August 4th, 2009
11:15 AM ET
9 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. Rob from Texas

    Drudge is the equivalent of a good Children's Book...entertaining but not much merrit to it.

    August 4, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. jeff

    Would national healthcare be that bad? Look at all the people that have a national plan right now, they all love it. The only people public healthcare will hurt are the private insurance companies executives. They make millions and spend millions of our money for their business, not our health. Healthcare is a right for all Americans, not a commodity. If they cared about their patients they would cover preventative care, they would not deny necessary procedures. They are a for profit company, they only care about their bottom line. That works for good and services that are not required for all Americans, but not for healthcare.

    August 4, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. Tony L. - Atlanta

    If there is a legitimate reason not to have a public option for government run heathcare, then why all the lies and deceptions? Why not just tell the truth and let the public decide? Why – it is because special interests know that the truth means people will most likely opt for a government healthcare system when faced with the facts. The last resort to building opposition is fear and disinformation. Whatever happen to America first?

    August 4, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. cca

    It's hard to fight back when you are refuting the truth. Misinformation is disseminated by both the white house and "rabid right-wingers" but the interview in question was not "cherry picked" it was an unusually honest answer from a soon to be president .

    August 4, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. @Rick in OP

    That was a hoax. The only national news network that was there was FOX. And those were not locals. Those were people who were bused in by Big Pharma, Insurance lobbyist and the GOP who are dead set on maintaining the status quo of healthcare that leaves people uninsured, bankrupt and with low quality health care.

    I would like to thank you for asking this question so I could answer it.

    You have been fooled, tricked, hoodwinked...bamboozled

    August 4, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  6. martraco

    Free health care for those who can afford it. There. That should make both sides of the aisle happy.

    August 4, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. carlo

    If the health insurance industry are low enough to forge letters from minorities and interest groups to Congress, then anything goes for them. No low is too low.

    August 4, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. jason NY

    " August 4th, 2009 10:55 am ET

    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."

    Wow! So why is that politicians will be exempt from this new proposed health care? Of course they like it very much. We the taxpayers fund it!!!

    August 4, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. Eric

    All Drudge did was link a video of Obama saying that he would eventually get rid of all the insurance companies and have the whole US under a single payer (Government run) plan. How is this misinformation? Straight from Obama's mouth. More lies from this administration!

    August 4, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. chris

    1. You won't be "buying" public insurance since the government will make it available for everyone, the only cost is to the hard working american tax payer.

    2. Out of the "40 million new customers entering the market" over 12 million of them will be illegal aliens who contibute nothing to the system to which they will have access to and we would pay for.

    3. By his own admission Obama would see an end to private insurance in 10, 15 or 20 years. What market would there be then? How would it be paid for? You bet health care woukld be rationed!!

    August 4, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I find it amazing how the insurance companies are able to constantly place ads on TV. Doesn't cost nearly $3 million to run a TV ad? Insurance companies are making profits as huge as the oil industry, if not bigger. There needs to be a public option to force them to drive down cost.

    August 4, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Randolph Carter

    Why do we even need insurance companies? They're just greedy middlemen who get between you and your doctor. Think about how much money they must take in every year. If we got rid of them and paid half of what we're paying them in taxes, we'd have great healthcare for everyone and save money. But that would be socialism, right? Have a nice day!

    August 4, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. Gordon Shumway

    With the continual lies coming from the white house occupants and staff, it is amazing anyone can even recognize or challenge anyone else's statements as being false or misleading. When you believe bull crap long enough it begins to smell like perfume!

    August 4, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. LeeLee

    Medicaid is a disaster, Medicare is a disaster, Social Security is a disaster, and some of you want the same government that created these debacles to take over 1/6 of our economy?? You want some bureaucrat making a decision you and your doctor should be making?? Gimme a break.

    August 4, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. ATR

    I wonder how many of those Town Hall disrupters are on Medicare? A lot of them looked pretty old. I wonder how they would feel about losing their Govt. sponsored healthcare. I venture to guess, there is not one single retired person in the U.S. who would voluntarily give up Medicare. These disrupters are just ignorant folks who are doing what the corporate lobbyists tell them to do. Don't they know they are just tools?

    August 4, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. JAY

    If this health care plan is so great , why won't the government
    give up the one they have now , and take the one they are
    forcing on the American people.

    August 4, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. Charles

    Our health care system is broken. Period. So we have to make changes. Obama's plan may not be better, but we should bring all the facts to the table and debate and come out a plan that everyone can agree with. If GOP keep bringing "socialism", "costly", such crap and misinformation, they will becomre more and more irrelevant.

    August 4, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. Mark

    Some of the comments above already reflect some of the Obama counterattack against the truth. Look at how they attack Republicans. The fact is if the Government gets into the insurance business, it is not a free market effort to make the industry more competetive. We complain at how governemnt subsidized companies and industries from overseas is not a fair practice in that they do not have to earn a profit. A private company cannot compete against a governemnt entity that does not have a profit motive. Our governemnt has proven it is willing to overspend without regard to consequences. This governemnt effort is not about health care, it is about ruining our insurance industry and get more power and control for governemnt. No thanks.

    August 4, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. minnie

    Based on what Obama says, We do not want his plan.
    How many times does he have to be told.
    We have the best healthcare system in the world. As the rest of the world agrees.

    We the people say no and we are the boss, not congress or Obama.
    They work for us.

    August 4, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. Pete

    Read the latest Time magazine. It has the entire proposed health care bill broken down and explained. Maybe that will help defuse some of the insane rhetoric being put out by the insurance companies and the equally ignorant right wingers that are in the insurance companies' pockets. The bill appears to be a good bill that will benefit many. It puts pressure on the insurance companies to do what they say they do in their respective charters – INSURE! People expect to be covered when they pay their premiums, not be slaughtered when they try to use it.

    August 4, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. old timer

    This is what happens when the voters put this man in office.Noone checked his background or vetted this man . If he were vetted and the union people did not back this guy we would not be in the position we are in now. What this guy is doing will be the ruination of America.

    It looks like it is time to impeach him and get rid of the communistic leader or dictator that everone wanted in this office. Wake up America and see the hand writing on the wall before it gets any worse

    August 4, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. the southern progressive

    the southern progressive August 4th, 2009 11:08 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    people lie, politicians lie, politicos lie,,,,, makes you wonder who has actually read and applies the ninth commandment.


    ahh.. i have realized the answer to my own question.. who doesnt apply the ninth commandment.. are those who covet they neighbors wife, life and money..

    greed and organized religion are the root of that is evil and wrong in the world.

    August 4, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Wake Up

    obamabots...analyze your king obama...quit attacking anyone that disagrees. this is a democracy....i know obama thinks he's king...but it's still america. this obama is scary.
    Middle and upper class should support the lazy and unwilling.

    August 4, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. BC

    great. I can't wait till my health is in the hands of our oh-so-capable government.

    August 4, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. Chris, Atlanta GA

    It's always the same with liberals..... the big bad conglomerate with their "immoral profits" and "lack of ethics" and their "misinformation" to keep you as a slave. Yet they ferociously promote the biggest business of all in America.... the Federal Government. Hypocritical much? Now if there was a CEO of a bank with government subsidized housing in the Bronx, housing and tax issues via the Caribbean, and was spending over a million dollars to prevent an investigation like Charles Rangel currently is, ACORN would be outside their office picketing. But I guess it's only the big business giving us the shaft.

    August 4, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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