January 29th, 2010
03:51 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Fact Check: Obama on health care debate

Addressing President Barack Obama at the GOP retreat Friday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, asserted that the president reneged on a campaign promise to broadcast all health care debates on C-SPAN.  The president, while admitting that some elements of the debate were left out, asserted that the majority of the legislative process surrounding health care had been made available for broadcast.

Fact Check: So which version of events is accurate?

According to a letter from C-SPAN:  "Since the initial introduction of the America's Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 in the House and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Senate, C-SPAN has televised literally hundreds of hours of committee hearings, markups and floor debate on these bills for the public to see. And importantly, we have archived all of this video for future generations to study in the C-SPAN Video Archives."

CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett says the health care conference meetings thus far have been informal and unofficial, but if a formal and official "conference committee" is convened, then rules would require its activities be open to media coverage.  But, Barrett notes, the hard work for many bills is done in closed informal meetings.  Only once everything is worked out is an official open meeting called to cast votes.

Bottom line: While many hearings and debates have been broadcast, key informal conference committee discussions - where any deal between the House and Senate will ultimately be brokered - are not open to the public or media,  giving credence to Chaffetz's assertion.

- CNN Political Producer Robert Yoon contributed to this report.

Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I do not believe that Chaffetz was in the loop on the republicans agenda under Bush, as most voted for whatever crap they were given, without reading it, let alone seeing it on C-Span.

    January 29, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    In other words, it's politics as usual, with backroom deals still being made. So much for Obama's and Pelosi's "open government".

    January 29, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Free ride is way over. Did Obama think no one would check on him when he made outrageous promises?

    January 29, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Obama..not my doing...!!

    Re; Pres Obama's meet with GOP members; while they were proposing some GOP ideas how we might reverse the economic down-turn Obama was not really listenening but giving his speechlike lecture "Look you guys remember who is responible for the mess after
    all it all happened before I took Office" The what about the Democratic Congress of which Obama was part of. ? Time to stop the blame game; perhaps all the Washington Politicans are to blame for being asleep while Wall Street together with the Banks scammed the Nation

    Obama you should have started your Presuidency from day one with this slogan: "The spending cuts start here...in the White House"
    And downsizing everything from Air-Force-One to the pantry as is the white House if over-staffed. Before or after whatever the dire economic mess is on your plate Mr President so stop talking and start cleaning the plate one bite at a time. Also get real economic advice and not outdated text book advice from you economist who have no clue who jobs are created.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Stop the Nonsense

    Read the wording of the conclusion-"giving credence". Not claiming the President lied, just that there was something to what the Congressman said.
    This a very vague response. It also says that most of the hearings were televised. There probably would have been more inclusion in these untelevised discussions had Senator Hatch and his colleagues had not walked out on the procedings, leaving only Democrats in the room. There choice- not forced out.

    January 29, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Paul

    So, C-SPAN said Obama's comment was accurate (Obama accepted that some meetings were unaired and should have been).

    January 29, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Mark

    Did he not accept responsibility for that today? Did he not admit his faults and mistakes? I believe he did. Not quite sure the last president ever admitted he was wrong. Good leadership is admitting your mistakes, learning from them, and moving forward. I applaud the president's efforts.

    January 29, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. RCLGuard

    Oh please, you people criticize him for having backroom deals. Every politician has backroom deals. Only Obama showed you what went on in the backroom after it was done.

    January 29, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Jimmy James

    I didn't catch the unions numerous meetings at the White House on C Span. I didn't see the meetings with the house and senate with the unions. I didn't see Nelson negotiate the corn husker deal. I didn't see Landry negotiate 300 million for her state. The president must think we are stupid or he is just pandering to his supporters who actually believe he kept his promise. Move forward. Learn from the mistakes. We want actions, not more speeches. You had a super majority and couldn't get it passed. You still have a 19 vote majority in the senate and a huge majority in the house. Stop the excuses. FIX IT!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. Rob R

    I wonder what the viewership was to all those events which WERE broadcast...I think all this whining about not being kept in the loop is ludicrous, since many more than most people are too busy watching American Idol to care....

    January 29, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. Objective Thinking

    "If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge" – Chaffetz is a first term Congressman in the House of Representatives.

