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. Jim

    Our healthcare system needs certain reforms, including massive tort reform limiting judgments against healthcare providers. Unfortunately, the democrats – with massive political contributions from the trial lawyers association and trial attorneys – have succesfully blocked all attempts for such reforms.

    People pushing for nationalized healthcare are the same liberals looking for every other government handouts. They have no concept of freedom, other than the dessire for freedom to not take responsibility for their lives. Take responsibility for your own life, get an education, get a life.

    August 4, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Keith

    No need to splice Obama...when he's off teleprompter, his foot usually ends up in his mouth.....spread the wealth....cops acted stupidly.....no tax increase. The clip they speak to in the article was not splced. Obama wants to do away with everything EXCEPT the government controlled part of health care. America is speaking out and has the right to be as rude as they see fit in order to offset the arrogance of the current administration. Dems will fall like dominoes at the next election. Should be fun to watch.

    August 4, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. dimes1

    Hey guys,

    No political commentary here, just read the bill before you make up your mind.

    The current debate is about HR 3200, not about whether we need health care reform. This bill while long is available for everyone to read.

    This bill as written will change your life so read it and then make up your mind.

    August 4, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Sean

    I'm a 22 year old type one diabetic. I have no health insurance and my medicine adds up to $400 a month. This healthcare reform is a essential change for myself and others with chronic illnesses.

    Now that I'm starting a family these finacial issues caused by my medicines are forcing me to choose between my own well being and my childrens diapers.

    All I know is that if this healthcare reform doesn't come before Obamas term is up I'm planning on moving to a country that can provide for me and my family. Cuba here i come!

    August 4, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Roger

    The Republican party is flinging deception as fast as they can to the public in hopes that we are stupid and will believe them.

    August 4, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Tim

    Curiously, though, while complainign about quotes being taken out of context, the WH didn;t explain how context would have changed what Obama clearly said: That his public "option" would drive out private competition and cease to become an "option" for most people. And that that's what he wanted. So when he tells you you can keep your own insurance, remember: As pretty as he is, he lies. A lot.

    August 4, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Paul

    for those that compare socialized medicine in countries outside the US as better....need to check out waiting times for preventive care and standard surgeries....hip replacments etc......also you need to consider the tax rate imposed on citizens of these countries with socialized medicine......it is considerably more than the US tax rates.....european countries pay more than 40% of their income in taxes to "enjoy" these health care benefits...

    bottomline...nothing is free...and you have to pay for it some how.....just like the CARS program......its nothing more than another subsidy for the all car manufactureres...paid for with your tax dollars!!

    the current bill is a tax bill, not a healthcare reform biil...READ IT.....seems most of our elected officials havent...and some have even admitted so in the media.......

    August 4, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Jonah

    Focus on tort reform and do not allow the government to take over health care. When has the government ever taken anything over and made it more efficient? Government has too much overhead. All government sectors need to be run more like businesses and have fewer businesses run by the government. I read a comment above that says "Speak now for your right to free health care!" Anyone who thinks that way is just looking for a hand-out. This country was founded on hard work and free market. Laissez-fair. Hard workers will bear more of the brunt and the free loaders will get more entitlement. Oh yeah, and the quality of health care will plummet.

    August 4, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. chris_from_canada

    One of the greatest aspects I cherish about being Canadian and living in Canada is our healthcare system and universial healthcare. Never in my life have I had to ask myself if I could afford to make the trip to the hospital when I really needed to go, never have I been refused by a hospital, and I can't ever remember having to wait for treatment (despite the noise I hear from some US commentaries). Helathcare workers are focused on their patients, not on making money, or rushing patients through the door, or tempering their care to a patient based on HMO limitations.

    America is so far behind the rest of the modern world on the issue of healthcare. How can America say it is the greatest country in the world when fellow citizens don't care enough about each other to ensure healthcare is available to all. And for all the Republicans, and especially the religious right, you have forgotten the the very core of being a Christian, the very tenents of Jesus teachings during his missionaries, and that was to take care of the poor, sick and downtrodden and that is exactly what Universal healthcare does.

    As an outside observer of politics in the US, it is a shame that Republicans have to win by lying, deceiving, distorting and misleading, and invoking fear with fellow citizens. It is shameful to convince other Americans not to support a healthcare plan that helps people. It's unfortunate these people only learn this lesson when you have to take out a second mortgage or claim bankruptcy to get your treatment for terminal illnesses that they see the light. It's not about "spreading the wealth", it's about "spreading the risk" so all Americans can be treated without going broke.

    August 4, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Dave, Central Illinois

    A 5-minute procedure in my doctor's office cost $650 ($450 after PPO discount). And the Dems blame it all on the insurance companies! Have any of you that believe that nonsense ever looked at your medical bills? Find out why the charges are so high before you squawk!

    August 4, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Boud

    That is exactly the point. It is not the responsibility of us that are well to subsidize those that are not. For whatever reason or circumstance your health care costs are beyond your means does not make it the resposibility of others (or government). The biggest reason for keeping government out of health care is for us that are well (we're the majority) to be able to avoid community rating, age pooling, and not paying for bundles of coverage we don't want/need.

