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. Johnny DC

    This president is a master at getting people to like him. You are all blind. It is laughable.

    So eager to defend him. Listen to his clips from the campaign. Listen to his clips from the first months. Listen to his clips now. He dances around issues, backtracks when popularity slides.

    This man is a DISASTER, just like Bush. And you are buying it, Liberals.

    August 4, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |

    The Health Insurance lobbysit are sending these People into the Town Hall meetings to protest all about the Lobbysit my friends all about The Lobbysit!

    August 4, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Mike

    I'm only going to say one thing to all the knee-jerk types out there:


    Seriously, how many of you have taken the time to study this thing? How about a synopsis? An extract? Summary? /Anything?/ Well, then, how about the Congressional Budget Office's report? Have you at least /heard/ about that?


    August 4, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. Kate in SW Fla

    You can tell who is just listening to and then repeating right wing talking points vs people who actually try to understand the problem. the current system is unsustainable. In order to reduce future deficits, we have to control health care cost increases. In order to do that, we must start NOW.

    August 4, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. D J Schaeffer

    One point to be clarified: Our Senators and Representatives are NOT on a public plan. They have a cadillac BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHEILD Plan.

    Point number two: Our Seniors "public" medicare plan will be destroyed by the billions of dollars that HB 3200 will remove from medicare to "balance" the HB proposal. In addition many Baby Boomers will enter into the Medicare system in the next 10 years?????Reduce dollars going into Medicare and increase participants?????? Would someone please tell me that Seniors are not the target for reduced care? "NO" you cannot have a hip replacement at age 70...go take a pain pill. And we will "council" you on how you can use your REDUCED benefits.

    You can print dollars to make everyone believe a public government run plan is viable...we all know what the real truth is....look at the trillions of dollars Medicaid and Medicare are currently on the hook for.

    And if our elected officials will not get off their cadillac plan, why are those "EMPLOYEES" of this country telling us they will shove their PUBLIC crap down our throats. THEY ARE NOT LISTENING TO THEIR EMPLOYEERS.

    August 4, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. steve

    I was a medicare provider as a psychotherapist for many years prior to retirement. I also accepted private insurance and fee for service. Medicare was the most reliable payer. And compared to private insurance, required far less paperwork, albeit too much in any case.

    If, as a nation our income tax were raised across the board whatever several percent it takes to provide in essence medicare for all, that would get my vote. That, combined with a clear, transparent plan to contain costs, develop drugs, train and pay doctors while eliminating duplication of services and providing evidenced based treatment seems an obvious solution to me.

    As a former provider who loved working directly with clients even though Medicare reimbursement rates were lower than private pay rates, I would have gladly traded in all of the other private insurance payers due to their time consuming forms and record keeping requirements. Those requirements seriously diminished the amount of direct practice time I could provide. A simple one page form would have allowed me far more time to actually deliver service. And anyone who could afford a fee for service would continue to be welcome as well.

    August 4, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. Tom

    What I don't get, is how the right can be so adamantly opposed to gov't , saying it can't do anything, and then be so high on the military which is run by the gov't. It's also a hoot how the right can't stand the liberal left unless of course it is the Iranian or Chinese left standing up against the RIGHT wing which controls their gov'ts. The liberals are those who fight and stand up for their freedom. The conservatives are the oppressors who want to keep the status quo – I give you Nazi Germany, Iran, China, Poland, pretty much the entire Middle East, and on and on. Right wing
    leaning people throughout the world are mean spirited, narrow minded, demagogues

    August 4, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. Robert New Concord, ohio

    Why don't people understand that if you get people to go to the Dr. instead of the Emergency room it will push Health care costs down substantially. People who have no insurance now can not go to a Dr. because they will not accept them so they go to the Emergency room where they can not be turned away at ten times the cost. Now who do you think pays for this now? It's the people who have insurance or the Government or higher costs for everyone else who uses that Hospital! So you are already paying for the people who can't afford insurance but at a much higher rate then you should be. So my plan is: 1. stop people from going to the Emergency room unless it is an Emergency. Make sure people have a place to go after normal hours by paying them a slightly higher government rate. 3. Put a cap on lawsuits and maybe even make a NON Profit insurance fund for Doctors. 4. There has to be a way people can join a non profit insurance group plan and I don't think it matters if it's ran by the Government or not it will need to be supervised by the Government to prevent fraud and abuse. I just don't see why insurance companies should be the only ones who can have insurance and we can't compete with them. I do believe since Medicare is already operational it could be at least used for a while until guidelines for private non profit groups can be set up with protection for the members.

    August 4, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. pete rice

    If this proposed health plan is so fantastic , is congress and the administratrions TOP level federal employees – exempt from it????

    August 4, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. Jane

    We need Universal Healthcare. I would not listen to the Right Wing Drudge.

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

    There are so many lies and falsehoods regarding health care reform coming from the right and special interest groups these days.

    If Obama and the Democrat's health care reform plans are so flawed on their own as opponents claim, why do those against reform rely on so much misinformation to argue against it??

