Not a Lie, Just an “Impossible to Keep” Promise
“I mean, having the President go out there and make a promise that he had no control to keep, right? Making that promise — ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’ — well, it was impossible to keep that promise. You can’t tell a company — you know, 80 percent of us, you and I, we don’t get to control our health care policy. We work for a company that controls our health care policy. So that was a promise they couldn’t keep. It set a false set of expectations.”
— NBC News political director and White House correspondent Chuck Todd on Today, October 30.
“This was, by any common-sense measure, a lie. It was a lie because President Obama understood that one of the central aims of the Affordable Care Act was to squeeze out the individual insurance market (and the small business market), forcing those Americans on to the HealthCare.gov exchanges. You can’t force people out of one insurance product and into another while simultaneously letting them keep their plan.”
— National Review’s Jonah Goldberg writing in USA Today, November 6.
Excusing Obama’s Lie: Old Policies Were “Cheap,” “Dangerous” and “Crappy”
“Some called it a lie because 15 million Americans may, in fact, lose the cheap, underperforming insurance they have now....But the Obama administration says hold on. Even if this was oversold, the under-insured will be better off under ObamaCare, getting better insurance at about the same price.”
— ABC’s Jim Avila on ABC’s Good Morning America, October 30.
“President Obama has broken his promise that Americans who like their health insurance plans can keep them under the Affordable Care Act....but many may be better off. The individual health insurance plans being cancelled this fall are generally being discontinued because they do not meet new ACA standards for insurance.”
— Time’s Kate Pickert in an October 28 Web article, “The Bright Side of ObamaCare’s Broken Promise.”
Correspondent Jim Avila: “Why is this happening? Because insurance companies, which offered cheap insurance like Julie’s, left out basics now required by ObamaCare, like hospital coverage, maternity, mental health or prescription drugs and are now forced to cancel those plans and replace them....Julie tells us that she doesn’t have hospital care on this cheap insurance plan. Is that dangerous?”
Consumers Union’s Lynn Quincy: “Absolutely. That’s an enormous hole in her coverage.”
— ABC’s World News, October 29.
“Folks, this is all about standards. These 14 million people that buy insurance on the individual marketplace, some of them are going to get these notices because they have — I can’t use the ‘S’ word — they have crappy insurance.”
— Host Ed Schultz on MSNBC’s The Ed Show, October 29.
“You know, it is extraordinary watching people twist this around for political gain. But this is a bit like someone saying, ‘I’m going to sell you a $500 car, and then that pesky government says this car has to be road-worthy.’...It’s pretty simple. If you spend a lot of money on insurance, generally you should get something back. Not always, but generally. That’s insurance. So when you get a cheap policy, and you get no benefits for it, what is it really worth?”
— MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe on MSNBC’s The Last Word, October 30.
CNN Can’t Condone Calling Obama’s Lie a “Lie”
Contributor Will Cain: “You talked about, ‘How could they not have known? How could they not have known about this grandfathering provision that makes the President’s statement — “If you like your health care plan you can keep it. Period” — makes it false?’ They did know. It was not a mistake. It was a lie. You cannot portray this in any other way. It was a lie.”
Anchor Ashleigh Banfield: “That’s pretty strident language to say it was a lie. ...Maybe I’m a bit of a Pollyanna. But I don’t like to suggest that plans are launched with lies.”
— Exchange on CNN’s Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield, November 5.
Why Can’t Media Say Anything Nice About ObamaCare? Because It’s Too Wonderful!
“You know what? I think that network reporters throughout the entire industry may be caught in a dilemma: that ObamaCare is so positive, and going to have such a tremendous impact on American life and American society, and setting the foundation for better changes in the future, I think that network reporters and people on TV are having a hard time saying something nice about it or positive about it, because they might be viewed as [makes air quotes] ‘journalistically compromised.’ They’re not really showing a great deal of integrity if they say something positive about ObamaCare.”
