Touting chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd's exclusive interview with President Obama on Thursday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "We are all about to hear the President of the United States apologize, and not just for the troubled rollout of this new health care website, but for the fact that his promise to the American people that 'If they like their current health insurance, they can keep it,' has not held true for all." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, Todd sympathetically observed: "...the President's apparent broken promise about folks keeping the plans they like has been weighing heavily on the entire White House. So it was a chastened commander-in-chief that I spoke with earlier today."
While NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd did question President Obama on the failed ObamaCare rollout during an exclusive interview on Thursday, the network political director tried to downplay the notion that the commander-in-chief actively lied in promoting the health care law: "'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.' You said it a lot during the run-up. At this point, though, it's obviously something – a promise that has not been able to be kept....What happened?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In his next question, Todd came close to accusing Obama of deception, but quickly equivocated: "Do you feel like you owe these folks an apology for misleading them? Even if you didn't intentionally do it, but at this point, they feel misled. And you've seen the anger that's out there."
The October government shutdown was based on Republican opposition to ObamaCare. But ABC, CBS and NBC barely covered that issue during the 15-day shutdown – devoting on average slightly more than 1 minute on all three networks combined each day. However, after the shutdown ended leaving ObamaCare funding uncontested, the evening news shows spent 4 times as much time on the flaws of the failing health insurance initiative.
As the ObamaCare rollout began Oct. 1, Republicans called for Congress to discuss making changes to the law. Democrats refused, so the government came to an impasse and a partial shutdown occurred. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, insisted that fighting the health insurance plan was at the heart of the GOP strategy. “I opposed the shutdown from day one. I think it was wrong that President Obama and Harry Reid forced the shutdown. They forced the shutdown because they wouldn’t compromise on ObamaCare,” he said Oct.11.
Washington's political class fundamentally misunderstands the role of politics and government in American society. They act as if government is the central force in American life and that its decisions guide the course of the nation. In historical reality, societal trends embrace new technology and the deep currents of public opinion lead the way. Government follows along a decade or two behind.
A quick review of our nation's history shows that the first 200 years were characterized by changing technology and expectations moving us to a more centralized nation.
Yeah, he caught and corrected himself. Too late. When the chips were down, President Obama didn't step up and truly take responsibility for the disastrous rollout of Obamacare. Instead of acting like a leader and the President of the United States, Barack Obama's first impulse was to cast himself as the victim.
In an interview with NBC Political Director Chuck Todd aired on this evening's NBC Nightly News, President Obama said that "I've been burned by a website." View the video after the jump.
Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt wrote a piece Tuesday claiming that cancer survivor Edie Littlefield Sundby losing her health insurance as a result of ObamaCare proved former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s point regarding death panels.
Hurt took this position further with Newsmax TV’s Steve Malzberg Wednesday saying that President Obama and the media think “government should be God” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment took quite a hit on television Wednesday.
After Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood mocked it during the Country Music Association Awards, NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno said the President is “better off smoking crack than passing ObamaCare” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Tuesday, CNN's Carol Costello lectured Republicans to stop grilling HHS Secretary Sebelius over ObamaCare and "sit down with Democrats to come up with some solutions."
"What in your mind is the point of this? Haven't we heard enough from Kathleen Sebelius?" Costello huffed to GOP Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn as Sebelius testified before the Senate Finance Committee. Costello told her that "Americans want solutions" over more hearings. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
MSNBC analyst Joy Reid is one of those liberal media figures who still refuses to say that President Obama lied about Americans’ ability to keep their insurance plans under ObamaCare. On Tuesday night, Reid made a guest appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show to discuss the health care law. Hewitt confronted Reid with a clip of Obama’s recent whitewashing: “If you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.”
Rather than confess that Obama lied, Reid undertook a defense of the president using as an analogy DDT, a popular pesticide that was banned in 1972. She explained, “Now had the government in 1972 said, ‘Listen, if you love your pesticide, you can keep it,’ it would have been wrong because the truth is if your pesticide contained DDT, it was now illegal. But you’d have to buy a totally different pesticide and use that on your garden.”
On Megyn Kelly's Fox News Channel show last night, reporter Trace Gallagher countered the Obama adminstration's attack on Stage Four cancer patient Edie Littlefield Sundby, whose Sunday evening Wall Street Journal op-ed on her individual plan's termination in California has garnered major attention. Ms. Sundby wrote that she has not found an available insurance plan option which will cover visits and treatments from both her current oncologist and her current primary care doctor.
