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. Stork

    Yes, its those greedy insurance companies. It has NOTHING to do with those greedy lawyers. The reason it is so high is because the doctors cant afford Med Mal coverage. Why is that ..because the lawyers take the money intended for the patients. But Oblama will not even entertain tort reform, its like saying we are going to make a "green" car, but we dont change the emissions. Remove the lawyers, remove the problem. How do you think John Edwards (remember him?) made all of his money, millions off the class action medical cases. He made more money from the lawsuits than the patients he was representing. Doctors need to cover their costs for insurance, therfore the charges go up. And by the way the insurance companies make their money off investment income – not off the premiums. Do some research

    August 4, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. jon

    President Obama, if you really cared for the health of 50 million uninsured Americans, you would have pushed for a single payer system at the start of your administration. If you had done this, with your popularity at that time, the deal would have gotten done. Instead you decided to waste a trillion and a half dollars of tax payers money to push your ridiculous elite agenda. You don't really care for people's health. Also, absolutely nothing has been done to lessen the burden of the poor and the homeless in the U.S. Something you vowed to do. The weakest members of our society still have no voice. You have only served to empower the intellectual elite and their delusions of utopia, while the least fortunate in our society continue to live on our streets.

    August 4, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. A B C

    I know we have the right to Free Speech, but it is RIDICULOUS how right-wing bloggers can outright lie and stretch the truth. These people must be in paid positions by the Rich and Special Interest groups or they are just plain stupid.

    August 4, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Stefanie

    To the woman who is trying to control those 45 million Americans without insurance. Stop telling those people that they can't have a choice of a public option.

    August 4, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Randy

    Look how easy to manipulate so-called "conservatives". No wonder CEOs of insurance companies are making huge money for themselves.

    Keep it up! Yeah, we don't want a socialized healthcare system no matter how well it's working in other countries!! That is soooo un-American. We love paying millions to insurance companies though they would try anything to NOT reimburse! Now, Thats American!

    August 4, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. Stefanie

    You people who opposed fellow American WORKERS who have no health care from getting it, are disgusting and Anti-American.

    August 4, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. mjm

    Government employees have private insurance. They pick from over 200 plans, everything from BCBS PPO to Humana HMO. It's all private. It's all provided for their employees by their employer. What a concept!

    So when Obama said he wants you to have the same insurance he has, he meant BCBS, or United Healthcare, or Humana….Because that’s what he has.

    The only government health insurance programs are Medicare, Medicaid, and SChip.

    I wonder how many government employees are on Medicaid...

    August 4, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. dee

    A good point: if this healthcare plan is so wonderful, why have the President and Congress exempted themselves from its coverage? Reminds me of the book Animal Farm: we're all equal, but some are more equal than others. For those of you threatening to move to another country over this, please do. Government assistance was once a shameful term. Now I see young men and women who have no problem accepting handouts. And I see people pouring in from other countries and overburdening social services already offered. Try going to another country and doing that. The first thing that needs to be done to revamp healthcare in this country is to stop the rampant abuse of our social services and our emergency services. The second thing is to put a cap on malpractice suits, which is another major factor in rising healthcare costs. And the third is to restrict drug advertisements that try to convince people they need something that they don't, like Viagra or antidepressants. We don't need a universal healthcare system.

    August 4, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. Neutralizer

    Listen to speech of Obambi in 2003 infront of union members, ultimate goal of his socialize medicine is single payer system – meaning controlled by the government. They federal government cannot manage a lemonade stand without banckrupting it. Cash for Clunker is a great example of failure, their budget of $1 billion should last up to October, in a matter of one week that money is gone. As other posters here have clearly stated, programs run by the government are all failures. I wouldn't trust the government to manage my health care if I were you. As Obambi said why have a surgery when you can take painkillers. If you're in pain, Obambi will prescribe you aspirin or tylenol or advil. If you're aids patient that requires all kinds of medication, Obambi will prescribe you aspirin.

    August 4, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Stork

    wait a minute, there people hear attacking Drudge and praising olbermann?/
    Thaty is just TOO FUNNY

    August 4, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. GOP = 21st century dodo

    "For whatever reason or circumstance your health care costs are beyond your means does not make it the resposibility of others (or government)."

    Geez. Read Ayn Rand much?

    That is one of the most callous things I have ever heard. If a fellow human being is in pain you help them; you don't leave them to die.

    August 4, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  12. Stefanie

    Stop deluding yourself. None of you actually pay for your healthcare. Your employer does and is confronted with out of control health care costs for crappy coverage that dumps members as soon as they get seriously ill. It is your employer who pays those premiums that can't continue to pay it when you go retire. Would you like to be shopping for health care when you get to retirement age? No. I don't think so.

    But, really, you should be ashamed of yourself. Think about today, yourself, and no one else... until you need good coverage and your carrier says, "Sorry, that is not covered."

