romney


Supreme Court's health care sparks best day of small-dollar Romney fundraising of the campaign. $4.6 million from over 47,000 donors in first 24 hours. UPDATED

Image by Alex Wong / Getty Images

Thursday's Supreme Court ruling upholding the controversial Affordable Care Act sparked a flood of donations to Mitt Romney, breaking campaign records.

Romney, who has pledged to begin the process of repealing the bill on his first day in office, brought in over $3.2 million in online donations from more than 30,000 individual donors in the first 11 hours after the ruling, according to press secretary Andrea Saul. By contrast, in the entire month of May, Romney's first month as the presumptive Republican nominee, the candidate listed 27,661 individual donations who reached the $200 reporting threshold on Federal Election Commission filings.

The dollar-amount puts the campaign ahead of its $2.5 million-per-day May average — and that excludes the more than $2 million raised from a fundraiser tonight at the home of investor and financial adviser Martin Zweig that also features Donald Trump.

"The American people don't want – and know the country can't afford – Obamacare," Saul said in a statement to BuzzFeed. "Today’s decision has reinforced the fact that the only way to get rid of Obamacare is to defeat President Obama and voters are energized to do just that."

The Obama campaign repeatedly declined to release information about their fundraising after the decision.

Health Care Story Burns Itself Out


Thursday's conflagration was hot and fast and lucrative. Now it's time to move on.

Image by Alex Brandon / AP

The first landmark Supreme Court ruling of the present media era, the decision to uphold President Obama’s health care law, is already, firmly, yesterday’s news.

The news cycle now burns hotter around big news than it ever has. More people write more words on more platforms, and get them to readers faster. Google News collected more than 25,000 news articles related to health care in 24 hours. In its first four hours, decision sparked more than 1.9 million Twitter mentions of terms related to the ruling, including ObamaCare, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Health Care, and Affordable Care Act. At its peak, Twitter had 24 times as many mentions of the "Obamacare" than of its mainstay, pop star Justin Bieber.

Nexis has collected more than 1,000 news articles referencing Chief Justice John Roberts in the past day. By contrast, the news clipping service records just 227 mentions of then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist in the 24 hours after the landmark Bush v. Gore decision.

But the hotter media fire also burns faster than it ever has. Yesterday’s coverage and commentary burned through not just the immediate implications, but what newspaper editors used to call the “second day” stories — the political and policy implications of the ruling — and then through fast-forwarded cycle of analysis that used to take weeks. It proceeded roughly like this: The ruling was a huge victory for President Obama, everyone said instantly; Chief Justice Roberts, however, scored legal victories in limiting the Commerce Clause, so this was really a victory for the right, noted analysts on both sides, by noon; Mitt Romney, political writers argued around the same time, will use the decision to rally his base; but, another wave of stories noted a few hours later, his own health care experiments will make that difficult, and it will matter more in down-ballot races.

By afternoon, the counter-intuitive take— that Obama had won the policy battle, but conservatives had won the jurisprudential war — was conventional wisdom, and analysts moved on again.

“No, Roberts’ Ruling Didn’t Doom Liberalism,” wrote Mother Jones’ Adam Serwer.

Where a media storm once augured a topic that could consume a campaign for weeks or months, the new media cycle tends to consume its fuel and to exhaust itself. The most interesting stories that remain are the ones with the smallest audience and the least political impact: The analysis of what exactly Chief Justice John Roberts did, why, and what it will mean for the next decades of American law.

The substance of the ruling, meanwhile, while somewhat unexpected, has done little to change the underlying issue of the campaign — the state of the economy and joblessness — and has only clarified the left-right divide over the unpopular health care law. Republicans will now assure voters that the only way to repeal the law is to vote for them, an argument that may carry more weight in down-ballot races than for Romney, whose past support for the individual mandate muddles his message. Obama can claim the aura of a winner and will continue to sell the bill’s popular features.

