Free Pass: Obama's Strident 'Vow' To AMA 'Shouldn't Be Taken Literally'; AP Yawns

Imagine, if you can, that George W. Bush made a clearly and deliberately false statement (by the way, what the left claims are his five major lies weren't, and still aren't).

Now further imagine if the Bush administration's response to criticism of the statement, if not true, had been, "Oh, the president's rhetoric shouldn't be taken literally." The press uproar over such a dismissive response would have been justifiably immediate and furious.

In his address to the American Medical Association this past Monday, President Barack Obama promised that:

.... no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.

Well, Richard Alonzo-Zaldivar at the Associated Press at least noticed that Dear Leader's promises can't possibly be kept. But wait until you see his nonchalant reaction to what a conscientious press would immediately decry as a series of obvious falsehoods.

Here are key paragraphs from the AP report (bolds are mine):

Promises, Promises: Obama's health plan claims

President Barack Obama seems to leave little room for doubt when he promises that his health care plan will let people keep the coverage they have. His vow sounds reassuring and gets applause, but no president could guarantee such a pledge.

..... "No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people," Obama said Monday, addressing the American Medical Association. "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."

He didn't let up.

"If you like what you're getting, keep it," Obama said. "Nobody is forcing you to shift."

Yet the legislation the Obama administration is working on with the Democratic-controlled Congress would make major changes in how Americans pay for health care. The goal is to slow cost increases and bring in nearly 50 million uninsured, and the consequences are bound to affect how employers design benefit plans.

..... Earlier this week, a preliminary analysis by Congressional Budget Office estimated that 10 million people would have to seek new insurance under a Democratic plan that a Senate committee is working on, because their employers would no longer offer coverage. Those workers and their families would shop for a plan through new insurance purchasing pools called exchanges. About 160 million to 170 million people now get employer coverage.

Neutral observers are also skeptical. Dallas Salisbury, head of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, called Obama's promise "an aspirational statement."

"If he was a king, he would deliver that, but he's not king," said Salisbury. His group is a nonpartisan information clearinghouse on health and pension benefits.

White House officials suggest the president's rhetoric shouldn't be taken literally: What Obama really means is that government isn't about to barge in and force people to change insurance.

Oh, so I guess it's all okay, and no big deal. "Just words," if you will.

It's just fine that the President of the United States makes a false "vow" (not an "aspirational statement") that really "shouldn't be taken literally" before the nation's assembled doctors. It's just fine, thanks to sanitized and gullible news coverage, that the "vow" gets disseminated to the American people initially unquestioned. It's just fine that after being correctly challenged by outfits like the CBO and the Heritage Foundation, obsequious reporters like Alonzo-Zaldivar let the administration get away with a pathetic "never mind." And it's just fine that even watered-down pablum such as Alonzo-Zalivar's, published on a Saturday, gets ridiculously light distribution, while the AP can risibly claim that they did their journalistic job.

No, it's not fine.

It's not fine because the mendacious seed has been planted in the minds of millions of Americans that Dear Leader is the hero and savior who will lower health care costs while not affecting anyone's coverage or choice of doctor. The White House, for all its feigned irritation, is likely quietly crowing, "Mission Accomplished."

If Obama and his party get their way -- thanks in no small part to "journalists" who initially let blatantly false propaganda slide, excuse it when found, and even decide to serve as prime-time spokesmouths -- we will look back and say that "Obama lied; the best health care system in the world died."

Cross-posted at

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