August 4th, 2009
11:15 AM ET
5 years ago

White House launches counteroffensive over Drudge Report link

Douglass heads communication efforts for the White House health care reform push.
Douglass heads communication efforts for the White House health care reform push.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – New president, old headline: the White House fired back at the Drudge Report Tuesday, part of a fresh "viral" pushback over what it called a "campaign of misstatements and outright falsehoods" on health care.

In a three-minute video posted on YouTube and on the White House blog, Obama aides pointed to a 2007 video on blogger Andrew Breitbart's site that Matt Drudge linked to under a headline that told readers it showed President Obama explaining "How His Health Care Plan Will 'Eliminate' Private Insurance."

"I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There's going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out, or 15 years out, or 20 years out," Obama says in the bite.

In the White House video posted overnight, Linda Douglass - the former ABC News reporter who now heads communications efforts for the White House's health care push - tells viewers that "one of [her] jobs is to keep track of all the disinformation that's out there about health insurance reform.

"And there are a lot of very deceiving headlines out there right now, such as this one - take a look at this one," she says, pointing to the Drudge headline.

(Updated after the jump Tuesday afternoon with Drudge response)

"Well, nothing can be farther from the truth. You know the people who always try to scare people whenever you try to bring them health insurance reform are at it again, and they're taking sentences and phrases out of context and they're cobbling them together to leave a very false impression."

Because Obama has spoken so much about health care reform, she says, "there are people out there with a computer and a lot of free time, and they take a phrase here and there, they simply cherry pick and put it together and make it sound like he's saying something that he didn't really say."

The video is part of a larger White House effort. "We intend to use a lot of the grassroots viral Internet techniques from the campaign to beat back the campaign of misstatements and outright falsehoods about the President's efforts to reform health insurance," said White House deputy communications director Dan Pfeiffer.

The clip was no longer on the Drudge Report Tuesday morning. The only references to Obama were headlines related to and posted under the image of a poster that depicted the president as the Joker from Batman over the word "socialism."

UPDATE: The Drudge Report responded Tuesday by prominently linking to the White House blog post from his Web site, along with video which it said showed Obama advocating a single payer health care plan.


Filed under: Health care • White House
soundoff (326 Responses)
  1. Retired US Army

    I actually beileve that if we had a real look at reforming healthcare from the ground up, we would discover that with the money currently being spent by the government, private companies and individuals we would have more than enough to fully fund a health care program that would cover ever American with excellent care. But you see that would not be good for insurance companies and private insurers because it would cut into their bottom lines. After all whats more important turning a profit or providing medical care.......hmm, my vote goes to profit, after all that's the American way.

    August 4, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. SGJ

    Its ridculous that people are afraid of losing their job in large part becasue they would loose their health care... espcially if you have any health conditions. This never happens in Canada and other modern countries. Imagine if you lost your auto insurance coverage every time you left or got layed off from oyur job?!?!

    All the rethuglicans can counter with is we would have to wait longer. also not true ... in Canada access is based on need not on fullfilling the need for instant gratification. My father was not rich and died of cancer and every last treatment he could have was available to him. And not once did we have to worry about the cost. When someone's life hangs in the balance it is shocking that money should come into the discussion.

    Also I would rather trust a non-profit entity (aka the government) to provide health care than one driven PRIMARILY by meeting the quarterly profit expecation of the free market – which recent history has proven to be rather short sighted.

    I mean if these profit mongers have there way they would like to privatize the police.

    August 4, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Jeri

    Yes, taxes will be raised to pay for this. BUT, take how much you pay in health insurance premiums and co-pays, then instead of paying them to an insurance company, pay it in taxes. As I have stated previously, as a small business owner who buys their own health insurance, we are paying $12,000.00 a year in premiums alone. For some reason, if my taxes were raised $12,000.00 a year and I had no co-pay for doctors visits and no 2500.00 per person per year deductable, I'd be saving money. AMAZING! RAISE MY TAXES PLEASE!

    August 4, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. David

    Christ, Is it really that simple. Democrats = Rationing. Choice = Republican. This is an extremely complex issue with a number of issues. Our costs are extremely high. Our quality is not. That's the simple part. The solution is far more complex than that. Granted, the current options leave a lot to be desired, but I haven't heard much other than keep the status quo from many of the critics. We have to be more intelligent about this discussion than that.

    August 4, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. jamespauleybarker

    Obama is leading a stampede of more spending, debt and taxes.
    The US President Barack Obama's health care reform seems to be taking steps away from realization, losing support from all Democrats.

    Only In America...

    August 4, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. Lotta Muni

    It is so sad that the Left-Wing loonies have to resort to lies and dirty tricks in order to conceal the truth.

    The conducting of a town hall meeting by loonies is not going to create a gov't run health care system which works. Sorry to tell you.

    August 4, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Jane

    I can tell you Tommy that the military health care is not as great as you think. While you are active duty you do not pay for anything but the great mil doctors are few and far between. The good ones seperate after doing their internship in the mil and go out to the civilian market. You have instances like the resident doing surgery on a young airman at Travis AFB who botched a gallbladder surgery and the kid lost his legs because of a stupid mistake and the lack of moving him to a civilian hospital with a vascular surgeon (there one at the base pcs and the replacement was not there yet). When you retire Sec of Defense Gates calls you a burden to the taxpayer system. If you are lucky you can get into tricare at the base if not you are in the system off base. There are many doctors who will not take tricare or drop patients readily. I live in a big city and have been jostled about in the system because the doctor drops "my great insurance" . Congress has the best healthcare system there is just ask Sen Chris Dodd who currently has prostate cancer (did he wait for tests and boy is he getting the surgery quick). Gov employees have a good system because there are several program options to choose from ( benefits of a large pool of union people). Don't lump everyone into the same catagory you are wrong.

