Can Obama Win by Losing in Court?

George Stephanopoulos
Power Players

Bottom Line

In the midst of an historic battle over health care at the Supreme Court, on the Bottom Line this week we're taking a look at the potential fallout for the presidential campaign.

As ABC News' Terry Moran points out, the court is not afraid of tackling big issues in the midst of an election. And after hearing the Justices' tough questions during this week's hearing, President Obama's health care initiative might be in trouble. But then again, we've seen tough questioning in the past and then the court surprises us and upholds the law.

If the court strikes down the law, it would be a huge blow to Obama, guaranteeing at least a week of negative coverage. When you lose you look weak, that's what happens to a president.

But if it's a 5-4 partisan decision against the law, both Republican strategist Karl Rove and Democrat James Carville agree there could be a silver lining for Obama.

Rove pointed out in the Wall Street Journal today that a partisan split would give Obama an opportunity to accept the court's decision, reach back to the center and propose a new bipartisan initiative.

Carville argues that a narrow defeat gives Obama a chance to say "We tried," and rally the base against the same court that decided Citizens United and Bush v. Gore.

My bottom line: A loss would be a huge blow to the administration, but the president could try both strategies to get an out.