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Winners and Losers From Health Care Debate Winners and Losers From Health Care Debate

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Winners and Losers From Health Care Debate

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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli gestures during a press conference after a hearing before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on a challenge to the federal health care reform act in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, May 10, 2011. The three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals includes Obama appointees, Andre Davis and James Wynn, and Diana Motz, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton. The panel has heard arguments in two Virginia lawsuits challenging Obama's health care overhaul. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP Photo/Steve Helber)(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

So the health care case could not have arrived at a better time for the attorney general, who was in Washington this week during the arguments. Bruning was among the 13 attorneys general who filed a suit against the law the day Obama signed it. He even released a television ad on Thursday morning underscoring his opposition. This is exactly the kind of development Bruning needed, giving him a ready-made issue to tout his conservative bona fides. Potential Losers: -- Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna (R): McKenna is the GOP's best hope in three decades to win a governor's race in the deep blue Evergreen State, and so far, he's run a good campaign. McKenna's opposition to the law is narrow in scope: He is against the individual mandate portion and signed on to a multi-state suit. But if the entire law is struck down, Democrats -- who are working to portray the centrist as a right-wing partisan out of step with Washington state -- can use the argument to portray McKenna as a right-wing Republican. "The date we filed it, I said to the press in Washington state, that if the mandate is struck down, it will be severed form the rest of the Affordable Care Act, leaving the rest of the act in place. That's exactly what happened in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. ... and I predict that's what will happen in the Supreme Court," McKenna told Hotline On Call late last month. "Based on the questions and comments justices made, supporters of the individual mandate are justifiably nervous," McKenna told the Everett Herald on Wednesday, still sounding confident the court would rule against the mandate, but not the rest of the law. -- Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock (D): Bullock is the near-certain Democratic nominee in the tossup race to replace term-limited Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer. He is in commanding position for the Democratic nomination, while a muddled Republican race is unfolding. But if the Supreme Court rules against Obama's health care law, it would remind Montana voters - a conservative lot - that he sided with the president, whose approval ratings aren't good in the state . Montana is not part of the lawsuit, and Republicans would likely attack him for not working to get rid of a law that's unpopular in the state. On the other hand, Bullock can counter that joining the suit would have meant a big waste of tax dollars.

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