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. Scott Thompson

    The "Most Trusted Name in News"?? Read CNN's headlines.. Drudge.. Bush 41.. and the best yet.. Quirky gifts of past Presidents. Where is the mention of all the debate at these town hall meetings? CNN wants to portray the far right as being the ones who mislead it's readers.. but isn't CNN doing the same thing to you far lefties by ignoring obvious news stories as Arlene Spector getting booed off stage for saying.. " We law makers divide up legislation into parts so our staffers can read them and report back to us because we have to make decisions very quick". In other words.. "Me.. Sir Spector.. I don't have time to read a bill I'm elected to read and vote on.. those are for pesants.. I need my morning latte".

    Plain and simple. We need reform, but we need to realize.. unless we read, re-read, inform the American People.. write.. read, and re-read again.. reform means nothing. Slow down.. get it right.. and.. pay for it. That simpe!

    August 4, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Scot

    I believe that President Obama truly wishes for health coverage for every American's sake. I believe that the GOP leadership is only concerned about maximizing profits for their corporate base's sake. Unfortunately, a significant influence in this mess is Nancy Pelosi, whose only concern appears to be... Nancy Pelosi.

    August 4, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Ken P

    I'm really tired of the lies that come from the right. All to often I get emails filled with mis-truths and outright lies yet they are effective because people blindly believe what they read. Why don't I get emails like this from the left? Maybe it's only the right who lies? In any case, I'm an independent and the lies have pushed me to vote for the left. They are more honest in my experience.

    August 4, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Phil Jackson

    Good to see the White House fight back at any news source that doesn't give it favorable coverage. Who does drudge think they are, the must give the President Obama good coverage and promote his health care agenda like ABC news. There shouldn't be any debate on the health care and we must pass it quickly.

    August 4, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. Jon

    Change your insurance policy if you don't like it people, and ask your representatives to deter employer insurance programs because they limit competition and choice. I would much rather just get the benefit money and then get a policy on my own then have to stay on the limited choices provided by my employer.

    August 4, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. steve

    So where us the misinformation in the article? The White House spends a lot of time saying it is wrong, but doesn't list the misinformation? Can it be true? Is the President just trying to cover his rear? I think so.

    August 4, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. Peggy - TX

    This is a start in the right direction, but a very slow weak start. Also, the strategy of making the insurance companies the villain is OK, but by itself, Not enough.

    A detailed, technical, discussion of the insurance reforms by highly knowledgeable people is needed. The democrats are now insulting the intelligence of the American People who want to be educated and need hear the details and the underlying logic, even if not fully understood.

    More importantly, leadership, rather then political gaming is now needed to combat the existing impression that the Democrats are incompetent, do not have a plan and are just pie-in-the sky socialist who do not have their feet firmly planted on the ground.

    August 4, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. MatthewDetroit

    OH and by the way all the DEMS that would poinnt fingers at the REP.
    BARACK IS GOING TO TAX EVERYONE.
    IT WAS NEVER right to tax everyone over 250k but now it is even worse.
    He can NOT get enough money out of the over 250K earners.
    He is going to HAVE to tax the middle class.
    60% of the people in this country pay the taxes.
    40% dont pay taxes.
    Get your numbers straight.
    The goverment is not the answer. Private enterprise and individual workers and thinkers is the answer.

    August 4, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. Brian

    Truth, what is that?

    When was the last time you thought you heard the truth from Washington or any politician.

    i don't believe any of them. The question is which one will damage me the least.

    25 years of work with no sick days, don't tell me I am spoiled. I just don't want the fruits of my labor to be stolen from me which I see as a
    possibility.

    I thought the idea behind HMO's was that I would get an annual physical to help prevent the onset of a serious illness. Somehow, the concept got hijacked (insurance companies & Washington cronies??). They don't want you to come throught the healthcare door.

    Lets see and honest presentation of the facts from the government side, the industry side and the consumer advocate side.

    August 4, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. Bob in Pa

    The truth hurts doesn't it.
    You can't spin it any other way when the words originated from your own mouth.

    August 4, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. Micah

    Easy for you that are against healthcare reform when you are enjoying your healthcare coverage. I work full time and have a family, but I can't afford to provide health care to my family. I am not some lazy person wanted to take your money. I work hard and pay taxes. I have a masters degree and still do not make enough money to pay for healthcare. I don't pay for cable television, I don't eat out, and I only buy used products. I don't drive a fancy car and I always pay my credit cards when they are due. I am just an American that needs help in providing my family that care that so many of you enjoy and take for granted!