    January 29, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. jack Ewin

    Please make it easy to understand as it is said originally. The promise to make Washington transparent is not seeing much in the way of fruition since Obama took office and when compared to Bush's term it looks worse for the public who watch and follow things. Does that sum it up? I think it does let all articles come with the addresses of things mentioned. Where do I go to get tot he archives and why not post that link with the article? Thank you and God Bless.

    January 29, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Drew

    We should thank Obama for introducing real transparency

    January 29, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. jack Ewin

    Lets just check the facts when Bush's name comes up please let me know where to get the information. I think some people are true believers in socialism and can not be enlightened. How ever as bad as ity is capitolism made us great and if the rest of the world comes in out of the rain we will all succeed together. Let the Constitution work for the world as well. Give up centralised power and see it for a place that begs to be corrupted. Each state nd small country should run things in its own borders.

    January 29, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. Anthony In Miami

    Did anyone actually read what was said! It said Informal meetings were covered by C-Span and like many- -MANY- – processes, particulars are handled in private meetings. How about this, go to the mayor of your town and ask him to make sure all city business conducted has to be sat in on by at least 20% of your city or the meeting can't be held! See where that gets you!

    January 29, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Mobius

    Politics as usual is kind of the normal way of working in Washington by definition. Anyone who thinks different is only fooling themselves. The use of closed meetings for joint House/Senate meetings to hammer out differences between two different versions of the same bill has been around almost since the beginning of the republic. No surprise here!

    January 29, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. C Spurgeon

    CNN should be as objective as Cspan.

    January 29, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Lets make a few things clear...

    1) The decision to allow cameras into any congressional debate is not something a president can dictate...so let's go back to the Republicans in Congress who vote no on everything just in principle.

    2) More importantly, however, the Republicans should be thankful that there weren't any cameras. Their tight fisted, angry, lock step approach to healthcare reform is certainly not something the American public would describe as statesmentlike.

    January 29, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  19. jane

    The President showed great courage, wisdom and intellect this morning at the GOP retreat. It is a start, and he should be commended for this historic event.
    I think we all need to acknowledge that change will come slower than we thought, given the dire situation he was handed when he came into office, but I believe he is trying very hard and will eventually do great things for the country.
    We can only hope that Republicans will show some courage, wisdom and intellect as well.

    January 29, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. Lori in St Pete

    Right on Anthony in Miami! But as usual, the guilty won't recongize themselves in your statement and will continue to spout nonsense.

    January 29, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. Hammerer

    Obama's promise was change. Not to be like Bush. Now his supporters defend Obama with " it was ok for Bush so it is ok for Obama".
    Obama complained about congress "slash and burn" each other, but his whole campaign was "hate Bush" now he is on the receiving end and does not like it.

    January 29, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. Enough

    We don't need a fact check to know that Obama LIED about the meetings being broadcast on Cspan.................just go back to his many campaign speeches declaring the entire thing would be on Cspan.

    January 29, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Orange Curtain, CA

    Yes but how can Obama FORCE Congress to televise their meetings? Just be grateful we finally have a President willing to restrict lobbyists and make White House visitor logs available. Unlike the fascist Bush/Cheney regime, whom still refuses to acknowledge the Freedom of Information act.

    Moreover I don't think Congress has ever televised sensitive meetings during negotiations.

    January 29, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  24. aliou jacksonville, FL

    President Obama should stop bending over back for the republican party. My mind is made up about them.
    And so is that of many people.
    America would remember one thing this season: When faced with saving the nation from the recession they created, or save the party, the GOP chose the party over the nation.
    Obama seam out of touch. He probably won the First Lady's hand by insisting and persisting, but republicans can't be won. They arelike the type of dishonest lady who doesn't love you but likes your attention and persistence. She would take all the gifts you give her, but would not accept your love. She keeps making demands and reproches, but you will never win with her, but because she doesn't love you.

    January 29, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. Green Party in Utah

    When was the last time any President had the rocks to go to the opposing party's retreat and have a debate? I heard Bush was going to do it but they took the teleprompter away. Obama admits his mistakes and is the only President in quite a while who is pushing to help the middle class. All of you "trickle down economics" lovers need to get a grip and realize across the board tax breaks FAIL everytime they are imposed. Bush had 8 years to destroy our country, why not give Obama 4 full years before imposing judgement?

    January 29, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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