‘GRANNY IS SAFE’…. In his State of the Union address this week, President Obama said very little about the Affordable Care Act. He told lawmakers he’s open to improving the law, but won’t allow Republicans to roll back the clock. “[I]nstead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years,” Obama said, “let’s fix what needs fixing and let’s move forward.”

The president spoke today to the annual Families USA “Health Action” conference, and went into far more detail.

In his most vigorous defense of the healthcare law since Republicans took control of the House, Obama fired back Friday at GOP claims that the law deprives essential care for seniors and balloons the deficit.

“You may have heard once or twice this is a job-crushing, granny-threatening, budget-busting monstrosity,” Obama said to pro-reform advocates at the Families USA annual conference in Washington. “That just doesn’t match up to the reality.”

He added, “I can report that Granny is safe.”

As a rule, consultants tell officials not to repeat the wording of a rhetorical attack, because it only helps lend credence to the criticism, but I’m glad Obama put it this way this morning. The president is, in effect, openly mocking Republicans for transparently ridiculous talking points that are fundamentally dishonest.

And since they deserve to be mocked, this was an entirely appropriate line to take. Instead of getting angry, there’s something to be said for a “can you believe these guys?” kind of approach.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.