    August 4, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. Nate

    Maybe the President needs to remember what he said about "health care." Maybe everyone needs to get the hell back away from the spin and grab for power, and the goes for both parties. Maybe we masses and vast unwashed need to behave like citizens, and not be dependent on the talking heads occupying the airwaves and digital signals. Maybe the "belt way" inhabitants need to get real jobs. Maybe legislators need to collectively accept the rules they inflict on their "bosses."

    August 4, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. Randolph Carter

    Drudge? See, here's the problem, society has turned into a niche system. We can all choose the sources of information that are slanted towards our own views be they liberal or conservative. My wife and I call it newsertainment. We can listen to the satellite radio station that only plays the type of music we like. We can live in a neighborhood where everyone is in the same socioeconomic class as us. We can totally avoid exposure to ideas that are different from our own. Thus we become more insular and opinionated and convinced that we are "right" and they are "wrong". Hence all of the strongly voiced opinions on this blog. Y'all need to step away from the computer, turn off the tv and get out of the house more often, sort of step outside your little ideological bubbles. Have a nice day!

    August 4, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. No Hillary = No Obama

    Do any one of us really know what is being forced down our throats with Obama's need to make a name for himself by pushing a health care plan that no one has been fully informed about?

    August 4, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  16. JLS

    Nobody has still figured out how to pay for all of this. Obama cannot and will not guarantee he won't raise taxes, they continue to refer back to his campaign "promise". Well then, put it in writing!!
    They say 2/3's of it can be paid by trimming waste, but offer no specifics. This is going to cost EVERYONE money, you can take that to the bank.

    August 4, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. mike

    it'd be very easy to dismiss the druge report except for the fact that Obama, Barney Frank and Pelosi all said it.

    They want single payer. end of story. if you want your care rationed, vote Democrat. if you want a choice, vote republican or blue dog if you can.

    2010 can't get here fast enough.

    August 4, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Matt

    I want and will pay for (with my tax dollars), Single Payer Universal Health Coverage.

    Real Americans want Single Payer. The Right to Life is the first line of the Declaration of Independence. What could be more appropriate then single payer universal coverage?

    August 4, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    @ Jon, who said "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. "

    That's because those "blue dog" democrats are from districts with sufficient numbers of annoyingly gullible people who believe the GOP's fear-mongering misinformation campaign talking points that they worry about their ability to get re-elected if they support the plan outright. You can't avoid the GOP's balmeworthiness for its actions here by petulantly hiding behind the Dem's superior numbers in congress. Lying and spreading baseless fear steeped in disproven ideological tenets is wrong no matter how you slice it.

    August 4, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. George

    Wow compassion if flowing today. Weed out the weak ones??
    Typical republican thinking. This is what American voters have been doing. Weeding out the weak and the lame. Mostly republicans. hehe

    August 4, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. John from California

    This has been going on for over two hundred years as first the Torries and then the Wigs and finally the Republican Party has been engaging in lies and distortions to protect and increase their wealth at the expense of the rest of Americans.

    Health Care reform is a must and the republican party needs to be swept aside to enable all Americans adequate health care.

    We should declare all health care non-profit and put health care workers on salary. There is no reason why executives and others should be compensated in the tens of millions of dollars each year.

    If it's a matter of supply and demand then, increase the rolls in medical schools and allow more foreign trained doctors into the country. We need competition in the medical industry along with regulation. This won't get done with the republican foot dragging after all this current health care system is the republican ideal.

    August 4, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Matt B

    Just one question: how would we pay for Obama's healthcare plan? He has yet to fully explain it and I haven't heard many in the "independent" media ask. He has already driven record debt and record deficits (yes, he has actually eclipsed the brutal Bush regime). Does he plan to just add another trillion and expect no consequences? This is crazy...you can't just keep spending money. The prospect of adding another trillion should really scare people.

    REALITY CHECK: Our debt offerings have been brutal...nobody wants our debt anymore people and that includes China. We have NO WAY to pay.

    August 4, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. kmp

    You know what truly amazes me is the inability of ordinary citizens to think for themselves and do a little research. While I am not sure the Administration health plan is the best answer but at least they are trying to do something instead of leaving it as it is. The system as it stands is broken and while the plan isn't perfect at least maybe it could be the start in true healthcare reform.

    Overall the amount of information out there that is wrong or missleading is staggering and those spreading it should be ashamed but more than that the people willing to believe it without really reading the issue on hand should be ashamed.

    August 4, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. Tony

    What is wrong with eliminating the need for employer coverage? I'd rather pay a little more in taxes (better yet have the rich pay them) to have real coverage, and not have to pay hundreds of dollars a month out of my salary for not so good coverage.

    August 4, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Keeth in California

    Drudge himself is a traitor. He revealed military locations in Afghanistan on his website. And yet he was never held accountable. Why? Because conservatives find it easy to ignore the law when they think the ends justify the means. And to what end did Drudge post this info? Hits and popularity. It's sickening.

    August 4, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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