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. Robert

    And people thought the Bush Administration lied to the American public? Obama may be the only president in American history that sits around disavowing VIDEO statements he's made from past campaigns. Simply put, this man can't be taken at his word on anything.

    August 4, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  2. kishen c.rao

    There are lot of unneeded reports up there...just ignore...work for health care reform...these things are done by these nasty GOP guys...I guess...they are playing with American poor...and needy...not good sign for GOP for reelection...even considering either...ok...work for Health care reform...we need it now...god bless!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If we can everyone to understand what the goals are where everyone is coming from, then we might make some headway. Those health insurance companies need not drop people because there is something already there in their medical file. We need something to get all of those that either can't get insurance or have deductables so high that it isn't useable something that will cover them so they can see a doctor before anything becomes a problem.

    Has there been any proposal to get more doctors, nurses and other medical professionals trained? We need something to lower the cost of their education.

    August 4, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. jfs Memhis, Tn

    We can only hope that the Dems can STOP the GOP appealing to the misinformed and unread opinionated voter. This is absolutely the silliest thing that I have ever heard of !!!! Can you imagine that the average person with a young family would not want to save money on their own programs and make sure that their neighbors and fellow americans have access to health care ????? The price saved for the bill of emergency care for the uninsured will be a savings for the insurance industry as a whole. Who could deny a poor, single mother health care ??? Who would deny a baby the same coverage as a baby from an affluent family ???? This is just plain selfish and lack of concern for our american family. Please dear lLrd guide this nation to a resolve that will be beneficial for ALL Americans.

    August 4, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. Ellen Rudolph

    The Drudge Report, has in my opinion, long been an instrument of disservice to the American people. It is all well and good to express one's opinion, but th etwisting and bending of facts to negatively portray facts or persons is unacceptable.

    August 4, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Rhonda

    Well then, what exactly did 0bama mean when he said that? They claim it's decieving but clarify his remarks. Is he claiming he meant something different then, or has he changed his plan? Where's the flaunted transparency?

    August 4, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. Ellen Rudolph

    The Drudge Report, has in my opinion, long been an instrument of disservice to the American people. It is all well and good to express one's opinion, but the twisting and bending of facts to negatively portray facts, or persons is unacceptable.

    August 4, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. JP

    Why do we call adding a 4th entitlement program we can't afford reform. The claim from the government that runs the post office is that they will make the system more efficient and save money. Reform such as comprehensive medical malpractice reform seems to be off the table. The trial lawyers won't share any pain because they already paid off Obama just like the UAW paid him off. Obama wants national health insurance so when makes the illegal aliens citizens they will have coverage and join the 46% of Americans who pay no income tax and vote for Obama.

    August 4, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  9. jeremy.....Dallas...Texas

    This is why we should go for government sponsored universal healthcare and weed out these greedy insurance companies who have corrupted our law making process. We will never get favorable laws with money milling congress. Lets expand medicare and medicaid. Lets have government as provinder just like other developed nations.

    August 4, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  10. Glenn; Detroit, MI

    Healthcare reform is going to be battled by both democrats and republicans due to the amount of money that would be potentially taken from the insurance companies and lobbies. The lobbyists will spend any amount, and buy any vote to ensure that true reform never see's the light of day. It's the biggest lobby in Wahsington, and it will not go gently into that good night. The average american supports real healthcare reform, but the plan is going to be so bastardized by the time it comes out, it won't be worth having. Thank you insurance companies for bending over the little guy and boning him again in the name of profits.

    August 4, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  11. Matt in CT

    President Obama's got some of the thinnest skin around. Don't let yourself get knocked off the ball so much, buddy!

    August 4, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. Larry

    The Drudge Report is one of the farthest right publications in existence.

    I'm glad Douglass is watching these whack sites. There is a lot of bad information out there and it confuses people.

    August 4, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  13. Christopher

    The Drudge Report is the internets answer to The National Enquirer.

    I wouldn't be surprised if someday soon on The Drudge Report we'll see Obama shaking hands with that little alien fellow that seems pop up every couple of months at a White House function.

