Conservatives across the fruited plain are likely going to be shocked by this - and liberals extremely angered! - but the fact-checking website PolitiFact on Thursday named President Obama's "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it" promise the Lie of the Year.
Such was announced on CNN's The Lead (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
With a drum roll going, host Jake Tapper said, “So here it is, by popular demand, the number one Lie of the Year, based on something the President first said in 2009, and then updated in 2013.”
A video clip of President Obama was then played with him saying, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”
Another clip was aired with Obama saying more recently, “What we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law's passed.”
“So this was a runaway favorite with readers,” Tapper said. “59 percent voted for this as Lie of the Year.”
“Yeah, the editors of PolitiFact selected this because it had the most impact on the national debate,” replied PolitiFact editor Angie Drobnic Holan. “It’s something we first flagged back in 2009. We said this is partly right. The health care law does leave in place the existing health care system.”
“But it’s partly wrong,” she continued, “because we knew back then not everybody would be able to keep their health care plan, and this was the year that it was proved false as these cancellation letters went out at the end of the year.”
“So that upgrades it from theoretically possibly true/possibly false to Pants on Fire, a lie, the fact that it was implemented, and if you like your health plan, you can’t necessarily keep your health plan?” asked Tapper.
“Well, what happened was the President came out later and said, ‘Oh, we never said that. We said that if your plan hadn’t changed since the law was passed,’” Drobnic Holan replied. “We found 37 separate instances where he said clearly, with no caveats, that you can keep your plan. And that got the Pants on Fire rating, that excuse.”
Now, there's been some debate about which of Obama's statements - the initial one from 2009 or the absurd explanation recently - were really in contention for Lie of the Year.
The folks at PolitiFact Bias think PF is misrepresenting things a bit.
However, Drobnic Holan appeared to answer the concerns saying, "The original statement is partly accurate. The Lie of the Year is not the most wrong statement. It's the most significant impact. And then the excuse got the Pants on Fire overall."
"So, the lie about what he originally said is Lie of the Year?" asked Tapper.
"They're both Lie of the Year, because this is something that unfolded over a bunch of years," Drobnic Holan answered.
"So, this is wrapped up like a delicious chocolate peanut butter swirl," quipped Tapper.
"Yeah," Drobnic Halen responded, "it's something that we've been watching for many years."
I'm not sure that will satisfy the doubters, but it works for me as they were both whoppers that have indeed had a huge impact on the country.
Kudos for PF having the guts to call the President out in such a high profile way.
Let's see whether Obama's fans in the media report this dishonor.