But both campaigns, like the media, also have good reason to move on, as a slow summer week interrupted by the July 4 holiday approaches. For Obama, the health care measure’s abiding unpopularity means that he is, at best, mounting a spirited defense. Romney, meanwhile, has centered his campaign on the clear case that the American economy is broken and he can fix it. He has avoided policy specifics, promising to “replace” the current health care legislation without advancing a specific plan. A campaign centered on health care policy — which might have come from a different Supreme Court verdict — would have pulled him into the weeds of an issue on which his own support for near-universal, government-backed health care in Massachusetts makes him a flawed messenger.

And the new media cycle accelerated campaign moves as well. Romney blanketed the web with fundraising appeals and filled his supporters emails with “Obamacare hurts job creators,” raising more than $4.2 million in online donations in under 24 hours. Obama, similarly, sent out 3 emails Thursday, including one headed “Let's win the damn election” and began selling t-shirts that invoke a famous Joe Biden gaffe: “Health Reform: Still A BFD.”

They, too, squeezed the topic nearly dry by the end of the day. And by Friday morning, Bieber had regained his pride of place on Twitter.

Via: analytics.topsy.com

Roberts' Long Game? The Grassroots Isn't Buying It


“It feels more like he's being incredibly naïve.”

Image by Mark Wilson / Getty Images

In the aftermath of President Obama's Supreme Court victory on health care, some conservatives — and liberals — have advanced a counter-narrative: instead of betraying the right, Chief Justice John Roberts outfoxed and boxed in his liberal colleagues, setting the stage for ever more conservative readings of cases in years to come, by his narrow interpretation of the Commerce Clause.

It may have placated some disappointed watchers on the right, but Tea Party types aren't buying it.

"Roberts may be playing the most brilliant game of 3-D chess, ever," said Dean Clancy, Legislative Counsel and Vice President of Health Care Policy for FreedomWorks. "But it feels more like he's being incredibly naïve."

"Any seeds he thinks he's planting for a future restoration of limited government will in all likelihood be killed off by the awesome tax power loophole he created today," Clancy said.

In a piece widely circulated on both sides Thursday, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein crystallized the argument that Roberts is a "political genius": "If, in the future, Roberts leads the court in cases that more radically constrain the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce, today’s decision will help insulate him from criticism. And he did it while rendering a decision that Democrats are applauding."

Conservative columnist George Will echoed Klein, arguing that "Conservatives won a substantial victory Thursday. The physics of American politics — actions provoking reactions — continues to move the crucial debate, about the nature of the American regime, toward conservatism."

But the core of conservative activists are rejecting this theory entirely. It's time to give up on the hope of a conservative court, they say, and focus everything on November.

"The American people will correct this mistake," said Jenny Beth Martin, founder of the Tea Party Patriots. "The solution is having people elected at every single level of government."

"I think that right now today people feel betrayed by the majority of the court," Martin said.

The new spin to soothe the Tea Party, as opposed to the more cerebral "long-game" idea offered by Will and others, is that the decision is just the shot of energy they need to make change happen on Election Day.

And politicians who made defeating Obamacare a centerpiece for the last two years now have a renewed rallying cry heading in to their own re-election

"One hundred percent of Obamacare has got to be ripped out by the roots," Iowa Rep. Steve King said Thursday on a Tea Party Patriots conference call.

"We know today the Supreme Court's not going to save us. They’re not even going to save the constitution," King said.

Senator Rand Paul spun out a similar argument yesterday, stating that "Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional."

On the conference call with King, Rep. Michele Bachmann raised the stakes higher, telling listeners that "Recognize this: we have to deal with the hand that’s been dealt to us, and we only have one chance."

"Because without a doubt, Barack Obama will keep socialism and the government takeover of health care," Bachmann said.

In their view, Obamacare, which gave rise to the Tea Party in 2010, has regained the shock value that activists hope will get conservatives to the polls, and get them to take out their credit cards. The Tea Party Patriots conference call on Thursday was arranged for the purpose of raising money, and organizers set a goal of over $30,000 for the call.