    August 4, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. Harv in MD

    OK, so the Republicans are against the Dem's efforts to keep health care from bankrupting the country. They say they have "better ideas". The only constructive thing I have heard them say is, essentially, Don't Get Sick!

    August 4, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Ben

    There is no logic to spending trillions in a recession in a plan conceived by deceptive bureaucrats who are unable to run anything efficiently, ever. Why would you trust them with your money? And Yes, the US has the best & innovative healthcare in the world. How many times have you gone outside the country to get critical healthcare?

    August 4, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. Steven

    I don't think these statements have been taken out of context or 'cherry picked' at all. President Obama said those things and meant what he said. I have read as much of the bill as I can stand to and his intentions are clearly outlined. What is truly amazing, is that the White House won't admit to what is actually being proposed. I voted for the president, but have have learned what kind of man he is only after I helped to put him in office.

    August 4, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. paski

    Why are we trying to defend thte private insurance industry? All those who are "satisfied and extremely satisfied" with their current insurance are getting their coverage through their employer. Try getting one as an individual in the open market and you will find that it is extremely expensive and will come with high deductible and huge out of pocket expense. If you are on any prescription drug, forget it. You will be rejected. I had to increase my deductible and out of pocket expenses every year to keep my premiums at around $10000 per year.

    August 4, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. Lisa

    This morning on CNN I heard a republican Senator or Congressman quote the Drudge Video (he said it was from youtube) as the reason why he was against Healthcare reform! He should retract his statement. Despite his ignorant statement, at least the CNN anchor checked him on it by pointing out that nothign like that is in the bill and when/where did President ever say that? He was dumbfounded and finally fell back on, its socialize medicine! We funded their stupid war and their stupid tax cuts and lost our american surplus, now we as Americans won't be denied our right to free universal health care....NOW. Speak up or LOSE OUT!

    August 4, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. ali

    Robert, did you read the entire article. The whole point is how people are splicing together statements to make it sound like he said things he didn't say.

    August 4, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. SHIRLEY "61"

    I just have to say that I was shocked and appalled when I caught the news yesterday and saw all those ugly, rude Amercians behaving like a mob. They turned the oldest form of speaking out and listening, the town hall meeting, into a mess. I cannot believe that the hatred and greed that the GOP and its supporters have because of this president's election has caused these people to become the houligans such as I witnessed yesterday. They all seemed to be crazed, and now even if I thought that they were legitimate in their beliefs or actions, I would not support anything that they or their leaders have to say. The fact of the matter is that healthcare needs to be reformed now, and the insurance and pharmaceutical companies need to stop sucking us all dry, and we will do whatever we can to do the right thing for this country. There is a better way to protest than what we have seem from the just plain mean "teabaggers" and "anti-healthcare loonies" in this country. LET'S ALL TRY TO BRING SANITY BACK PLEASE!!

    August 4, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. Eric C

    Just more of the same Republican "block and stall" tactics that we've seen since Obama has been in office. Health care is a shambles, and its costing more and more.

    Just more of the same Republican tactics from Drudge.

    August 4, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. KAREN

    the problem is the very Politicians that are out touting the Healthcare plan don't even know whats in it. thats the real problem here. They can't even tell us how they are paying for it. Come on Democrat or Republican we deserve better. Break down the bill give us the good and bad , lay it out for us to see and read and let us make an informed decision thats all we ask. Its that too much !!

    August 4, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. Cindy

    I'm sooooooo sick of the GOP and all their falsehoods . I do believe that the Republican Party is nothing but pathological liars. I won't believe a thing they have to say anymore.

    August 4, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Curt

    grameez....good facts, except that the infant mortality rate is higher in the US because we report them ALL. We include stillborns and infants who die shortly after birth while many other countries dont! There will always be disatisfaction regardless of how good the system is, but try looking at polls from countries with Universal Healthcare and actually listening to the horrer stories coming from people suffering because of it. Most medical innovation comes from this country and our cancer survival rates blow away those countries livng with Universal healthcare!

    August 4, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. smokey

    I think it is time for the Democrats to get tough on HealthCare Reform ! I think Pres Obama has done a fantastic job, but it sems like he is out there by himself..Where are the rest of Democrats ? We realy need to develop a new strategy because it seems like these GOP people are really playing dirty..We cannot allow them to mis-led the Amercian People and use their same old tired intimidation tactics..It is not going to work this time, but we need a stronger message to let those voices who are for Healthcare reform be heard..Now is the time !!!

    August 4, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. Patrick

    10% of the claims made to Medicaid are fraudulent according to multiple outlets. That is one out of ten claims for the morons out there. How in God's Name it is a good idea to charge the government with managing the entire system when they fail miserably at managing most anything from education to the post office is beyond me.

    The idea of an overhaul is insane.

    August 4, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  25. Marcus, Great Lakes IL

    People think,

    Why is it that so many well-to-do people in the U.S.A get their meds, through the mail, via Canada or Mexico?


    August 4, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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