December 12th, 2013
07:30 PM ET
10 months ago

And the top lie of 2013 goes to...

(CNN) – It's the worst of the worst – the most fictional of statements, the flippiest of flops and most misleading of claims by U.S. political figures this year.

Fact checkers, Politifact, asked readers to rank the top lies from politicians in 2013. Here are the top four - all of which relate to President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act:

1 - Obama: "If you like your plan; You can keep your plan"

Obama's repeated promise that if you like your health care plan, you can still keep it under the Affordable Care Act leads Politifact's list with 59% of voters picking it as top lie of the year.

But it was the President’s revised pitch to the nation amid a storm of controversy over cancelled policies that earned Politifact's "pants on fire" emblem.

"What we said was - you could keep it, if it hasn't changed since the law passed," Obama said in November.

Politifact editor Angie Drobnic Holan told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview that its team of fact check editors chose Obama's Obamacare statements because they had the most impact on the national debate.

"It's something we first flagged back in 2009. We said this is partly right - the health care law does leave in place the existing health care system but it's partly wrong because we knew back then not everybody would be able to keep their health care plan and this was the year that it was proved false as these cancellation letters when out again."

Drobnic said Politifact found 37 instances in which the President repeated that promise, without caveats.

"The original statement is partly accurate. The lie of the year is not the most strong statement - it's the most significant impact and then the excuse got the ‘pants on fire’ overall," she said.

2 - Ted Cruz: Congress gets exception to Obamacare

Runner-up is Texas conservative and tea party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz.

In a speech in August, Cruz said President Barack Obama "granted all of Congress an exception" to Obamacare.

Politifact rated this claim "false."

"Congress has to have insurance just like all other Americans the law actually forced them out of the federal employees plan and on to the online market places so they could experience what it's like to shop with everyone else - so, not exempt."

Cruz's press office e-mailed CNN saying the Senator's statement is "100% correct."

"The Obama administration granted Congress the ability to keep federal health subsidies to purchase Obamacare exchange plans. That's an exemption from the law that private sector firms don't get."

3 - Michele Bachmann: IRS health care database

Former Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said in May appearing on Fox News that the IRS will be "in charge" of "a huge national database" on health care.

"The IRS is not keeping people's health care records," Drobnic said.

"The only role they play is if someone gets a subsidy to help them buy insurance, the IRS will verify their income and the IRS already has that information and they know how much money you're making."

Bachmann made similar claims about the IRS and its ties to the health care law in 2011 after Obama's State of the Union address.

The tea party darling asserted that "Instead of a leaner, smarter government, we bought a bureaucracy that tells us which light bulbs to buy, and which may put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama's health care bill."

At the time, CNN rated her claim misleading at best as the health care bill specifically says that taxpayers who do not buy insurance won't be prosecuted because of their failure to buy insurance through the law.

4 - Ann Coulter: Docs won't accept Obamacare

Politifact rated conservative commentator Ann Coulter's claim that "No U.S.-trained doctor will accept Obamacare" a whooping "pants on fire."

Coulter made the comments in a column titled "Democrats to America: We Own the Government!" posted to her website in October.

"Experts told us this was ridiculous and nothing we could find in the law connected where doctors were trained with what kind of insurance you had," Drobnic said.

Experts, Politifact says, called the notion that there is a provision in the Affordable Care Act that bars doctors from accepting patients who bought insurance under the federal marketplace "ridiculous" and "outrageous."

CNN reached out to the people mentioned above for comment. Cruz's office was the only one to reply by the time the Lead aired at 4 p.m. ET.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.


Filed under: Ann Coulter • Michele Bachmann • President Obama • Ted Cruz
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Evelyn Connaway

    .....Actually this cancellation business was a lot of nonsense, to a degree. A policy can only be cancelled for NON-PAYMENT OF PREMIUM (some might have been cancelled for that reason, as the private market started to increase the premiums) but they can send NON-RENEWAL NOTICES,,,,,,,,
    --------------------------
    Actually, most of the "cancellation notices" that people are getting are not even that. What most people are calling "cancellation notices" are actually letters that are *offer them a choice* of policies, including their old one, usually at the higherst cost of all of the choices.

    December 13, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  2. A Citizen

    It all depends what "is" is.

    December 13, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. Tony

    Obama's statement is accurate for most Americans. Most Americans get to keep their health insurance plans. Obama said nothing about the premiums. He did not promise that if you like your premiums on your plan, you can keep the same premiums. Insurance companies can still raise premiums, because unless you qualify for Medicaid, you still get health insurance from private companies under Obamacare.

