On Tuesday's NBC Tonight Show, host Jay Leno provided harsher criticism of President Obama falsely claiming that Americans could keep their current health insurance plans under ObamaCare than any of the network's reporters. Leno told the audience: "Well, it's being reported that the President has known for three years that people would lose their coverage. The press is now saying the President lied." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Leno setup a mock defense of Obama: "But today the White House said that's not true. He did not lie. And they released this tape from three years ago to prove it. Here's what he said three years ago." A comically dubbed-over sound bite followed of Obama saying people "cannot" keep their doctors and health insurance.
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie appeared later on the show, but neither her nor Leno made any mention of the disastrous ObamaCare rollout.
NBC's only direct mention of the administration knowing that millions would be kicked off their existing health care plans came during a report on Monday's NBC Nightly News when White House correspondent Peter Alexander provided a mere twenty-one seconds to the network's own scoop.
Tuesday's Today ignored the story, but senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers – who broke the news – did appear on that evening's Nightly News to discuss the fallout from her reporting. However, she never actually repeated the headline, the charge that the White House knew the President's claims about ObamaCare were untrue.
Myers began the segment by explaining: "So far almost 2 million of the 14 million Americans who buy individual coverage have gotten letters that their policy is cancelled or has to change because of the law. Still, the white house insists the President did not mislead Americans when he promised everyone could keep their insurance."
She then highlighted one of those casualties of the new law: "That doesn't sit well with George Schwab who is retired, started a new business, and been told because of the new health care law his current policy is no longer available because it doesn't meet minimum standards. His new policy comes with a premium increase of more than 400%."
After failing to reiterate that the administration knew years ago that some people would feel such negative impacts – evidenced by her own reporting – Myers wrapped up the report with White House spin:
MYERS: The President's spokesperson emphasized that those losing their coverage are getting better plans and sometimes subsidies. He seemed to rephrase the President's promise.
JAY CARNEY [WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY]: If you had insurance that you liked on an individual market and you wanted to keep that insurance through 2010, 11, 12, 13, and in perpetuity if you wanted it and it was available, you could.
MYERS: A reminder that 80% of Americans are not impacted by this because they get their insurance through their employer, Medicaid or Medicare.
Here is a portion of Leno's monologue from the October 29 Tonight Show:
JAY LENO: Now, despite the fact that for years President Obama has been saying that no one would lose their health care plan, now the White House has admitted in fact, that many, many people will lose their plan.
But there is a way you can keep the great coverage you have. Just become a member of Congress, then the taxpayers pay for the whole thing. Fantastic. Fantastic.
LENO: Well, it's being reported that the President has known for three years that people would lose their coverage. The press is now saying the President lied. But today the White House said that's not true. He did not lie. And they released this tape from three years ago to prove it. Here's what he said three years ago.
BARACK OBAMA: If you like your doctor, you – [dubbed in] cannot – keep your doctor. If you like your private health insurance plan, you – cannot – keep your plan.
LENO: But there was some good news today from embattled Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius. ObamaCare will cover all her injuries after the White House throws her under the bus. So that's – so she is fully covered.
And this is not looking good. This is not looking good. Remember the old days when President Obama's worst embarrassment was Joe Biden? Remember those days? What happened there?