    August 4, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  14. welches, oregon

    Drudge has been and always will be a right wing hack – Drudge always distorts the truth when it comes from the left.

    August 4, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. katiec

    It is sad and disburbing the extreme measures the opponents of Health Care Reform are resorting to. Their terrible, unethical lies,
    total disregard for honor and accepting and spending of funds
    from health care enterprises to promote their swiftboating.
    The unfornate thing is some people actually believe their
    distortions,
    Never in my lifetime have I seen a political party stoop to such
    gutter tactics. We, who realize the need for health care reform, must
    stand up to them and let them know these unAmerican, terrorist
    tactics are not acceptable, nor are their actions as a representative
    for us.

    August 4, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  16. JohnNYC

    The Drudge Report video hardly appeared to be "taking sentences and phrases out of context." Unless someone actually doctored the videos presented by the Drudge Report, they appear pretty genuine, so I'll put the burden on the White House to disprove its authenticity. Why doesn't Obama and other Democrats just come out state that they want to eliminate the health insurance business? If that's their goal in all of this they need to start selling their program instead of trying to slide it in the backdoor. At least it will generate a healthy debate on the subject.

    August 4, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Don Cassidy

    Talk about spin, I saw the video and nothing was taken out of context. The WH should just tell the truth about their plans and let the people know what is really coming.

    August 4, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. alvino

    The people paid by the health care and pharmaceutical industry to disrupt, distort and destroy what is best for the citizens are being given millions of dollars. These large corporations have also given millions in donations to the GOP and the blue dogs. It is hard for congress to represent the people when they are up to their neck representing corporations.

    August 4, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. lindsey

    There is a lot of misinformation about healthcare reform being broadcast across the nation. However, the White House is the one broadcasting it. The WH says its bill protects employer sponsored insurance, which is true...for now. Then after 5 years, employers must provide "qualified" plans, meaning plans designed by a govt committee. How is that different coverage than the govt insurance?

    I really question Democrats committment to education. If everyone had a proper education that taught critical thinking, no one would support Democrat policies.

    August 4, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Keith in CA

    I didn't know the Drudge Report was still around. It has always been the journalistic equivalent of the basement geek writing half-truths and rumors on bathroom walls.

    August 4, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. pv

    It appears we don't want to have a legitimate debate on how to handle health care.

    Too many people have too much money involved to let anyone fix it.

    We are our own worst enemy.

    August 4, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. Bob Emery

    The fact that the clip is no longer on the Drudge Report after the White House retaliated – and Drudge has not reacted to the White House – just shows that Drudge and ilk like him knowingly put out information that is less than accurate. They know that even though their report is tainted it'll stick with a certain number of readers anyway, even if proven wrong. They do a great injustice to the American people. For my money they are not true American's but profiteers with an agenda of their own. Listen to them at your own risk.

    August 4, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. Greg Wisconsin

    I would like to see the entire context, but how can you misinterpret the following.

    "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,"

    It is pretty clear to me! And the projected cost of this program is out of site. How can they spend money that we do not have. Oh, I know we can always print more money. It is on the same order as, “I have more checks in the checkbook”, but no money in the bank.

    August 4, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. Stu-Florida

    In general many Americasn are spoiled. We want, what we want, when we want it... We don't like the words "work" or "sacrifice" or "commitment".

    Even though many are already aware of the insurance companies lining their pockets with million$ every day, they don't want reform b/c it would require some of the aforementioned words.

    This country had better get it together... ALL TOGETHER... or we're doomed. The rest of the world is shaking their heads in disbelief...

    August 4, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. JT from MO

    Just to let you guys know, all of our senators and congressmen and women have a government run public option. If they have the same option that some of them are campaining against, why have not they got rid of their insurance. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, are government run programs, so if you want the government to get out of your lives like you want, reject all of those benifits. Then see how you fare against trying to pay for health care. You can keep your insuarance if you want. President Obama is trying to give you a second choice, which actually more capitalistic in nature. I am 18 years old, and if we do nothing about health care, my children and yours will be paying for health care which will skyrocket to 33 trillion by 2019 do to inflation. Which option do you want?

    August 4, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
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