WASHINGTON -- Speaking on Capitol Hill shortly after the Supreme Court's historic decision, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said the fact that health care reform was upheld as constitutional on Thursday makes it more urgent than ever for the American people to vote President Barack Obama out of office in November.
"If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have to replace President Obama," Romney said.
Romney said he agreed with the four dissenting justices, who ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act should be thrown out.
"What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States, and that is I will act to repeal Obamacare," he said. "Let's make sure we understand what the court did and did not do. What the court did today was say that Obamacare does not violate the Constitution. What they did not do was say that Obamacare is good law or good policy. Obamacare was bad policy yesterday, it's bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday, it's bad law today."
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court's liberal justices, upholding the individual mandate as a tax and concluding it was not valid as an exercise of Congress' commerce clause power. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined in supporting the mandate.
Romney said he would like to see health care reform legislation that ensures "people who want to keep their current insurance will be able to do so," enables people with preexisting conditions to get insurance, gives states more support in their efforts to expand health care access and focuses on lowering the cost of such care.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court essentially bucked the conventional wisdom from pundits who had long been predicting that at least part of the Affordable Care Act would be struck down, potentially hurting Obama's chances for reelection. Republicans were quickly trying to put the best political spin on the outcome that they could, portraying the individual mandate as a tax increase.
National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director Brian Walsh, for example, tweeted, "To be clear, SCOTUS has confirmed Senate Dems passed a massive tax increase during one of the worst recessions in US History#FullRepeal."
WATCH ROMNEY'S FULL COMMENTS BELOW (via CNN):