Charles Krauthammer Offends Mark Shields by Saying 'ObamaCare'

Syndicated columnist and PBS contributor Mark Shields got offended Friday when Charles Krauthammer called the President's signature piece of legislation "ObamaCare."

This interestingly came less than ten minutes after Shields apologized to his fellow "Inside Washington" panelists for saying "Christmas season" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The biggest element in debt is healthcare expenditures, Medicare and Medicaid, that’s where the money is, even more than Social Security. And the problem with ObamaCare is it freezes in place these huge expenditures. It does not cut costs. There’s going to be an additional half a trillion in taxes devoted to the ObamaCare plan. And, it, it, it siphoned off whatever cuts you’re going to have in Medicare, half a trillion, for the new entitlements. So there is nothing available to reduce the debt. That’s the real problem of ObamaCare.

GORDON PETERSON, HOST: Ten seconds.

MARK SHIELDS: Well, the Healthcare Reform Act, I guess it's what Charles wants to somehow denigrate and personalize as “ObamaCare,” that, that’s become sort of a partisan attack slogan. Let’s, let’s call it what it is.

PETERSON: Alright.

So, in the course of roughly eight minutes, Shields apologized for saying "Christmas season" while taking issue with the term "ObamaCare." This despite "ObamaCare" producing over 4.5 million results in a Google search. 

More importantly, Shields was never offended when this common term was uttered on "Inside Washington" before. According to LexisNexis, this was at least the sixth installment of IW that Krauthammer used this expression in Shields's presence. 

For example, count the number of times Krauthammer said this suddenly offensive term during the October 10 installment:

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, he has another problem which is at the time he supported ObamaCare and now he says he doesn't. Supporting ObamaCare is not something Democrats want to do. I'm not sure there's a single Democrat in the country, perhaps except for Russ Feingold, who advertises his support of ObamaCare.

NINA TOTENBERG: Actually there are plenty.

KRAUTHAMMER: And there are a lot of Democrats who are running ads saying that they opposed it as a way to save their seats. Look, what I think really is overriding here is obviously the economy and certain major issues. One of the complaints against ObamaCare is not only what's in ObamaCare, but the fact that the Democrats spent a year and a half on this which is not high on the agenda of a lot of voters instead of addressing economic issues. And that's a complaint that they've been ideologically driven rather than looking after bread and butter.

That's five times in about a minute without any objection from Shields. Even better, at the end of this installment, the perilously liberal Colby King of the Washington Post also said that which suddenly offends Shields:

COLBY KING: They're not all running away from ObamaCare. And the Kentucky race in which Rand Paul is probably ahead, his Democratic opponent, Conway, the attorney general, said that he supported ObamaCare. People who are uninsured are now going to be covered in Kentucky and he stood up for that.

PETERSON: Okay. Colby, you get the last word. Thanks. See you next week.

So King a little over two months ago closed the show saying ObamaCare twice without any squawk from Shields.

But on Christmas Eve, after apologizing for saying "Christmas season," Shields was suddenly sensitive to the word most Americans - apparently including the Post's Colby King! - use when referring to this year's healthcare reform.

Makes you wonder what got into Shields's eggnog.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.