In the process of addressing the White House's reference to a far-left Think Progress report which tried to pin the blame on Ms. Sundby's carrier — as if that addresses the obvious failures of her Obamacare options, which it obviously doesn't — Gallagher dropped a bombshell. Covered California, the formerly Golden State's Obamacare exchange, mandated as a condition of participation that any insurance company wishing to offer plans there had to cancel all existing individual policies in the state which did not qualify under Obamacare's strictures, i.e., they could not have any grandfathered plans (video is here full transcript is here; bolds are mine):
During Tuesday's edition of Morning Joe on MSNBC, co-host Joe Scarborough criticized the GOP for having “the lowest approval rating ever” but stated that the failures of ObamaCare could elect more Republicans and members of the Tea Party if they “just get out of the way” while Democrats continue making serious blunders.
Ted Cruz, a GOP senator from Texas who tried to filibuster the Affordable Care Act, “has gotten out of the way,” Scarborough stated. “The Republicans have gotten out of the way. They've learned their lesson. And now, the spotlight is on ObamaCare. It would have been on ObamaCare two months ago if they had gotten out of the way.”
It appears the folks at PolitiFact are trying to make amends for calling President Obama's "You can keep your plan if you like it" pledge "Half True."
On Wednesday, the fact-checking organization looked at the President's recent explanation of what he said - "Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed" - and gave it a Pants on Fire:
Since the end of the partial government shutdown last month, national newspapers have zeroed in on conservative Utah Senator Mike Lee as a potential political casualty due to his leadership in developing the strategy of using the federal government’s October 1 funding deadline as a way to stop ObamaCare. “After a 16-day government shutdown, it’s Lee who faces a revolt within his own party,” the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker declared in an October 23 front-page story.
But for a statewide politician like Mike Lee (who doesn’t face the voters again until 2016), the reviews that truly matter are those of his home state’s media. Thus, Media Research Center analysts reviewed coverage from Utah’s two largest newspapers, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, analyzing all 116 news stories, editorials and opinion columns that talked about Lee’s role in the shutdown. Our study included all stories from September 17 through October 31 — a period beginning two weeks before the start of the shutdown and ending two weeks after the shutdown concluded. [Full results after the jump.]
The Associated Press's initial coverage of President Obama's attempt to "reinvent history," the term used yesterday by the National Journal's Ron Fournier, is instructive. Monday evening, Obama claimed that his core "you can keep your (health care) plan" guarantee — made dozens of times from 2008 through 2012 — was only relevant "if it (your current plan) hasn’t changed since the law was passed."
Let's look how the AP's Nedra Pickler — or perhaps the White House correspondents' pool reporter, if Team Obama limited press access — wrote things up (HT to NB commenter Alfred Lemire) immediately after Obama's speech (6:34 p.m. report after a speech which began at 5:58 p.m.):
The latest and greatest Obama scandal is the disastrous Obamacare rollout, but it has something in common with all the others (besides Obama knew nothing). Some journalists are still brazenly trying to deny against all evidence that this scandal has any substance at all.
The same people who freaked out over President Bush's one sentence in one State of the Union speech that Saddam Hussein sought uranium in Africa are now making excuses for Obama saying everywhere, endlessly, "If you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you." To them, that's not lying -- blatantly, repeatedly, shamelessly. He simply "misspoke," claimed the New York Times editorial page.
Leave it to MSNBC weekend anchor Alex Witt to continue marching forward, carrying the flag of ObamaCare as the rollout phase sputters along at a crawl. On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host often came across as a White House publicist, defending both the president and his health care law.
Witt began her show by interviewing Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of both ObamaCare and Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan. After playing a brief compilation of President Obama insisting, “If you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan,” Witt asked Gruber, “When you heard these words, did you know that what the president was saying may not present the whole picture, and does it matter?” [See video below the break.]
Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.) had some advice for President Obama concerning his new claim concerning what he meant when he told Americans they could keep their health insurance plans if they liked them.
Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on The Lead Tuesday, Christie said, “Don’t be so cute…When you make a mistake, admit it.”
CNN is still giving President Obama the extreme benefit of the doubt over his false promise that Americans could keep their insurance under ObamaCare.
