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Obama agenda: Enter the mandate

“The Obama administration today will defend a requirement that Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty -- the core of the president’s health care overhaul --in a Supreme Court case central to the Republican campaign to take over the White House,” Bloomberg writes. “A group of 26 states will say that Congress exceeded its authority in approving the mandate, as the justices hear their second of three days of arguments. The government, defending the president’s signature legislative victory, will contend that Congress can require people to buy insurance under its constitutional power to regulate the interstate health-care market.”

The New York Times says how the Supreme Court answers the constitutionality of the health law “depends in large part on how the justices decide to frame the core issue. The law’s challengers … present the central question as one of individual liberty. May the federal government, they ask, compel individuals not engaged in commerce to buy a product, here health insurance, from private companies?”

“The Obama administration, by contrast, urges the court to answer a different question. May Congress decide, in fashioning a comprehensive response to a national crisis in the health care market, to regulate how people pay for the health care they will almost inevitably need?”

The New Yorker’s Lizza looks at how Obama came to reverse his position on the mandate: “The President was pushed into adopting the individual mandate by two forces: Democrats in Congress and the C.B.O. When it became clear that it was untenable for Obama to keep his anti-mandate campaign position, his aides looked to Massachusetts….”

“President Barack Obama said he wasn’t “hiding the ball” from U.S. voters after microphones recorded him asking Russia for patience on missile defense negotiations until after the November election,” Bloomberg writes. “‘I don’t think it’s any surprise that you can’t start that a few months before a presidential and congressional election in the United States,’ Obama told reporters at a nuclear security summit in Seoul today, adding that a planned U.S. missile-defense system in Europe was one of the ‘primary points of friction’ between the two nations.”

The Boston Globe’s Johnson calls the open-mic moment Obama’s “own ‘Etch A Sketch’ moment.’” (The Globe also puts together a series of famous open-mic gaffes.)

Both the New York Daily News and New York Post saw it as Obama confident in having a “second term.”

Suffolk has Obama up over Romney 47%-37%.  A McClatchy-Marist poll, however, shows Obama up only by two points (46%-44%) over Romney.

“Several key White House offices were involved with the Obama administration’s messaging plans and other preparations as the collapse of the taxpayer-backed solar company Solyndra was imminent, newly released documents show,” The Hill writes. “The latest White House documents delivered to House Republicans on Friday again highlight the extent to which senior administration officials braced for the fallout as Solyndra – a company President Obama had personally visited – was about to go under.”

For the second time in a month, Vice President Biden will be in Iowa tomorrow. “Biden will speak at PCT Engineered Systems in Davenport about the administration’s efforts to improve the economy and the importance of manufacturing. It’s the third in a series of speeches Biden is delivering on the economy, which kicked off two weeks ago in Toledo, Ohio,” Roll Call notes.