    August 4, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. Chip Shirely

    Those rich angry old fogees showing up to bray at the healthcare town meatings are A L L…O N…M E D I C A R E…Which is a GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTHCARE PLAN.

    They are just too selfish or partisan to let the rest of the country have affordable healthcare.

    August 4, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    Looks as if the Dick Armey's "bused in" town hall protestors want more media coverage than they got during the weekend. I applaud CNN for not covering these idiots over much.

    Not sure who these people think they are fooling or who's minds they think they can scare away from health care reform. I am all for Drudge being called out. And all other organizations which use fear and lies to promote the interests of big business rather than the interests of the American people.

    Not to worry, though. We will have health care reform before the year is out.

    August 4, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. barb

    If this plan is so good, Obama every congress person, union person, government imployee , including the rich and famous, all the stars in hollywood should be on exactly the same plan as every american citizen, if that happens then you know Obama is telling the truth.

    August 4, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. Kelby

    The Whitehouse should maintain the same tone Keith Olberman displayed on his special comment last night. Some of these people road into office on Obama coat tails.
    These guys are supposed to represent the people not these lobbyist and special interest groups

    August 4, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. Dan Thomas

    He said it didn't he? I think this administration has lost all credibilty.

    August 4, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. arlene,CA

    I am glad we are finally going to push back against all these lies about Obama's health care reform. It's about time. I hope they take a very agressive & progressive stand because the other side does not want reform eventho they say everyone wants reform, they have been saying that since the days of Harry Truman. Keith Olbermann exposed the "blue dogs" & we need to continue exposing these elected officials who are working for the ins. companies & not the American people. Especially Olbermann, & also Maddow, & Ed Schultz are working to bring out the truth & expose these lies & that is what we need.

    August 4, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. Sam

    We have the best healthcare system in the world? Sure, after you discount 37 other countries. And if you consider citizens' satisfaction over what they have, we fall behind UK, France, Holland, Belgium, Scandinavian countries, AND CANADA! They all have public single payer systems, and their costs are half ours. And the best system in the world? The US VA Healthcare system, a government single payer system, which by the way has reduced cost this decade while insurance costs have doubled (and HMO profits have tripled). They use computerized records, a team approach to patients, and focus on long term health of the patient – actually health care versus illness care.

    August 4, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Jim A

    Let's look at the facts – 76% of Americans are insured and happy with their coverage – of the other 24% there is a significant portion that CHOOSES not to have insurance – not that they can't afford it. In the US you have 4 times GREATER chance of surriving a colon or breast cancer diagnosis than one would in the UK or Canada with socialized healthcare. So why we should we change it? I'm tired of the comparisons to mandatory auto insurance – if I CHOOSE not to drive a car I don't HAVE to have auto insurance – this is nothing but a tax on being alive. I hope everyone running for any Senate or House office in 2010 publishes the voting record of their opponent if they had voted for this absurd legislation – let's see what is more important – their job or this party line politics. What happened to the "change" to a bi-partison approach? Change is all we are going to have left in our pockets when this administration is done in 3 more years.

    August 4, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. Sidney Sliger

    Why are so many of you pushing for this reform? Half of you are quoting Mr. Obama directly as if you are in a trance! Wake up! Look at all the other courtiers that have done this! Total failure to provide care! And they don't even have 20+ million illegal immigrants to take care of! Come on people 22 months for a diagnostic MRI in Saskatchewan! Yeah it will save us lots of money, by the time you are seen you will have most likely died from your condition. Therefore eliminating your need for further care.

    August 4, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. verna heiberg

    Calling the Drudge article misinformation is too polite. Call it what it is-a lie. That's all the crazies on the right, tea baggers, birthers, and bloggers can do is to disrupt town hall meetings with their loud and stupid rantings and post things that are blatantly false. Normal people are not impressed.

    August 4, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. Sal Voce

    As soon as I get the same coverage at the same price that Congress has, I'll begin to listen. Until then, it's all crap.

    August 4, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  23. robmarie

    Its frigtening how some media outlets release republican talking Its frightening how some conservative media outlets release republican talking points and during town halls they are regurgitated by the crowd as if they truly have a concern about the issue. And then the repubs say look the people are really concerned about this.

    August 4, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Patrick

    This proves again that Obama and his team thinks people are stupid. Same leader who complained that parts of the clips were taken into misguided information plays two clips. Did she ever address Mr. Obama's statements from 2003? What a shame.liars fall big.

    August 4, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. frank, NC

    Dont fight back with Logic, fight back with stories of how tough it is for the regular folks in America, Most of us cannot afford health care and have horrific stories to share. Share the stories President Obama.

    August 4, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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