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. Eddie

    Hey Mr JJ in Chula Vista, CA;

    Tell me one thing, (and try to think as a reasonable human being) Since when is it "COMPETITION" for a "NON-profit" (IE: the Federal government) to "compete" with a "for profit" entity (such as Insurance Companies) ??
    If this is allowed, the next step will be taken when Government owned GM attempts to sell their new "green" cars and no one is biting due to an excessive, "union forced" price......so then in steps the owner of GM and offers a gov. paid subsidy to purchase their car. What about Ford, who did not take any bailouts etc.....will that be "COMPETITION"?

    I have worked at whatever job I could get, I have cut weeds on the highways for $2.50 an hour, I have never taken (nor have I expected) anything from the government! Don't you see what is going on??? The Dems will soon own everything and you as well....WHY? So you will vote for them!
    Get up and do what you have to do and quit looking to Obama to take care of you!

    August 4, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. Darth Vadik, CA

    What is the GOP battinat right noe, they are O for a thousand, so maybe just this once they might be correct,

    Yeah right, and I'm a Norwegian Ridgeback Dragon from Harry Potter books,

    You cant run a modern world on ancient ideas guys, that is why you lost. You cant just repacage a piece of turd and try to sell it again, you flush it down the toilet and join the 21st century.

    GOP is a bunch of bozos, they don't even know what they stand for, but if Obama is for it, they must be against it, great thinking guys. Just like real nasty little kids.

    August 4, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. mjm

    Where is the misinformation? Obama said it in his own words. How can the GOP be responsible for Obama saying something in 2007?

    A public option is not needed and not wanted by 83% of Americans. That's all the information we need.

    August 4, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Jennifer

    I have heard the left and the right, and I must say for those individuals on the right I see on TV screaming at people, what is wrong with you? Maybe you desperately need medical insurance for mental assistance? Can you not speak in a normal tone in order to get your message across or must you scream at people, in my house we call that a tantrum. The hypocrisy of the right is astounding to me, first they want to be your doctor and give you medical advice, ie. anti abortion, and does anyone remember the Terry Schaivo case? You seemed to have no problem with government interference then and when it suits you, but when it helps the whole of a society rather than your own selfish ideals then it is bad. Shame on all of you and take a real hard look in the mirror on your way to church on Sunday and answer WWJD?

    August 4, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Renee

    Keep kicking butt, Drudge. If the cowardly White House has a bulls-eye on you – you're definitely doing something right! Rock and Roll!

    August 4, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. Asian4Hillary

    It's too bad, I've watched the video, it was Obama's own words when he was giving his speech in 2003. It was not the fault of Drudge when Obama is caught with his own lies. The video is in youtube, it is UNCUT. Obama is a pathological liar. Drudge only put links in his website from other newsies. How can Obama DENY his OWN words? I've watched the video, it has nothing to do with Republicans, it is Obama and his OWN words infront of union members.

    August 4, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. Zmartmoney Round Rock, Texas

    Everything was just fine until people started showing what Obama really thinks and says. If his worshippers could just take a good, cold, hard look at what the man says, they would have a devil of a time supporting him for dogcatcher. I'd be rooting for the dogs.

    August 4, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. Big Al

    I have never seen anyone that can tell as many lies in such a short time and keep a straight face. Obama is the master. Sometimes I wonder if he even knows what the truth is or is just repeating what his handlers have told him.

    All you need to do is read the Hoiuse bill.

    August 4, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. g

    americians are easy brian wash happy canadian with good cheap health care if health do over fails and the insurance companys win how long do you think your employer will cover you maybe 2 to 5 years

    August 4, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. CM

    Looks like Drudge's request that people flood CNN with comments is working.
    Guys and gals, our current system is broken. No big revelation there. Nobody in congress or the WH is currently proposing a single-payer system (although there are many good reasons why they should). The president would like to see a single payer system, but he is a pragmatist and knowns this would be near impossible to pass right now.
    If you are not outraged by the way in which insurance companies have managed your healthcare for the past two decades, you're either dead, the CEO of a bank, or are blessed enough to receive Medicare or military medical care (both gov't run).

    August 4, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. B Evans

    How can you vote for something you haven't read and is always changing? How can you create something new when something old needs to be fixed first? Medicare, Medicad, Social Security, Welfare, Unemployment coverage, Amtrak to name a few...if the Government can run these into the ground, why not healthcare. And those 45 Million the Great Savior rattles off that do not have coverage – 11 Million of those are illegal immigrants...nice to see the rest of us working for their coverage. Why create something that is only going to increase taxes and cover only 4% of those that do not have it today. Leave my healthcare alone and start fixing the mess that is already in existence.

    August 4, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Mike

    The GOP has the label Party of No for a reason. They have come up with NO ideas, or counter ideas to fix these problems...With Health Care, they are for blocking any health care reform by staging these false protests and whatever else the Health Insurance lobbyists behind them figure out.
    The Republican party is a disgrace!!!