    August 4, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Butch Dillon

    A major problem with rising health care costs is the insurance industry. For decades, they've thrived under government entitlements that permitted them to reap runaway profits paid for by escalating premiums in employer insurance programs and private citizen policies. The goal of this segment of the corporate welfare state is to earn obscene amounts of money – their mission is not health care for the citizenry it's profit for their stock holders. So yes, their profits will suffer when they're forced to compete with a fully implemented public option. The only question that remains is: Do you care? You might if you own stock in an insurance company, but I don't so I'm not worried about insurance company profits. I would rather have a chance at a higher salary from an unburdened employer or reduced costs for my supplemental policy, all with full health care coverage.

    August 4, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Joe

    Before I'll accept health "care" reform or health "insurance" reform or whatever it's being called now I expect 2 things: 1. Our government must fix our existing single payor plans medicare and medicaid. why add a 3rd option when they can't get the first 2 operating efficiently. 2. every member of congress and the administration must be on the plan instead of their generous private insurance that we pay for.

    That's not unreasonable is it? If Obama is so wonderful he can fix what's already broken and not add yet another govt program to our bloated federal system.

    August 4, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Eric

    “I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.” Obama's words.

    August 4, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Tom

    Why does this administration fight back against every detractor even when it's not in their best interest.... Drudge report, Joe the plumber, the Cambridge police, Rush Limbaugh, etc.? Can you imagine if Bush II had challenged all his critics? You couldn't cover it in a 24 hour news cycle. It's ridicules and un Presidential.

    Seems to me they should just tell us what they want to do in plain terms instead of whining how everyone is misinformed.

    You said what you said Mr. President. If it's taken out of context, then tell us how so? Why just attack your detractors with no reasoning behind it other than to say it's misinformation? We can't judge any other way because your administration keeps contradicting it's self or saying 'everything is on the table'. Give us some specifics for gaud sakes. We’ll make an informed decision based on facts. We’re smart enough to do that!

    August 4, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. Dave

    I read drudge everyday, it's a great site. I make sure to forward the articles on his site to coworkers, friends, family, and more...I can't say enough about how great that site is!!

    August 4, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. TJ

    Hey dimes1,

    Have I read the bill? No. I don't have time. For starters, I have a job.

    Can some one in the news do their job and break it down for us?

    Are the republicans going to come up with an alternative? ...or do they plan on knocking this until it goes away – like they did in '93?

    August 4, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. dan

    Its disingenuous that you imply they took down the link because of the White House response. Drudge links are replaced with time usually lasting 2-3 days.

    He put up a new uncut version of the video today in response to the White House claims. There is no way that this can be said to be taken out of context. Watch the video.

    August 4, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Tom Paine

    Obama is kidding with this, right? Ain't never gonna get the best of Matt Drudge. GO DRUDGE!

    August 4, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Bobbie V

    I agree with the need for Medical Insurance reform and believe that to find a fiscal balance is important as well. But sadly the longer we drag the discussion out the more the uninsured will suffer. Also the tax payer is already paying for the uninsured in bankruptcies, unpaid medical services which trickles down to one form or another.
    That said I am in favor for taxes to cover the reform because in the long run its cheaper than staying the course. It does not help when the Republican leadership try to swift-boat and lie to the elderly, and/or vulnerable so as to kili any medical issuance reform bill.
    Side note;
    I heard that issuance industry made 60 billion while bankruptcies went through the roof due to medical bills that people could not afford to pay.
    CNN Researchers – Could you guys research this fact to see if its true...? Actually even better – graph it our over a ten year period

    August 4, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Brent

    This is an example of people being confused by the health care debate. Obama is not talking about eliminating private insurance, but is talking about eliminating the employer-payer system.

    Shifting the system away from employers paying for employee's health insurance is something policy makers on both sides believe needs to happen. This wouldn't eliminate private health insurance though.

    August 4, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Larry

    Those who say "America has the best healthcare system in the world" just don't believe in facts. All the data say that's not true. And the administrative costs of Medicare are around 3%, compared to about 25% for private insurers. Ask yourself, if the private insurance companies pay their CEOs an average of 10 million dollars a year, and spend what they do on advertising, and still have large profits, that's all money that's coming out of the system, not being used to provide better service. Wake up! Maybe the rest of the industrialized world has found a better way!

    August 4, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Margaret

    Hey folks,

    These people at the town halls have read the bill, which is why they are upset.

    Have you read the bill? I think you will change your tune once you do!

    August 4, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. Angela

    Let's not forget one thing – the American people are not easily fooled! We like our country the way it is, we don't want to "change" it, we just want to improve on the great system we already have, the one that people from all over the world are clamoring to become part of!!

    August 4, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. barbara

    If anyone wants health insurance all they have to do is GET A JOB THAT PROVIDES IT. Dont hate on the 85% that DO have insurance and are happy with it or at least PREFER it over government controlled care.

    August 4, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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