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. Clay

    Disinformation and ignorance are the cornerstone of the republican's efforts and it works with their constituents because most are either uneducated or simply ignorant of the facts. And they certainly won't get them watching FOX. Why these citizens prefer to have their healthcare managed by profit-hording insurance companies instead of having a public option is a true mystery to me, but it seems that they will buy into any plan that speaks of profits, no matter the cost to the rest of society. The healthcare industries are buying off every politician and media outlet they can get their hands on, yet conservatives continue to support the moneygrubbers and their enablers because Limbaugh and FOX tell them to. Go figure.

    August 4, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Pete East

    The president always has a camera on him in public, and makes a lot of statements regarding all kinds of policy issues which are recorded and can be gone over with a fine tooth comb later. And yes, there are a lot of people with computers and "free time" on their hands.

    For all you Democrats, particularly the liberal Democrats, this should sound really familiar. You can expect to be paid in kind for what you have dished out over the last few years.

    Assuming of course that freedom of speech remains a freedom.

    August 4, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. RickM

    So Obama said it but now wants to disavow it? Somehow its wrong that Drudge linked to his own words? Oh brother...

    August 4, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. mike

    I'm glad their will be additional information available so American's will get accurate information about health care versus a health care version from adversaries with a hidden agenda.

    August 4, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Angela

    Obama and his gang wouldn't know the truth if it jumped up and bit them! Those words came out of HIS mouth and now he's talking out of the other side. I don't believe a word he says! And no, these sound bites are not "cherry picked" to make it sound like he's saying something he didnt' say. THOSE ARE HIS WORDS coming out of his mouth. Plain and simple – he wants government run health care and we should all be terrified of that prospect!!!

    August 4, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. cfrench

    Hopefully there are only a few people out there who are gullible enough to swallow what Drudge, Limbaugh, Hannity, FOX and the rest of the right wing fear monger's have to say. I would like to think that this country has a higher percentage of intellignet, thoughtful people as opposed to a bunch of tea-bagging lemmings.

    August 4, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  7. katiec

    Those who support Health Care Reform, please contact by phone or e mail (unfortunately, many in the house will only accept correspondence from their districts, so have to call) and demand
    passage of health care reform.
    What is being offered is by no means the final version, but it is
    a step to begin the process.
    No more political games on something so crucial to all of us.

    August 4, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. Scott in Texas...

    I sure wish that CNN or the White House would have clarified exactly the context in which the quote in the Drudge article was intended. I'm fully willing to disregard the quote if this was indeed taken out of context, but if the quote is real it's hard to envision how this is out of context.

    August 4, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. mabel floyd

    lying is all these c-street boys can do as health care is so needed and the obama plan is a great beginning. the public option is necessary and must be there for the plan to work for the people. the money boys are busy buying the congress as fast as 1.2 million dollars per day will accomplish. people who think with emotion rather than their brain will be sucked in by this crap the republicans and blue noses dems are blowing out.
    be aware people and do not be snuckered-we need the health care plan and we must have the public option!!!

    August 4, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. Craig of LA

    We again see why the American people have correctly rejected and spit out the Republican party, a once proud party that is now held in a death grip by a fanatical lunatic fringe. We see lies, disinformation, playing on people's fear, bussing squads of thugs to town hall meetings for the sole purpose of disrupting them. We have seen other parties in history that have used these tactics to disrupt and subvert freedom and democracy. We will not allow it happen here however. People of integrity in and out of the media are exposing these falsehoods and tactics. The American people will do the right thing, the moral thing and join the rest of civilized societies by providing universal health coverage – a basic human right.

    August 4, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. Annie, Atlanta

    Why are Republicans (and some Dems, too) trying to protect the interests of the insurance companies over the interests of the average American citizen? What is wrong with making health insurance coverage more competitive. Why is capitalism ok everywhere else but in health insurance. And why do conservative voters continually shoot themselves in the foot by voting against their best interests, in support of the very greed-driven corporate America?

    Example: I have diabetes. My endocrinologist charges me $800!!! 4 times a year for blood work and a visit to go over the results. We need health care reform. We're already having to decide between having a medical problem looked into or dying because we can't afford it. How can this be, right here in America; how!!!???

    August 4, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. J. L. W.

    People are beginning to realize that Obama's health care plan will be to costly and lead to a disaster.