    August 4, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Ryan

    What I don't get is that, following such a crappy president (W), why would we be willing to put so much power in the hands of the gov't? Even if you would trust it to Obama, would you trust it to the next, unknown president? That to me is a scary idea.

    August 4, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. And people thought the Bush Administration lied to the American public?

    they did, regularly and alot and in many harmful and tough to recover ways

    it will take a lot of time and hardwork to recover from the Bush administration

    August 4, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. Duane

    This public "option" is not going to be an option. Look at the bill. There are requirements and fines if the government does not think you have good enough coverage. And who set the requirements? The government. Who decides what good enough coverage? The government. This will be the ultimate moving goal post. The only coverage that will be deemed "good enough" will be the public option. Basically we will be strong armed into taking their public "option". Sorry but this country does not take to being forced into anything too well. Remember '94? If that isn't a big enough example, how about 1861? Or even 1776? Don't treat us like mindless sheep, just because half the poster's on here may act like them.

    August 4, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. Willy Brown

    I don't see why the W.H. needs this. They already have all the media outlets except Fox lying for Obummer.

    August 4, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. Lion

    Is that all Mr. Obama good at, nothing practical??

    August 4, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. Save America

    Yeh,Right! Read the darn thing! Do you think the people are pulling this informatiuon out of their but!!!
    obama is lying and he needs to be impeached.

    August 4, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. greenfun

    It's ridiculous that the Obama administration engages Drudge. Talk about bringing more attention to someone you ought to ignore.

    August 4, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. gromansky

    Read the bill? Which one? HB 3200 is not going to be the final bill. Neither are the other five. There will be negotiations and there will be give and take. Until Sen. Baucus reports out of his committee, the whole process is locked up. That's what Republicans want – stall, delay, wait. Every day, the insurance companies rack up huge profits, so every hour counts for them.
    If you want to do some research, go back and read newspaper clippings from every great health care debate that created a milestone - Medicare, Medicaid, Prescription Drugs, HillaryCare. You'll find the same arguments made by the same people. Meanwhile, the rabidly Christain right-wing ditto-heads argue against the basic tenets of the Bible and yell loudly about any change that would extend coverage to the poor, sick, and downtrodden. Who is on the side of virtue here - the Democrats, who want to change a crappy system, or the Republicans, who like things just the way they are...?

    August 4, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Ryan

    Well, right about now I think that the so-called "fear-mongering" of republicans is absolutely necessary. We should fear big government. That's why we have a constitution in which congress and the president want to destroy. Do your reading of history dems, you'd be surprised at how stupid you sound. Here comes Big Brother.

    August 4, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. Ken

    We can't afford not to have health care reform. Small businesses can not afford the premiums much longer. It is choking employment. Many small business are delaying hiring and marketing to pay the double digit increases in health care every year. Most companies can't give raises or very small raises because of the costs. This can't go on forever. Many small companies will just have to drop health insurance all together..

    The cost of doing nothing is not an option, it is much more expensive then having comprehensive health care reform.
    The lack of a raise is the same as a tax. Not spending your money on marketing and growing your small business is a hidden tax. Not investing in new equipment damages business in the long term and drives down the overall economy. This isn't rocket science!! I The costs of doing nothing are just too great.

    August 4, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. JV

    It's no secret that the president will have to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for this. WHEN he does raise taxes, he can send Joe Biden around the country pointing his finger and reminding everyone that it "their patriotic duty to pay their taxes". How many people do you think are putting talking points together on why taxes will have to go up on the middle class...right this very second? He will have to raise taxes and he will be crucified in 2012. What promise has this man ever kept?

    August 4, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. WeThePeople

    Those folks who are claiming Obama's approach to much needed health care reform is "socialism and socialized medicine" need a reality check.

    The farthest-reaching Democratic health care proposals are not for "socialized medicine", but only for socialized health insurance. The government would not run the hospitals and clinics, or pay salaries to the doctors and nurses (as in England). It would only act as a health insurer (as in Canada). And in Obama's plan, the government would not even be the sole health insurer, but would only offer a competitive option to people who are fed up with the shenanigans of the private health insurance companies.

    Republicans want to scare us with a word. "Socialized" does not mean "communist". It means public. By this measure, we have socialized schools, socialized police and fire protection, socialized roads and bridges. Nothing scary there.

    72% of Americans WANT a public (government) health insurance option as a choice. US citizens very intentionally elected representatives and a president who could make a significant change like this happen.

    August 4, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. stormer

    Health care is already rationed by the HMOs and other health care insurers. Just try to get them to authorize a battery of diagnostic test to figure out what you have. Just try.

    August 4, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. lionheart

    Its very simple for me. I pay for healthcare for my family. Yes, I would like it cheaper. Yes, I would like some reform like no pre-existing condition. I also have a small business and yes, I have healthcare for my employees.

    I started my business myself. I didn't get a government handout. Not like GM. Not like the banks. So why is the government going to force me and all other citizens, if they are for or against a government healthcare system to pay for it? Thats not American.

    So here it is: I want Healthcare REFORM not healthcare TAKEOVER. If some people don't mind paying for a government plan, make it voluntary, not mandatory. Lets see how well that turns out.

    August 4, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Kevin

    I would rather have elected officials, that represent ALL Americans, decide what kind of health care we'll have, rather than CEOs who personally profit from giving the bare minimum.

    August 4, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. Jeremiah

    Anyone who is from Canada or in Canada currently, please keep your comments to yourself. We don't want to go down the road you did with your broken DEATH CARE system. We aren't Canadian, will never be Canadian and don't want to hear another word. Last time I checked anyone who didn't want to languish on their death bed in Canada came here, NOT the other way around.

    August 4, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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