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. JJ in Chula Vista, CA

    Republicans are disinformation robots: On blogs, in the news, word of mouth.

    The government is NOT going to "take over health care."

    If any one given private health insurance company cannot compete and provide quality, inexpensive health care in COMPETITION with a government progrem, then another private health insurance company will. This is called COMPETITION, people.

    If you are happy with your health care coverage as it is, KEEP it, use it, and continue to be happy. No one's telling you you're going to lose it and no one's telling you're going to be forced to switch. I, as a Democrat, WORK FOR MY HEALTH CARE. I'm not freeloading and don't plan on it.

    And, this is what takes the cake: You Republicans are happy to spend billions of dollars on wars, tax cuts for the rich, and then turn a blind eye to American citizens. This is your shtick. I, as a tax payer, WANT taxes to be spent here in our country to help OUR people. This is by far the weakest argument that Republicans make on the health care issue.

    August 4, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Dan

    You democrats blasting republicans for trying to 'block' this health care bill need to ask yourself one thing; if the reform is going to be so good why aren't those putting it together (Congress) going to be required to use it?? That should scare the heck out of you!

    August 4, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Tom L

    I can only say that Matt Drudge is not partisan. His column is quite reliable and typically quite accurate. To those who live in a fantasy world that thinks that private business can compete with the weight of the U.S. government, you are either sorely mistaken or quite naive. This is an attempt at a HUGE power grab, nothing more, nothing less.

    August 4, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Chispter

    "according to multiple outlets"

    LOL! Oh, that's a really good one – maybe the best and most revealing of the day. You don't get more reliable than "multiple outlets."

    Good grief!

    August 4, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. George

    Yeah we do need government involved in health care. People expect people to be honest, but just like wall street de-regulation, the greedy are never honest. When people are thieves, its time for government oversight. Quit being thieves and maybe the government will back off.
    The thieves are paying people to disrupt town hall meetings. The thieves and the republicans. Wow what a fine team they are!!!

    August 4, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. bglg2005

    somew of you here are really uninformed. If someone told you the sky was pink you would believe it without doing your own research. Here's and interesting little tid bit of the over 400 poloticians that we have in the U.S. only about 15% are worht their salt and actually work yet you don't mind paying for thier health. I have health insurance, infact I am covered under three different plans because some doctors don't accept cetain insurances so they charge me out of network fees that can be up to thousands of dollars pending on the reason for the visit. But hey most of you will stay on your blind eyed path and continue to make yourself look uninformed.

    August 4, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. xargaw

    Internet pushback by the Whitehouse means nothing. They need to get into the MSM media news cycle everyday with their message. This is absolutely nuts that there is even any credence given to opposition to reform. Even an idiot ought to understand that the current system is unsustainable (no matter how wealthy a person might be) and that without a public plan establishing real competition the crisis will only get worse. Our bought and paid for Congressional opposition have sold out the American people.

    August 4, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Josh

    I don't understand why this is such a big deal. It is obvious that Obama said he would like to see a single payer system, that can't be denied. But why deny it. I would like to see a single payer system too, however, like Obama, I know that what I believe is not always the only way or the proper way to do something. Obama has been bending over backwards to find a solution that guarantees coverage for all citizens without killing off private insurance companies but the republicans can't even see through their own paranoia. Our government officials are supposed to act based on the wishes of the people. A good politician does not stop listening to their constituents once the campaign ends. It is possible for a politician to change their views about any given issue because they are genuinely reacting to the sentiment of the American people. The only thing the Obama administration is doing wrong on this is denying what Obama said in the past rather than explaining the justification for a change of opinion.

    August 4, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. LacrosseMom

    With the GOP's continuing campaign of hate, lies, fear & division!

    Someone has to tell the TRUTH!

    PLEASE AMERICA do your own research, THINK for yourselves, don't just believe every LIE spewed by the GOP!

    August 4, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. Woolf

    Years ago Congress voted to give themselves lifetime healthcare!!!

    We The People should demand that we have that same healthcare coverage that our congressional representatives have!

    Does Congress think We The People are Second Class Citizens?

    August 4, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Working Class American

    I cannot understand the group of people who are so willing to call our POTUS a liar (not to mention the other disrespectful names they call him) and yet are willing to believe the INSURANCE COMPANIES! C'mon people! Get a CLUE! How can you believe that a multi-billion dollar corporation has your best interest at heart??!!! I'm not saying that we shouldn't question our elected officials . . . of course we must! But seriously . . . .INSURANCE COMPANIES . . . think about it! I heard on the news last night that the insurance industry is right now spending approximately 1 million dollars a day (!!!!) to fight health care reform! What does that tell you???? I KNOW what it tells me!!!