    Can Republicans say their lies are mostly accurate on this list? Congress is not exempt from Obamacare, as Michele Bachmann, John Boehner, and Lindsey Graham have found out that they need to sign up for Obamacare. As for the database, the IRS already has you income data from your taxes and does not need a separate database. Besides, Republicans insist that the IRS verifies people's income to ensure that they are eligible for subsidies from Obamacare. Finally, the statement that doctors won't accept Obamacare is not true either. Some doctors won't accept Medicaid, but many people still get private insurance under Obamacare, and doctors have no reasons to reject private insurance plans.

    December 13, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. Lie of the Year from the Liar of the Century

    Finally Obama wins an award he is truly deserving of!! His five YEARS of lies are finally catching up to him. The LSM simply can't cover for him any longer as now he has lied to and personally injured millions of Americans.

    December 13, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. ireuel

    The biggest lie is the one that will some day surface that yes he was born in Hawaii but who the real father is. As all things with the leader and liar is he controls the conversation with wordsmiths answering the same answer to different questions and the birth certificate was a carefully always covered with "Birther" reply. He was born in Hawaii no doubt about it. The layered PDF file released was altered to fit the book of lies he had Ayers help him write. The mans whole life is a lie. Some day this will be known and the worshipers will still not believe it and do what their liar and chief is a master of. Name-calling and discrediting the decenter s. Call me what you wish, but something isn't right about this mans history. Good day to you

    December 13, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  6. ay

    The lie that Obama told about healthcare was gargantuan when compared to others told by himself and others. It got him re-elected to the office of President of the United States and got Obamacare passed into law in the first place. It is the biggest and by far the most egregious lie in the history of this country. Its effects will be felt for generations. It should be enough to get the Democrats voted out of power for quite some time.

    December 13, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. Bigdoglv

    Keep telling yourselves Obama didn't lie. The truth is that if the people really knew what was in the law they would not have allowed their reps to pass it.

    December 13, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. srb558

    Obama lied how many people will die? That should be the Obama slogan. After all when Bush was President People were chanting “Bush lied people died” A total of 4,486 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2012 (source Wikipedia). How many people will die because of their insurance being canceled or waiting for the government approve a treatment. Obama lied how many people will die? This should be the mantra for Obama’s presidency. Let the horror stories began.

    December 13, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  9. Zeke

    The best thing is as AL Jolson used to say "You ain't seen Nothing yet". This ACA is based on misleading the public by saying catch phrases and not the truth. It is a good thing we all have video tape of broadcasts to play over and over during 2014 before the midterm elections. This administration cannot tell the truth or share factual information at any time. Everything is calculated to mislead the American people.

    December 13, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Bigdoglv

    Keep telling yourselves Obama didn't lie. The truth is that if the people really knew what was in the law they would not have allowed their reps to pass it.
    -----------------------
    Being wrong about something doesn't make you a liar. Did Karl Rove lie on Fox News on Election Night? As far as people not knowing what was in the bill goes, that's one of the biggest lies of them all. The bill was debated in the Senate for weeks before being passing a cloture vote in December 2009 with 60 votes.

    The content of the bill was further debated in the Senate for two months before being passed in March 2010. For Republicans to collectively claim that they did not know the bill prior to its' final vote is not only patently false, but an intentional lie.

    December 13, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  11. Charles

    What a load of BS. Everyone SHOULD have been able to keep their plan; it was the damn insurance companies who refused to add services and coverages required under the ACA to existing plans without raising the price / canceling those existing plans that casued people to "lose" their coverage. It's the Tea Party that's managed to convince too many Americans that the President did this.

    December 13, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. labman

    Best lies of the last year, give be a break! What about (you can keep your doctor), (Your save an average of $2500 on your premiums), (the 5 plus MILLION that lost their insurance), (someone will be held accountable-IRS-NSA-Chris Stevens plus 3), I guess we the people take a back seat to your political agenda.

    December 13, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    BREAKING NEWS: Biggest Whopper Of All Time Unearthed In America
    -----------------------
    Tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs.

    December 13, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. jrt1098

    Even in laying the premise CNN exposes themselves ... again !
    While admitting the Obama LIE ... they failed to mention he KNEW he was LYING ... but then they casually go on to mention 3 Conservative LIES ... which are questionable at best
    The biggest LIE that has been hoisted on the American people is that CNN, MSNBC, or the N.Y. Times are not the equivalent of STATE RUN MEDIA !!!
    LIBERALS are so convinced of the superiority in their own way of thinking ... that they just can't imagine ANYONE (with a proper EDUCATION) ... would think differently ! Thus you get the GOV'T telling what size soda to drink, where the good French Fries are served ... and what you should and should NOT do about your Health Care !

    December 13, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. TYRANNASAUR

    1 – Obama: "If you like your plan; You can keep your plan"........

    THIS IS NOT A LIE.....

