GOP strategist: Overturn of healthcare could be "wash" for Obama


(CBS News) While conventional wisdom suggests it would be a huge defeat for President Obama if the Supreme Court throws out some or all of his signature health care law Thursday, a top Republican strategist said Wednesday that scenario could turn out to be "a wash" or even a benefit to the president.

"It could" be a benefit, Republican strategist Mike Murphy said in an interview with "CBS This Morning," adding that he thinks the more likely scenario is "it's going to be a wash."

If the nation's highest court strikes down the law, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney "will be able to declare victory" and use it to attack Mr. Obama for being ineffective.

But Murphy noted that the conventional political wisdom may be missing a larger point: the president could then "relitigate" the popular issues without having the burden of a law in place that many do not like.

"Things like no pre-existing condition," Murphy said, referring to a provision in the law that prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to patients to have so-called "pre-existing conditions."

"So I think Obama may get the issue and lose the baggage of the plan. I don't think it's a big win for him, but I think it's more of a wash than a big defeat if the Supreme Court knocks it down," Murphy said.

Murphy noted that the race is closer than many of the national polls showing Mitt Romney with a slight lead.

"It really boils down to can Romney get something going in the West by getting better Latino numbers in Nevada and Colorado or can he win a metal bending Democratic leaning state like a Michigan or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. If he can do that, I think Romney wins," he said.

"If not, if he is just locked into winning Ohio and Florida, I think the president has an advantage So it's close and we're only in the third inning. There is so much left to happen," said Murphy.

Asked who Romney might pick for his vice presidential running mate, Murphy predicted the former Massachusetts governor would pick someone "boring" because people don't vote for vice president.

"What I believe is it will be operation sandman, put them to sleep, don't take chances. We did the take chances thing four years ago, and we've still got, you know, burned furniture around the party from that," Murphy said, referring to Sen. John McCain's decision to add Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket.