by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It might not seem possible that President Obama could do more harm to his credibility and the public’s faith in government than misleading Americans about health insurance reform. But he can. The president is now misleading the public about his deception.
In a speech Monday night to his political team, Obama 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.”
No, no, no, no, no–that’s not what the Obama administration said. What it said was:
“That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” – President Obama, speech to the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009, during the debate over health insurance reform.
“And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t happen in the future.” – Obama, remarks in Portland, Ore., April 1, 2010, after the bill was signed into law.
These quotes are courtesy of Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, who gave Obama four Pinocchios for the you-can-keep-it whopper, repeated countless times by Obama. “The president’s statements were sweeping and unequivocal—and made both before and after the bill became law,” Kessler wrote. “The White House now cites technicalities to avoid admitting that he went too far in his repeated pledge, which, after all, is one of the most famous statements of his presidency.”
What Obama told supporters Monday is what he should have told the public all along. …
… Watch the video of Obama reinventing history with the “what-we-said-was” construction. Notice how he is looking at notes. Remarkably, this was not an off-the-cuff remark; it was written, reviewed, and approved by senior White House officials, then recited by the president. An orchestrated deceit.
Why didn’t Obama add their caveats during his reelection campaign? His aides debated it. Some argued that the president had to shoot straight with the public. Others feared that he public wouldn’t understand the nuance and GOP rival Mitt Romney would use it to his advantage.
The cynics won. The truth was buried. And the man who promised to run the most transparent administration in history participated in a lie.