    August 4, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. Juliana Jaeger

    The level of sheer ignorance-based terror over nationalized/socialized medicine is staggering and frightening. I can't really put it much more nicely than that. The most of the opposition to the reforms are coming from people that don't even know what the status quo is, let alone what the proposed changes actually mean. The rest of the opposition is coming from people who are simply so utterly greedy and consumed with avarice and contempt for their neighbors that they have virtual tantrums over an arguably extremely modest tax increase to give basic primary health care to everybody, particularly children and people who cannot afford private/commercial insurance.

    It's almost depressing.

    August 4, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. JR

    Obama administration and the Democratic Party have to be very aggressive and adopt the same tone and style as Keith Olberman took yesterday in his Special Comment. They have to denounce lawmakers who are representing insurance companies instead of people who voted for them.
    President Obama is making the very same mistake Dwight Howard of Magic-Orlando did during the 2009 all-start dunk contest. The superman Dwight Howard naively let the New-York Knick Nate Robinson to dunk over him. As consequence Nate won over him.
    President Obama has been doing just that. He likes to praise people that are hurting him like John McCain and the Republican Party instead of praising people like Madame Pelosi who are fighting for his success.
    He has praised conservative journalists like Rush Limbaugh, Joe Scarborough and Mika, Hannity, Pat Buchanan, and others instead of praising journalists who are fighting for him like Ed show, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and others.
    It looks like President Obama loves fight because he really loves to encourage people who fight him.

    August 4, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. Wes

    This is why Drudge is so influential.... most don't read past the headline. Drudge creates his own headline from the stories he links (rarely ever copies the author's headline verbatim) and dumbs down the day's news into a single page of biased headlines.

    August 4, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. R M M

    Can someone please tell me how the Presidents own words can now be labled as misinformation???It seems clear what this administration wants , and theyre trying to ram this thru before more people realize what the effects will be on them . But they are losing the battle .

    August 4, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. montag24

    It's about time that the White House started fighting back. If you don't refute the lies of the rabid right-wingers, the lies take root and start to grow.

    Eventually enough morons start to believe the lies and you're finished. Look at what happened to John Kerry because of the Swift-boaters.

    August 4, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. Rick in OP

    CNN,
    Did I miss your coverage of the Arlen Specter/Kathleen Sebelius health care town hall meeting in Philadelphia on August 3rd? It seems that the health care plan was not too popular with the locals.

    August 4, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. D. Tree

    The facts are Insurance reform will help almost every American, whether you already have Insurance or not.

    Our Senators, Troops, and Seniors have public insurance and like it very much – why cant' we all be given the choice to buy public insurance as well? There will be over 40 million new customers entering the market, its a boom for everyone.

    August 4, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. Sam

    "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.

    Ya...trust me...................

    August 4, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. bj

    We worry about the healthcare reform. Perhaps we should be more concerned about the lobbyists and politicians receiving big $ from healthcare related contributors! Do they worry about the middle class who cannot afford insurance or other healthcare related expenses? You bet not!

    August 4, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Rand

    Who pays for this healthcare? I believe it is me and you. I hope your pocketbook can handle it.

    August 4, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. Kenneth Jehling, Frisco Texas

    OK WH lets get the facts–I know the answers I have read the various bills:

    -You will get to keep your current health insurance–Not for long
    -Seniors will be denied certian procedures and treatments based on age–yes they will–treatment delayed is treatment denied (its functional E for us old folks–AARP is in the tank!)
    -Illegal aliens will be covered-they say no, but refuse a screening process and that will allow loophole coverage.
    -Will the obvious cost cutting available in tort reform be acted on-no
    -Are there additional taxes and fees hidden in the bill-youbetcha
    -Will tax paid abortions be included–looks like they will
    -Does the OMB see this as deficient nuetral--no way, quite the contrary

    So what are we doing this for? It looks like congress wants to ramrod a bill most Americans don't want-legislation without representation-throw this out and lets get something that works–a couple of hundred billion or less fixes all the problems.

    August 4, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  24. Mitch

    I hope Drudge keeps it up to counter the disinformation campaign coming from Obama and his team. Obama's quotes are factual evidence of his philosophy and his goals. Too bad for him that those quotes are now inconvenient as he tries to pull the wool over the public's eye.

    August 4, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. Zack

    We must have health care reform now with a public option, as is available to all senators, congressmen, the president, our armed services, all cabinet members, all government workers. The right wing is spreading lies and disinformation on this matter and it is about time that we put them out to pasture. Any congressman opposed to this plan should have their insurance taken away and made to forge it on their own to obtain the same quality insurance that most Americans have to do now, and it is difficult, not to mention ridiculous.

    August 4, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
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