Jim Acosta emulated a P.R. flack for the Obama administration on the 9 AM EDT edition of CNN Newsroom on Tuesday, as he hyped how the White House is "on track to hit seven million signing up" for ObamaCare. Acosta gushed that "if ObamaCare were a patient, this would be a pretty miraculous recovery, when you consider...that disastrous rollout in October and November."
The correspondent later touted the development as "pretty big news over here at the White House. They're reacting with a lot of glee and happiness, I can tell you." Acosta and anchor Carol Costello also credited the President's Internet video with comedian Zach Galifianakis for part of ObamaCare's apparent success: [MP3 audio available here; video below]
JIM ACOSTA: Those Web videos, like the one you just showed with Zach Galifianakis, attracted 30 million views in the last six weeks. And they had about 100 celebrities and athletes Tweeting out their support for ObamaCare. So, for all of those people out there who were...complaining that they didn't go to through traditional media...this alternative media strategy did work, in many ways, for this White House.
Costello teased the CNN journalist's report by trumpeting how "people are celebrating a huge ObamaCare milestone." Acosta then added that "it is no April's Fool joke. ObamaCare may actually hit its original target of seven million people signing up." After a commercial break, Costello continued that "despite all the drama after that botched website launch back in October, a surge of sign-ups yesterday may have put the numbers over the top on the final day of enrollment."
The CNN anchor stumbled over the name of comedian Galifianakis, as she featured a clip of his "Funny or Die" video with Obama, before turning to Acosta:
CAROL COSTELLO: ...Now, some say a strategic push on television and radio and Twitter helped the White House pull in those last numbers. Others think the so-called – you know – okay, somebody has to say this guy's name for me. Galifianakis – I can never say that! The Galifianakis/Obama (laughs) is the reason – referencing, of course, that viral video Obama shot with the comedian.
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS (from "Funny or Die" Internet video): It must kind of stink, though, that you can't run – you know, three times.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: No. Actually, I think it's a good idea. You know, if I ran a third time, it would be, sort of, like doing a third 'Hangover' movie. It didn't really work out very well, did it?
COSTELLO: Galifianakis; Galifianakis (mispronounced twice in succession) Senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta live at the White House with more. Good morning, Jim.
ACOSTA: Good morning, Carol. That right, and I can confirm it is Zach Galifianakis – if that helps in any way.
COSTELLO: (laughs) Thank you.
ACOSTA: Just – the guy from 'The Hangover' – just go with that.
COSTELLO: (laughs) Yeah.
The correspondent led with his slanted "miraculous recover" line, and devoted most of the segment to his stenography of the Obama administration. Acosta acknowledged that the actual enrollment number might be lower than seven million only in passing near the end of his report:
ACOSTA: You know Carol, if – if ObamaCare were a patient, this would be a pretty miraculous recovery, when you consider the fact that this – this program, this website, HealthCare.gov – was almost pulled offline by the President himself during that disastrous rollout in October and November. But, of course, they got things back on track. They got the website working. And now, according to a senior administration official – yes, they are on track to hit seven million signing up, as of this week. And that is – that is pretty big news over here at the White House. They're reacting with a lot of glee and happiness, I can tell you. And a lot of this is due to – check out these numbers: 4.8 million visits to HealthCare.gov, and two million calls to the call centers that they had set up. That is just yesterday – people flooding in to buy insurance before that deadline day of yesterday for enrolling in Obamacare.
Now, we – we looked at some of the other numbers that the administration is putting out about what happened. Administration officials, in the last six weeks, did 300 different radio interviews. Valerie Garrett, a senior White House official, alone did 80 radio interviews, according to a White House official. Those Web videos, like the one you just showed with Zach Galifianakis, attracted 30 million views in the last six weeks. And they had about 100 celebrities and athletes Tweeting out their support for ObamaCare. So, for all of those people out there who were – you know, sort of complaining that they didn't go to through traditional media – which is something you heard over here at the White House – among people in the press corps, there was some grumbling about that – this – this alternative media strategy did work, in many ways, for this White House.
Of course, we still have to wait and see, Carol – you know, in terms of how many people have actually paid for enrollment. That will lower these numbers somewhat, but they are on track to – to get that seven million figure – and, perhaps, even zoom past it, I'm told, by folks over here at the White House.