The President added words to his promise on Tuesday, that Americans could keep their insurance "if it hasn't changed since the law passed." Anchor Ashleigh Banfield then suggested he call his initial promise an "oversight" and rebuked conservative guest Will Cain who called it a "lie."
If there is to be a tidal wave of defenders of President Barack Obama's "it if it hasn't changed" revision to his original guarantee — "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan" — Ron Fournier (NewsBusters history here), who toiled at the Associated Press for 20 years and joined the National Journal several years ago, will not be among them.
In 2008, Fournier advocated "accountability journalism." When he took over as AP Washington bureau chief, he pushed for what was described as "a more hard-charging, opinion oriented style of writing" as a "new direction AP should take." Both were, in my view, thinly veiled attempts to inject more left-leaning bias into what news consumers to this day still mostly believe are "objective" wire service reports. With that demonstrated pedigree, perhaps it's a surprise that Fournier would be so vocal about Obama's attempt to "reinvent history" (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):
This morning, in an apparent rush to get a jump on the rest of the excuse-making establishment press, Aamer Madhani at USA Today claimed that President Barack Obama's shameless, lame Monday night attempt to explain away his serial guarantee, namely that "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan, period" — made roughly two dozen times in 2009 and 2010, and repeated on the campaign trail in 2012 — represented a "tweaking of his claim" in which he "added a caveat." So that makes it all okay. (/sarc)
Madhani also acted as if it's only Republicans who have directed "an avalanche of criticism" at Obama. He also swallowed the false line that "only" 5 percent of Americans have been affected, ignoring a similar impact in the small group market and several well-known large-employer terminations of plans which had been offered to part-timers and retirees. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
As NewsBusters has been reporting, CBS News has been one of the press outlets totally willing to expose the disaster that is the ObamaCare rollout.
On Monday, Sharyl Attkisson did a fabulous report on the CBS Evening News revealing that “four days before the launch the government took an unusual step: it granted itself a waiver to launch the website with a level of uncertainty deemed as a high security risk” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Who says the Fox News Channel is all conservatives? Sometimes, its employees are socialists who want America to be more like Sweden.
Take Geraldo Rivera on his radio show on Friday. When a caller complained he wasn't extolling the positives of Obamacare, he said the program is “deeply flawed” because “we let the insurance industry write the legislation,” when he prefers a “single payer” government-dominated health care system like Sweden or Canada, where private insurance is banned.
Well, let's see how well this unspeakably pathetic attempt to explain away the lie of the century (so far) works with the establishment press.
Two separate tweeters — Reid Epstein at Politico and Mark Knoller at CBS News — are reporting that President Obama, at a rally of the Organizing For Action faithful this evening, told his audience that "What we said was you can keep it (your health plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed" (HTs to Hot Air and Twitchy):
Appearing on Saturday's NBC Today, MSNBC host Chris Matthews launched into a rant denouncing Republicans for daring to be critical of the disastrous ObamaCare rollout: "...one party has a health care plan, the other party does not have one. And the one that does not have a health care plan is least able to be critical....It doesn't have the moral credibility to mock the one party and the one president who has succeeded." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Matthews implored President Obama: "He has to return it to the issue of morality and the fact that we owe our brothers and sisters health care...He can't get involved in letting this be judged on whether it's successfully rolled out or not, he has to make it back to the question, should we try to bring health care to people who don't have it or not? And put his enemies on the defensive."
Ed Schultz on Monday spent half of his program praising the Kentucky health insurance exchange whilst playing lengthy clips of an interview he did with that state’s Democratic governor.
As Schultz held Steve Beshear and his state up as the gold standard for how ObamaCare can work, the MSNBC host didn’t ask his guest about the high percentage of exchange enrollees that were applying for Medicaid or a recent report from the state’s Department of Insurance predicting that 280,000 Kentuckians would lose their policies as a result of the law.
A recent Washington Post report handed MSNBC an opportunity to blame their rivals for the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare, and the Lean Forward network appears to be taking advantage.
On Monday’s The Cycle, MSNBC contributor Perry Bacon was on to discuss Saturday’s report that fear of Republican criticism caused the Obama administration to work slowly and secretively on the development of Healthcare.gov. Bacon summed up the White House’s political concerns like this: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]