The surprise of the ruling will, for now, drown out the longer-term implications of the Roberts vote, the nuance of which doesn't mesh well with fundraising calls and get-out-the-vote rallying cries.

"Shocking, yes," said Freedomworks' Clancy. "Brilliant? I'm not persuaded yet."

Five Times The Obama Adminstration Said The Individual Mandate Was Not A Tax


The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that ObamaCare was constitutional, and that its central component, the individual mandate, is legal — because it is a tax. Here are five times the Obama Administration said the policy was not a tax.

President Obama

Source: youtube.com

White House Budget Director Jeffrey Zients

Source: youtube.com

Robert Gibbs in August 2010

Source: youtube.com

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Source: youtube.com

View Entire List ›

Stealth Romney Ad Quotes Hillary Clinton


“Shame on you, Barack Obama.”

Source: politico.com

Mitt Romney's Presidential campaign launched a stealth ad in Ohio, POLITICO first reported this morning.

The ad is also running in Iowa, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Nevada, according to the tracking service TVEyes. It began airing on morning television programs today.

The ad features Hillary Clinton attacking Obama during the contentious 2008 Democratic primary, for spending "millions of dollars perpetuating falsehoods."

She adds, "So shame on you, Barack Obama."

Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith sends this response to the ad:

“Mitt Romney might not like the facts of his private sector record: that he was a ‘pioneer’ of outsourcing and reaped massive profits while bankrupting companies and laying off workers, but that is exactly what he did as a corporate buyout specialist. And that’s not just Romney’s record, it’s what he’s proposing today. In fact, he’s promised to give budget-busting tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans on the middle class’ dime and allow corporations to avoid U.S. taxes on overseas profits, which would encourage companies to move jobs abroad. America can’t afford an outsourcer-in-chief in the Oval Office.”

O'Malley On The GOP: "Only Health Care Mandate They Embrace Are Trans-Vaginal Probes"


The Maryland governor suggests Republicans would prefer to secede.

Image by Susan Walsh / AP

Martin O'Malley, the Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, went off on his Republican colleagues in a press conference call today organized by the Obama campaign after the Surpeme Court's health care ruling.

"I suppose some of our colleagues want to get out of the union — by that I mean the United States,” he said, when asked if he expected Republican governors to try to get around the ObamaCare mandate that states set up health care exchanges.

Later on the call, O'Malley took a shot at Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell with respect to Republican opposition to the individual mandate, saying "The only health care mandate they embrace are trans-vaginal probes for women."

O'Malley has emerged as a top attack-dog surrogate for the Obama campaign, who has leveraged his role to raise his personal profile. He is mentioned as a potential 2016 Democratic presidential contender.

Former Clinton Aide: Three Reasons Romney Attack On Obama Won't Work


And: What will Bill say?

Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Mitt Romney's campaign launched a significant television ad buy in seven swing states today, using Hillary Clinton's words from the 2008 Democratic primary against President Barack Obama.

"So shame on you, Barack Obama," the now-Secretary of State is heard saying.

BuzzFeed reached out to a Clinton campaign campaign aide, who doubts the message will stick this year.

1) Anyone who's ever run against anyone thinks that the other side is distorting their views with negative ads, especially someone (like Hillary) who was losing at that time. So I'm not sure that the gripe from her will be shocking to voters. And I'm not even sure that using it would have been effective even had McCain used it in 2008, let alone four years later when it just feels so old.

2) I get that they're trying to leverage Hillary's current popularity, but the clip they used is from a time when she wasn't particularly popular, and is not one in which she is the most likeable I've ever seen her.

3) People like Obama. Doing an ad about him being an asshole is an attempt at persuasion, rather than deepening an already held view. The former is harder.

So, again, it's one of those ads that's fun to make, but I question how effective it will be.

Republicans: ObamaCare Is A "BFT"

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