As the Supreme Court takes up President Obama's health care law this week, the White House dispatched a top political aide to the Sunday talk shows to make the case for the law that will go far in defining Obama's legacy.
"As it relates to the Supreme Court, we're confident that it's going to be upheld," senior Obama adviser David Plouffe said on ABC's This Week. "You had Democratic and Republican jurists upheld it in lower court decisions, including two very prominent conservative jurists."
The Supreme Court holds an unprecedented three days of hearings this week on the health care law, starting Monday.
The justices are expected to hand down a ruling by late June. One key issue: Can the government force most citizens to buy some form of health insurance in order to finance the new system?
In the meantime, Republican presidential candidates -- while hoping that the Supreme Court strikes down the law -- have vowed to repeal the law in any case if they get elected.
On ABC's This Week, host George Stephanopoulos asked Plouffe about a recent ABC News poll showing that 52% of the American public now oppose the health care law, and 42% want the high court to scrap it altogether.
Plouffe said he's seen polls showing that "people don't want to go re-fight this political battle again. What they want us to do is implement the law smartly."
While most of the law doesn't take effect until 2014, Plouffe noted that it already allows children to stay on their parent's insurance until age 26 and improves prescription drug coverage for seniors. He also cited new policies for women's coverage, including free preventative care like mammograms and cancer screenings.
On CNN's State of the Union, Plouffe said that in the years ahead the president's backers will be glad that critics call it "Obamacare."
"You're going to see more people covered, you're going to see savings in the health care system, you're going to see free preventive care for people, you're going to see women treated equally in the health care system," Plouffe said on CNN.
"I think that the important thing right now, what we can control is implement this law well, make sure that we continue to try to educate people about what's in the law," Plouffe said. "And obviously, you know, the Supreme Court process will play out."
Republican critics of the health care law are also looking forward to the Supreme Court hearing.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., an attorney, said on CNN he doesn't know what the justices will do legally, but politically "this is probably the centerpiece of the debate in the fall, the proper role of government."
Noting that the law was passed on a largely partisan vote, Graham said "the process was bad" and "the substance is going over like a lead balloon."
"You know, the vice president whispered to the president when they signed the bill two years ago, this is a big 'f-ing' deal," Graham said. "Well, now it has become a big 'f-ing' mess for the Democratic Party and the country as a whole."
By David Jackson, USA TODAY