    We said this is partly right – the health care law does leave in place the existing health care system but it's partly wrong because we knew back then not everybody would be able to keep their health care plan.....

    WHY?

    Because the insurance companies will RAISE your rates to astronomical $$$$$$$$$ to keep it......this is America people you can have anything you're willing to pay for.

    December 13, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. Alex

    srb558
    Obama lied how many people will die? This should be the mantra for Obama’s presidency. Let the horror stories began.
    -------------------–
    Obama just gave healthcare acess to 30 million + Americans, whereas a lack of healthcare was killling 45,000+ Americans a year. So Obamacare just saved millions of lives. Bush's lie not only killed thousands of American troops, it also killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Deal with it.

    December 13, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. ireuel

    Rudy it was not the Republicans that didn't know what was in it, it was the blinded Democrats that didn't know what was in it. Please don't change the story to best help your version of events. Changing history does not make it true. Most of what they said was wrong with Obamacare was wrong with Obamacare. Oh I am not a Republican so save your tea party comments for others. He lied. Period.

    December 13, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    ireuel

    Rudy it was not the Republicans that didn't know what was in it, it was the blinded Democrats that didn't know what was in it. Please don't change the story to best help your version of events. Changing history does not make it true. Most of what they said was wrong with Obamacare was wrong with Obamacare. Oh I am not a Republican so save your tea party comments for others. He lied. Period.
    -----------------–
    You have lied. Period. Republicans complained about not knowing what was in the bill for years by pointing to Nancy Pelosi's sarcastic remark about having to vote for it in order find out what was in it. My account of the facts is accurate, ... ... and so is you ever chainging historical re-write, one which I cannot dispute.

    December 13, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Evelyn Connaway

    .....Actually this cancellation business was a lot of nonsense, to a degree. A policy can only be cancelled for NON-PAYMENT OF PREMIUM (some might have been cancelled for that reason, as the private market started to increase the premiums) but they can send NON-RENEWAL NOTICES,,,,,,,,
    --------–
    Actually, most of the "cancellation notices" that people are getting are not even that. What most people are calling "cancellation notices" are actually letters that are *offer them a choice* of policies, including their old one, usually at the higherst cost of all of the choices.
    --------
    That is simply not true. The cancellation notices were sent because the policies did not neet the "minimum standards" set forth in the law. If there was no minimum standards provisions in the law, the policies would still be in effect.

    December 13, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. Get used to IT tea potty! 3 more yrs to spew ur hate @Obama

    Greatest LIE of ALL times that cost us over 4000 US lives and put our economy into a tailspin of the worst recession ever experienced in US history: " We will be greeted as liberators" & "Mission Accomplished" – GW BUSH

    marinate on that gop tea pottty!!! LOL

    December 13, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  21. "You can keep your plan, PERIOD." -- Lie of the Year from the Liar of the Century

    It is clear the Demorcats and their far left supporters are now in yet another massive lie campaign to cover up and obfuscate their other lies. Trying to shift the blame to others. Doublinf down on theirs lies to confuse and con the American people yet again. It may work for some low IQ voters but the vasy majority of the American people know that Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the Democrat Party perpetrated the largest FRAUD on the American people in the history of this country.

    They KNOW they were lying as they debating internally whether they should be saying these lies. They decided to lie because to say anything less would have mean't Obamacare would not have passed.

    Those are the facts and this needs to be hammered over and over again to all Americans.

    December 13, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. current state of the union

    Now, one of these were unpredictable, guess which, the rest, well, we already knew that they have to lie to garner support. Lies and hatred do not make a winning platform, and you can't run a country on that.

    December 13, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. that guy

    Useful idiots...........still talking about Bush..........sad but you are needed by the people running our country.

    December 13, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. John

    President lied and what is even worse the media knew it was a lie and never called him out on it leading up to people being cancelled. Family will save 2500.00 a year? BS many are paying a lot more yet media does not call him out until now. It is one thing for the President to lie it is another thing when the media fails to do their job and report it, instead they cover for him.

    December 13, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Fair wrote:

    "Actually, most of the "cancellation notices" that people are getting are not even that. What most people are calling "cancellation notices" are actually letters that are *offer them a choice* of policies, including their old one, usually at the higherst cost of all of the choices."

    That is simply not true. The cancellation notices were sent because the policies did not neet the "minimum standards" set forth in the law. If there was no minimum standards provisions in the law, the policies would still be in effect.
    -------------------------
    Sorry, Fair. It is the truth. To hear the right wing tell it, companies sent out cancellation letters to most all of their customers, cutting them off, and completely dismissing the possibility of doing any future business with that customer. NOT. No company that would like to stay in business would ever send out such correspondence. Like I said, the "cancellation notices" that ideologues have been whining about actually gave people choices to continue doing business with the company.

    December 13, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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