    August 4, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. JG

    Drudge is nothing more than Russian propaganda from the 50s and 60s. They were, and still are very good at it, and Drudge, along with the rest of the lunatic fringe, are just puppets of the lobby groups.

    People fail to realize that they've been living in a fascist regime for decades. They also fail to realize they've been living with socialism. Social security, Medicare, Medicaid.....ring a bell?

    I doubt 90% of you can even name the three branches of government, let alone become POTUS and do any better than our esteemed POTUS, President Obama.

    Read the bill, and stop making excuses for not reading it, like, "I work". What a BS excuse.

    Blowing hot air on blogs does not constitute being politically involved, anymore than staying in bed shouting "Oh God" constitutes you going to church.

    August 4, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. BJ

    Again...I am supposed to keep paying for my own healthcare, and then have my taxes raised to pay for someone else's healthcare?

    I think not...

    August 4, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Brian

    I would expect nothing less from this pathetic White House. We listen to the words of Obama, yet the White House tries to say we are listening to snippits. We listen to Obama say he wants a single payer system, a system that none in congress will ever use and yet they tell us how good it will be – pathetic. This video says the video and words of Obama are somehow misleading – yet it does not even comment on the video – strange. Obama gives another speech on healthcare, his desire for a single payer system and yet somehow we are to believe he did not mean what he said?? I feel lucky the drudgereport is out there showing us the real truth. Tell us, what words are being twisted of Obama?? The ABC reporter/White House rep implies it is not true, and yet she fails to even try and give an alternative "meaning" of the words he used – more pathetic political spin from this White House.

    August 4, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. CNN=Moveon.org

    "Drudge has not yet reacted to the White House video."

    Drudge doesn't have to respond to it. He is just like other media who report news and they are not asked to respond. However, the White House feels the need to respond to Drudge, which is funny. Obama, the "insecure" President.

    "I just wanna be loved, is that so wrong?" – Obama

    August 4, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. JG

    How do you know the Dems are the only ones blasting Republicans, Dan? Some of us are registered independents, but you, being so politically savvy, wouldn't understand that there are other parties in this country, would you?

    August 4, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. I luv Sarah Palin

    Why Republicans Say No to Everything?

    – “NO” to healthcare because they are in bed with big insurance company. These are major campaign contributors
    – “NO” to green energy because they are in bed with a big oils company. These are major campaign contributors
    – “NO” to tax cut for higher bracket earning ($250K and up). These are major campaign contributors
    – “NO” to rebuilding America because they lose out on major campaign contributors
    – YES to Wars, – many Contractors and Big Corporate are major campaign contributors
    – YES to lobbyists – They are major campaign contributors

    If you think Republicans care about you, Think Again!

    August 4, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. Heidi Macumber

    Just what is it the administration is saying: Obama lied on those video clips? Is that not Obama saying just what the article says it does? Is he lying now or then?

    August 4, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. Brian- Palm Bay, FL

    Democrats control both houses with super majorities and the Presidency. If this "reform" was so great why can't they get their own party to pass it?

    August 4, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Andi

    If the 'antis' would stop being blinded by their hate for Obama (which they are using to cover up their guilt at not wanting a black president) we may actually be able to do something good for this country. Telling people getting insurance is as easy as 'getting a job that provides it' is just plain ignorant. Get over yourselves and wake up. It's not about what 'side' of the political fence you are on. It takes a lot of gall to ignore the plight of others because you have insurance and/or a great job

    August 4, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. Rush Goebbels

    We will get it passed,yes we will.Its so funny to hear Rush call others propagandists.The birthers are like the tombstone on the GOPs grave,I will leave a rose on the grave.hahaha

    August 4, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Seth

    Well, now drudge has the ENTIRE video on his site, how is that a distortion, or disservice to anyone? I can hear the crickets now!

    August 4, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. lied to

    Obama said it himself! He wants to get rid of private insurance. Get a clue CNN and post the video here so readers can hear Obama's own words!

    CNN goes to far to protect Obama from his own words!

    August 4, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. Bev - NYC

    Unfortuately those of us who are insured are paying for the uninsured with the high cost of medical care whether we realize it or not. I was charged $20 for a single tylenol pill to reduce a fever after major surgery. I could have brought my own for a $1.

    Now to the article at hand I think it's time for the justice department to start cracking down on these lying nuckledraggers out there, all you need is one person to make an example of and the others will learn their lesson. The first should be that Russian nut with the Kenyan birth certificate. Free speech should not cover outright lies

    August 4, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. Robin in Tampa, FL

    I pay $50 a month in health insurance because I work for the State of Florida, and it's extremely good insurance too. If I didn't work for the State I would have to pay nearly $700 or more for the insurance I have now.

    August 4, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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