    August 4, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Basic premise used by people like the Drudge report and even our congresspeople = the lie grenade. All you have to do is throw it out there. Even if you later retract is and apologize, there are enough god-forsaken morons in this country who will keep repeating it as though it's gospel solely because they choose to believe it in order to confirm for themselves that the world does indeed work the way they wish it to.

    August 4, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. Michael, Gallatin, TN

    Notice that nearly all of the principal loudmouths opposed to reforming healthcare are in or alligned with the South. Living in the "Conservative"/Republican South I've found is very much like living in a Third-world nation. Public education is under funded. There is nothing resembling mass public transportation. True public health systems are a joke. Consumer protections are virtually nonexistent. And religious superstitution rules the day. Keeping these "treasures" in the Union is what we fought the Civil War over? What a waste.

    August 4, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. Jon

    Don't blame Republicans for this. Republicans have almost no power in government right now. Mr. Obama can't get his health care reform through because he can't convince a large number of Democrats to vote for the plan. Don't forget, Democrats have an enormous majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

    August 4, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Mike

    Dan- You democrats blasting republicans for trying to 'block' this health care bill need to ask yourself one thing; if the reform is going to be so good why aren't those putting it together (Congress) going to be required to use it?? That should scare the heck out of you!
    ----------------------–
    The public option is just that – Its an option! Government Employees have a wide array of choices when it comes to healthcare – This would be another choice. If it was mandated, the Republican party would REALLY be up in arms, not the Democrats!

    August 4, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Vince

    Drudge reports the tape is from a SEIU Health Care Forum held March of 2007. I notice Ms. Douglass doesn't flat out deny he said it. She just implies that it is disinformation used to scare people. So the key question here is did President Obama say: “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,” or didn't he, Ms. Douglass?

    August 4, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Gop

    I do recall when Hillary Clinton said 'that it was patriotic to dissent'

    But now with Obama in office if you Dissent he sends his attack dogs to bite your head off and say you are making misstatements and outright falsehoods!

    The problem is Obama believes the only one that can make misstatements and outright falsehoods is him and every Democrat workin g for him!

    all others will be cut off at the knees! So much for that CHANGE and HOPE you liberals voted for!

    August 4, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Ace

    All those who scream "Stupid Republican" and "Idiot Democrat" are deluding themselves. Not everybody votes the party line. Some liberals are dismayed by the health care proposals just as some conservatives are interested.

    Why not discuss the merits or shortcomings without bellowing like cattle? Are we civilized people or just barbarians with nice clothing?

    August 4, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. DefiantOne

    Republicans don't have enough votes to block health care legislation.

    So I don't understand all this "blame the GOP" talk. Nobody can stop health care reform but Democrats.

    All we hear is how out of touch and irrelevant Republicans are. So if they're that weak, why can't the Democrats get a bill? It's not like they have 20 more seats in the Senate and 80 more seats in the House.

    Oh wait...

    August 4, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. cmb

    Funny how the town hall meeting dissention sounds exactly like what is being spouted on Fox News. Hmmm. Plants maybe?

    August 4, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Moderate Democrat

    Tort Reform is in NO way shape or form related to health care reform. It's sole purpose is to advocate and support incompetence. If a doctor kills you, then the GOP dictates how much your life is worth, if it's worth anything at all. They go on to ASSUME that somehow, through magic and in contrast to proven history, the savings that the doctors recieve will somehow mysteriously creep into the price of your health care policy (aka: Trickle Down Economics, which has proven to be a failure). If you really think that Insurance Providers will stop denying coverage, lower premiums and reduce their profit margins, then you are HIGH.

    Say NO to TORT reform, it advocates incompetence. A policy the GOP is steadfast on, if you fail, then so what, you should not be held accountable.

    August 4, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Darko

    unedited video...how the heck can you take that out of context??? YOU CAN'T!!! What an idiot this admin thinks we all are.

    August 4, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. Typical Republican

    No Socialist Programs. I refuse to cherry pick the social programs I am in favor of. Therefor I encourage all my fellow republicans to begin calling for the complete dismantling of the Military, Police Departments and Fire Departments. Let's make them all for profit businesses!

    Disban ALL social programs first, and then we can talk about TORT reform and how it is a good thing that doctors are not responsible for doing their jobs. If they make a boo boo and you die....Oh well, life isn't worth anything....you lose your life!

    August 4, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. Frances

    The numbers are variable but some say around 90%? of people are satisfied with their insurance. Forty some million people are not insured at all. So why not have a public option. Key word being OPTION. For those people who are happy with their insurance, by all means keep it, but for those 10% who are not happy with their insurance or the under insured, as well as uninsured, there would be a public option. I bet premiums for private insurance would go down for the people who want to keep their private insurance. It would force their hand. If they want to stay in business, better deals would pop up. It is called competition. Right now the only competition out there is who can get the most money for the least coverage. Plus, if the public option was that bad, then why would anyone else want to get it? The private insurance companies would have nothing to fear correct?

    Right now, scare tactics are out their trying to scare the public or the elderly because there are alot of uninformed listeners out there to scare. THINK ABOUT IT PEOPLE, if you don't want the public option, then do not take it. Keep yours as is. But don't deny the many who do need it. Love thy neighbor.

    August 4, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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