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. Rich Young

    If the right would like to get information out that is accurate and not misleading, that would be acceptable. But name calling and quote dissection is not acceptable. Winning a debate with slurs, innuendos and lies is not winning. It is brain washing. That puts the American ideal to a test, and leads to a place that I don't think any of us want to go.

    August 4, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Gary

    It astounds me that there are so many gullible Americans willing to accept the lies of the insurance industry and the lies of lawmakers who are effectively on their payrolls. People, we don't have the greatest health care! And, no Canadians don't come here for medical treatment. When was the last time you met a Canadian at the emergency room? Those are lies the insurance industry tells you. Think!!

    August 4, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. Huff

    Most that complain about the Republicans opposition have NOT even began to read HR 3200. Nothing wrong with public health care as a choice. But thats NOT what HR 3200 is. I'm not against Government health care. I am STRONGLY against HR 3200 that Obama is pushing. READ IT!!!

    August 4, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. John Black Hills/SD

    Obama's health care reform plan doesn't eliminate private insurance, this is something your representatives are telling you because of the "very deep pockets" of the insurance lobby. Americans who can afford to pay for insurance above the federal health care coverage will purchase an additional "supplemental" insurance coverage. Just like Medicare is today. Think for yourselves Americans, don't let your representatives decide for you based on the "cash donations" the insurance lobby has sent to every congressional, and senatorial representative. Don't be stupid, think for yourselves because we're not cockroaches who can thrive on fecal food being fed to Americans by your federal representatives.

    August 4, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. chris

    Do we really want government to run our healthcare? Come on now, they can't even run a bath! Goverment is the only one in US that would go into a dollar store with $20 and buy 1 item and still come out the store broke! Biggest wasters of other peoples money in history, and history has proved it. What they say will cost $20million, ends up costing $60million ro more, everytime!

    The government has the power to regulate the insurance companies among other things, why not start there. It's better than scrapping a system that is the best in the world for something has been proven not to work and cost too much.

    Medicare, Medicaid, Healthcare = US bankrupt!

    August 4, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. Texan for Obama

    It is so sad that the Right-Wing loonies have to resort to lies and dirty tricks in order to make their opinions known.

    The disruption of a town hall meeting by loonies is not going to derail much needed health care reform. Sorry to tell you.

    August 4, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. Geoff

    You can reform health care all you want. Until we get massive lifestyle changes our health care will not improve. Obesity is #1 on that list.

    August 4, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. Chip

    Why are all the naysayers suddenly prophets? "It will ruin our country" "We will have to wait months for surgery" Look, if you want to shoot down someones idea for change, at least have another plan to offer. If you like your current health care, you keep it. If you don't, you can have the public option. It's as simple as that and Obama has said it time and time again.

    August 4, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Lee

    There really people that watch and believe the "Drudge Report"? I find that the most unbelievable thing of all!

    August 4, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. GaryB

    There is a lot of misinformation regarding healthcare and medical insurance reform because a small number of people make a lot of money off of the healthcare and insurance industries, and they funnel some of that money to a lot of politicians - some on the left, but a lot more on the right. As a small business owner, healthcare insurance for my family alone eats up a significant amount of my profits - and that's for what is essentially catastrophic insurance. In other words, I am a dream customer for the insurance companies. Unfortunately, that's the type of insurance most Americans can expect to be getting in the next decade or so if we continue on our current path. If you want to fight reform now fine, that's your right. Just don't whine later when you can't afford to go to the doctor anymore.

    August 4, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. John L.

    Problem- If the "bad" health insurance companies are making such a profit, then why would the government version lose so much money? It's either going to be a big mess, or the "playing field" will be so off balance that all privates will fold. The C4C program reinforces my feeling that I would not want my health handled by the same people!

    August 4, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Kate in San Diego

    I have government run healthcare (like the rest of the retired military) and it is great!!! It's better than any of the private coverage I've had through many jobs over the years. I had more trouble with care being rationed or limited through private insurance, but never here. If my doctor says I need something, I get it. And this – I find it ironic that republicans usually want to outsource everything, claiming hte government is incapable of doing anything cheaply and efficiently. But here they are complaining the government would put the private companies out of business because they couldn't compete. How can it be both ways? And if the insurance companies can't do it better, why have them? An unnecessary middleman sucking up healthcare money, that's what they are.

    August 4, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. Matt

    Healthcare reform will take from those who work and give to those who don't. I'm so sick of the entitlement attitude. Nobody owes you squat. You owe yourself. How dare anyone demand Bill Gates riches....go out and earn it for yourself.

