Jay Carney Mocks ABC's Jon Karl for Daring to Question Misleading Comments on ObamaCare

 A frustrated Jay Carney on Monday excoriated ABC's Jon Karl for exposing the fact that signing up for health care via phone or mail is just as difficult as signing up by the website. Karl began by quoting the President suggesting in late October that "you can bypass the website and apply by phone or in person." The journalist highlighted newly acquired memos admitting that "at the end of the day, we're all stuck in the same queue because all those applications have to go through the same website."

In a sneering tone that mocked Karl's cadence, Carney retorted, "Jon, I get it! But the person who calls isn't the one who continues to wait after the paper application is filled? Right?" Karl calmly responded, "Your mocking is entertaining, but the President said you could apply within 25 minutes. That was not true." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Seemingly looking for help from the other journalists, Carney derided, "I think everyone else is looking quizzical because there's a reason to be quizzical here. You call up. You give your information. You get the questions answered and then they take over from there."

At one point, the ABC News journalist caught the White House press secretary in a trap:

CARNEY: But Jon, we have never said that you wouldn't – that the process, that the end point of the process wouldn't still have to go through HealthCare.gov. So, this is not –

KARL: Actually, that's not true, Jay. Look at your own words on October 21, the same day. "You said, you can enroll over the phone. You can enroll in person." On October 23, you said, "There are four ways to enroll in the exchanges." You didn't say they all had to go through HealthCare.gov.

The question is, how much of Carney's outburst will make it to Karl's on network?

A partial transcript of the November 4 exchange is below:


JON KARL: Jay, as I'm sure you remember, the President went into the Rose Garden on October 21 and talked about troubles with the website and said you can bypass the website and apply by phone or in person." And even said that once you get someone on the phone, you can – it usually takes about 25 minutes for an individual to apply. Forty five minutes for a family. New memos released by the Government Reform Committee show that the CMS was talking about how the very same issues were affecting written applications, phone applications. In fact, one of the memos says "at the end of the day we're all stuck in the same queue because all those applications have to go through the same website," have to go through the same computer system. Did the President know that the very same problems would be facing consumers when they called on the phone when he said they could apply in 25 minutes?

JAY CARNEY: So, I know it's spoken in tones of dramatic revelations, but it was a known fact at the time. We never pretended otherwise.

...

CARNEY [Mocking Karl's inflection]: Jon, I get it! But the person who calls isn't the one who continues to wait after the paper application is filled? Right?

KARL: Your mocking is entertaining, but the President said you could apply within 25 minutes. That was not true.

CARNEY: That's right. The work that you do -- I think everyone else is looking quizzical because there's a reason to be quizzical here. You call up. You give your information. You get the questions answered and then they take over from there.

...

CARNEY: But Jon, we have never said that you wouldn't – that the process, that the end point of the process wouldn't still have to go through HealthCare.gov. So, this is not –

KARL: Actually, that's not true, Jay. Look at your own words on October 21, the same day. "You said, you can enroll over the phone. You can enroll in person." On October 23, you said, "There are four ways to enroll in the exchanges." You didn't say they all had to go through HealthCare.gov.

CARNEY: Jon –

KARL: You said there are four ways to enroll in the exchanges.

CARNEY: Jon, you don't have to go to HealthCare.gov.

KARL: By phone, in person, healthcare.gov at local health centers or by mail or by the website. You said there were four different ways. There's only one way. It all has to go, as you just said, through HealthCare.gov.

CARNEY: I'm saying and what everybody said. And, again, you know, you can have this soliloquy by yourself.

KARL: I've got the report here.

CARNEY: But the –

KARL: No, I'm trying to understand I am trying to understand why the President gave the American public the impression and told them they can apply – Not impression, told people they can apply in 25 minutes.

CARNEY: They can get on the phone and apply and the paperwork is filled out for them and the process is taken over from there.

KARL: And how do they enroll?

CARNEY: When their paperwork is processed through HealthCare.gov. But they don't have to go online to do it is the point.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org