Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Friday that President Barack Obama's health care law "will be a dis- aster" and an economic drag on the nation as it imposes a new tax on Americans who refuse to buy insurance.
Giuliani also said U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts blundered by essentially granting Congress the authority to impose new taxes on anything.
"My good friend Chief Justice John Roberts made a terrible mistake yesterday," Giuliani said during a campaign stop in Las Vegas for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. "He's now given Congress the unlimited power to tax us on anything. ... If you can tax my decision not to purchase insurance, you can tax my decision not to exercise this morning."
Giuliani said if Obama is re-elected in November, he will abuse that tax power and promote France-style socialism that will grow government and boost taxes for Americans.
"He's going to make France look like a low-tax country," Giuliani said, urging Republicans to work for his defeat. "He's had his chance. We can't afford a second chance with Barack Obama."
Giuliani's campaign stop in Las Vegas came a day after the high court ruled 5-4 that Obama's signature health care law was constitutional. Roberts said government can mandate every American buy health care insurance or face a penalty because it's a legitimate U.S. tax the IRS can collect.
The ruling gave Obama an election-year victory, but it also gave Republicans a new line of attack to criticize the law as one of the biggest tax increases on the middle class in U.S. history.
"If the election had high stakes, they doubled yesterday," Giuliani said to a rally of more than 100 supporters crammed into a GOP campaign office. "Obamacare will be a disaster. ... We have to elect Mitt Romney as president of the United States if we want to save our economy."
Giuliani was speaking at the Team Nevada office the Republican National Committee opened to help elect Romney in Nevada, one of the key battlegrounds in the country. The operation also is helping other Republicans contest Senate, House and state legislative seats.
Ahead of Giuliani's short stop Friday, the Nevada Democratic Party noted the former mayor had criticized the health care law Romney put in place as governor of Massachusetts. The Obama administration has said the federal law is patterned after Romneycare in Massachusetts.
Romney has said each state should solve its own health care problems to provide better access for the uninsured and the federal government shouldn't usurp the states' power as Obama did.
Romney promised Thursday to move to repeal the federal law on his first day in the White House and replace it with more private-sector solutions.
Giuliani dismissed his previous criticism of Romney on health care, saying the question now is what will Americans do if Obama's health care law takes full effect starting in 2014.
"The question is what is the future going to be," Giuliani said in an interview with reporters after the GOP rally.
He described his past criticism of Romney as "politics" since he ran against Romney in the GOP presidential primary in 2008. However, Giuliani has said as recently as last year that Romney should admit he made a mistake by approving the state health care law's mandate.
In his 10-minute remarks, Giuliani said he didn't understand why anyone in Las Vegas would vote for Obama because he hurt convention business during the recession by warning people not to blow their money here. The state has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 11.6 percent and probably won't be in much better shape by Nov. 6.
"He killed your jobs in Las Vegas," Giuliani said. "Anyone who votes for him in Las Vegas is out of his mind."
Obama easily won Nevada four years ago and has visited the state 10 times as president, wooing voters he will need this election. Polls show him leading Romney, who won the Feb. 4 GOP presidential caucus here.
Contact reporter Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919. Follow her on Twitter @lmyerslvrj.