    August 4, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Greg

    this war of misinformation by both sides is ultimately not going to make a bunch of difference...

    the American people as a whole are very worried about this socialized healthcare plan and it is only going to get worse as details become more clear...

    we see that the Admininstration is trying to force this down our throats super quick for political reasons and we don't like it...

    it is not because of anything conservative talk radio or the Republicans are doing...

    it is because this whole thing stinks like a rotten fish...

    August 4, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. George

    My generally conservative local newspaper actually ran a front page article to debunk all of the extreme false information that is floating around about the proposed health care bill. (Which quite surprised me.) This has the potential to be the most significant change in domestic policy since social security. This needs to be done right, but the process is NOT helped by people who are our-right lying about it. We are all in this boat together and fear mongering is not an answer. My employer has seen health care costs skyrocket. (They are self insured.) I am paying more and more of my own money every year as the costs get passed through to me. (My income has dropped because of pay freezes and furloughs.) Lying is not helpful, constructive criticism is ... alternatives that address the core problems are, but clipping up old speeches to make up things that are not true is NOT.

    August 4, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. Ted in Houston

    For all of you bleeding hearts that are drooling over nationalized medicine, take a look at Canada, Great Britain, and our own VA. You can expect a trip to the doctor to be a lot like a trip to the DMV. And, to correct a previous post that health care is a "human right", since when?

    August 4, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. Kate in San Diego

    Guess what? Congress HAS government run healthcare the same as i do and the rest of the retired military folks! It is great healthcare! The politicians who are honest want you to have it too should you so desire. Some of you need to do some homework and get your facts straight.

    August 4, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  18. Stanley

    So if I took out a $100,000 loan against my house (which has little equity left) and took that money and threw it out into the streets ... it would be called STUPIDITY. When the government does it for me, it's called STIMULUS!

    August 4, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. Rick in OP

    The White House counteroffensive is too little, too late. They lost when they were not able to push their health care plan(s) through Congress before the August recess. The worst thing that could happen to their plan was an extended period of time for the intent and cost of these proposed programs to be evaluated. The realization of this is evident in the responses to this article as proponents of the health care plan(s) are sensing defeat and panic has set in.

    August 4, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. Eddie McMahon

    Insurance companies can't compete with a system that doesn't rely on profits and can collectively negotiate for a hundred million people. Any government plan will relegate private insurance to a niche market. So this article becomes moot if any government run health care is passed.

    If there is a single payer government plan health insurance costs immediately go down by one third because we are no longer paying to make a corporation profitable.

    What do you prefer? A bureaucrat that answer to stockholders and needs to make a profit or a bureaucrat who answer to government oversite and politicians who can be voted out of office.

    August 4, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Tim G

    Yes, lets look at the facts:
    – US has a 47% higher mortality rate for end-stage renal disease than Canada.
    – US/Canada mortality rates for Cardiac disease almost identical.
    – Canada has a higher survival rate for colorectal cancer, childhood leukemia, kidney & liver transplants.
    – US/Canada survival rates identical for cervical cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
    – US has higher survival rate for breast cancer.

    In a nutshell both systems work well. Ours is just more expensive.

    August 4, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. David

    Texan for Obama:

    I live in Texas and went to UT. Liberals invented disrupting public discourse in so many meetings I saw so many times on Campus even 20 years ago. They never wanted debate just like most liberals.

    I agree with you one thing. Lets have a fair and open debate. Get all the facts out in the open so the American people can see what we are buying. You know a little of that transparency thing.

    August 4, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. Grameez

    Chris, I'm tired of hearing people say we have the best medical care in the world. For whom??? Take a look at infant mortality rates. Take a look at satisfaction surveys. I can't even remember all of the different categories that we rank lower in then many western countries. We can do better!!

    August 4, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Jeff

    I work full time, my wife works full time and we have no health insurance.

    I DO NOT expect or want other people to pay for our health care, we set aside money every month, only a portion of what the insurance premium would be; we can afford to pay our health costs without stealing money from other people through taxes.

    People really need to read this health care bill, do not take anyone elses opinion or statement as fact.

    This is not a health care bill, it is a tax bill for those who can afford it the least the ones without health insureance, yes if you have no health insurance you will be taxed on every member of your family, and if you have insuarance that is "to good", you will be taxed also.

    Ignore the spin, ignore the rhetoric, read the bill and you will see we have been lied to by Obama, Pelosi, and anyone else trying to peddle this on us.

    August 4, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Debbie - Ohio

    I think there are some out there who either can't read or just plain don't comprehend the story. – "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." Smarten up people!! We need healthcare reform, and we need it NOW! I'm sick of our representatives not doing their jobs because they'd rather increase their campaign contributions from the big insurance and drug companies. I'm sick of spending a big chunk of my paycheck for inadequate insurance. I have worked all my life, and I have paid for insurance all my life. This system stinks and is getting worse everyday.

    August 4, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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