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. Mike in SA

    Easy solution. If the video clips are out of context, then release the whole versions of the interviews to prove it. My guess is that the administration can't or won't do this because the clips DO show the statements IN THE CONTEXT THAT THEY WERE MEANT.

    August 4, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Joan

    "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." Drudge has not yet reacted to the White House video."
    Hmmm...it's on there. Been there all day too. In it's entirety.
    This story might get just as big as the office vs the professor. The more the media lies the more "the people" search for the real truth.

    August 4, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. allen white

    "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.

    If I am taking this out of context, then someone please explain what he REALLY meant by this...

    August 4, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. mjm

    "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.

    Out of context? In what context would this sound O.K.?

    Just words?

    August 4, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Tommy

    To Dan

    Congress HAS public health care. And apparently its so good they don't want to scrap it.

    Guess what? The military has a public health care program as well.

    If its good enough for congress and our military, then its good enough for all of us.

    Aim high!

    August 4, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Greg in MO

    Look – Democrats need an enemy. That is the easiest way to gather people to their cause. They have been using Republicans as the recent enemy and you dopes fall for it. They are powerless. They can't stop this health care reform. The fact is, democrats want to drag republicans into this because they know, when it blows up to be too costly and ineffective – and everybody but Obama knows it will, they will need an enemy on which to blame it because, at the point when it passes, there is no turning back. You are going to be stuck trying to get the government to fix something that you should have known would not work in the first place.

    August 4, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. George

    Hey all, go look at the unedited version, it is clear what Obama intends, it has been from the beginning but no one in the media will ask the right questions.

    When you are done looking at the video, come on over, I have some kool-aid for you.

    August 4, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. Tommy

    Lets all hear it for socialized euthenasia! health care is too expensive, so I hear one of the plans is to start knocking people off. I've got a suggestion: Lets start with the state of California...

    August 4, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. George

    Who are you going to believe, the white house and the MSM, or your lying eyes and ears?

    August 4, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. George

    I have a great idea for healthcare reform. It's called evolution. Let the strong survive and weed out the weak. It will save us dollars as well as uneducated voters.

    August 4, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. Steven

    I just watched the video reposted by the Drudge Report. This woman, Linda Douglass, claiming that the information is somehow paraphrased or twisted to misrepresent the president, is a liar. Watch the video. This is a disgusting and shameful story.

    August 4, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. Ubochi

    We still have this viril vernom like Hitler in this country who feels they own the world and without their views the rest of us should go to hell.
    Let's face, tell me one thing these cracker repubs have proposed that is for the general well being of the rest of us.
    They still wants to squeeze the last breath from the common man before they can accept good offers in health coverage that Obama is proposing. Very racist set of elements and I wonder what they want the Red Indians to do. Let them read their history, the Red Indians may come up with a legit agument. Obama was burn in Kenya they claim.

    August 4, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. TCM

    The Drudge Report has now, responded, posting the uncut version of Obama's socialistic rant.....see for yourself, unless...CNN decides to censor this post like they did my last 4....wow....unbiased journalism at it's best. Don't worry CNN, conservatives won't forget the assistance you've lent to Obama in his dismantling of the country.

    August 4, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. Dave L.

    We should all support single-payer healthcare. The old have Medicare, the poor have Medicaid, and the government has actually done a good job managing both. A national healthcare plan would simply make it so that working people and families could have access to health insurance. Despite the mis-information put out there by the insurance companies, you don't see Canadians or Brits leaving their countries because of poor healthcare. America has never had better friends then both those countries and if it works for them it can work for us.
    Republicans consider themselves the party of "God", but don't have a clue as to what "God" represents. All they are interested in is securing contributors to their campaign funds with little care about their fellow Americans. Sadly, they get average people to buy into their retoric.

    August 4, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. NON Partisan

    While Obama says if you like your employers health care plan you can keep it, well you may not be able to keep it if your employer decides to do away with the plan if there is a government option availiable.

    Remember pensions, along came the government with 401k and away went the pension plans, as companies thought why should we have pay pensions if we start a 401k with a 100% match, then the 100% match disappeared and a lesser % began and then it got cut and soon 401k's will be all employee money albiet tax free, until they tax it.

    Same wil happen with healthcare, you wil lose that great plan that was part of the reason you joined the company to begin with, oh but if they do you can just leave that will show them......oh yeah right there arent any jobs to go to.....GOTCHA!

    August 4, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. Karen

    No matter how the Republicans (and you know Republicans are behind a lot of this) try their scare tactics...we need health care reform NOW. As for the insurance companies....their CEOs rape us by getting ungodly salaries at our expense. It's about time insurance companies have to act like a responsible business and not like Wall Street. Tell the Republicans to stop whining as usual and do some ACTUAL work to solve this problem. So far, the Republicans ARE the problem!

    August 4, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Joe

    How is this disinformation when it is Obama in his own words?

    August 4, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. ETM

    Everyone has the right to decent health care. This is a human right. And Obama's health reform plan makes much more sense than treating people without health care only when they are so sick that they must go the emergency room.

    The Republicans are not afraid that Obama's plan will fail. They are afraid it will succeed and remind people why the Democrats are the party of the middle and lower classes.

    August 4, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. Tice

    Dan, the healthcare is to help the people who have nothing. Why would Congress or the wealthy take the route set up to help those of meager means? The "Well if it's so great why don't they use it argument" is about the dumbest thing I've heard. I'm not a big proponent of what's going on but I know a poor argument when I hear it.

    August 4, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. Donnie

    While I am a Dem, this is one time I have to side with the right. This is bad news for the country and this across party fighting has to stop and form a new health care plan on the would target the uninsured but not be run by our gov't

    Healthy choice

    August 4, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. TCM

    @ BRENT –

    No, you're confused. Obama is specifically talking about eliminating private insurance. Watch him on YouTube, unless, it's all photoshopped...which, I'm sure is the next thing Douglass will claim. Face it, Obama's quest isn't your well being, it's power and control, and to take from those that have something and reward the slacking minorities in this country whose future votes he's determined to buy.

    August 4, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Carole

    CNN thank you!!!!! I think. I see you have the great Dr. Sanja Gupta who tells it like it is taking questions on the current health care reform proposal. Thank you!!!!!!!

    I am hopeful you are returning to the news channel that I relied on all these years, instead of the STate of the John McCain Union, Palin pettiness and Dobbs Birthers.

    Welcome back, CNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. G SMITH PA

    Rule No. 1 in Economics. Keep the Government out of financial decisions, they suck at it. This includes Health Care Reform.

    August 4, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Alfred E. Neumann

    Can anyone provide me with the street address of Barack Obama's birth place?

    State, City and street address (must include street number) – thank you.

    August 4, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. ran

    Single payer non-profit.

    Single payer non-profit.

    Single payer non-profit.

    People that is all you need to know and demand.

    August 4, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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