— Host Ed Schultz on MSNBC’s The Ed Show, October 29.
Blaming GOP “Sabotage” for Democrats’ ObamaCare Fiasco
“To the undisputed reasons for ObamaCare’s rocky rollout — a balky website, muddied White House messaging and sudden sticker shock for individuals forced to buy more expensive health insurance — add a less acknowledged cause: calculated sabotage by Republicans at every step....From the moment the bill was introduced, Republican leaders in both houses of Congress announced their intention to kill it. Republican troops pressed this cause all the way to the Supreme Court — which upheld the law, but weakened a key part of it by giving states the option to reject an expansion of Medicaid. The GOP faithful then kept up their crusade past the President’s re-election, in a pattern of ‘massive resistance’ not seen since the Southern states’ defiance of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954.”
— Longtime New York Times reporter Todd Purdum, now a Politico senior writer, in a November 1 Politico article.
GOP Lacks “Moral Credibility” to Criticize Obama’s “Success”
“This is something that the President cares more about than anything else in his legacy. It’s the major contribution he’s made to the social safety net....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 a dog in this race. It hasn’t tried to deal with the health care problem. It doesn’t have the moral credibility to mock the one party and the one president who has succeeded.”
— MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews on NBC’s Today, November 2.
It’s Just a “Myth” ObamaCare Compels Us All to Buy Insurance
“Let’s look at some of the most persistent myths about the law — and some new ones that have cropped up.
“1. Americans will be forced to buy health insurance. The health-care law’s individual mandate, despite its name, isn’t meant to force Americans into health plans. Instead, it is supposed to encourage people to purchase coverage by giving them two options: Buy insurance or pay a fine....”
— Washington Post health policy reporter Sarah Kliff in a November 3 “Outlook” column.
Please Ignore the Debacle in Front of Your Face
“Anyone who ever worked on a website launch or redesign can sympathize with the plight of the Obama health care team in the last few weeks....The health exchange digital breakdown is Obama’s Y2K moment, a frightening series of confusing mishaps that threatens social and political breakdown. But it ultimately will be a footnote in the broader national debate over our dysfunctional healthcare system.”
— USA Today editor-in-chief David Callaway in an October 25 column, “Obama’s Y2K moment; In the end, HealthCare.gov fiasco will be a footnote.”
We Can Fix ObamaCare With Even More Socialism
“It’s great to have health care. I want everyone to have health care. I want single payer, I want Medicare for everybody. I want it to be like Sweden. I want it to be like the United Kingdom or Canada. I want everyone to have health care.”
— Geraldo Rivera on his syndicated radio show, November 1.
Cruel Food Stamp “Cuts” = No Halloween Candy
Anchor Brian Williams: “Another big story affecting tens of millions of Americans who rely on food stamps to feed their families. As of today they’re going to have to get by on less — about five percent less — because a special part-time recession boost to the food stamp program has expired....”
Correspondent Mike Taibbi: “Broken down, the cuts don’t sound like much. Eleven dollars a month for an individual; $36 for a family of four.... But if you’re a family that relies on food stamps, that $36 cut translates to 16 to 20 meals. That has Joe Blackburn, a single father of four whose medical issues cost him his corrections officer job already making painful decisions.”
Joe Blackburn: “I couldn’t even buy them Halloween candy this year because I just couldn’t afford it.”
— NBC Nightly News, November 1. Unstated by NBC: The food stamp bill passed by House Republicans would actually raise spending by 57 percent over the next decade.
Even After All the Scandals, Journalists Still Admire “Scandal-Free” Obama
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus: “This has been really — and I know people are going to call about Benghazi and other things, but this has been really a very — and the IRS — this has been a really relatively scandal-free administration, first term and second term.”...
CNN’s David Gergen: “I particularly agree that — with Ruth that this has been a scandal-free administration by and large, and we should appreciate that.”
— During a discussion on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show, November 4.
Ted Cruz, “Right-Wing Zealot,” “Frightening Freddy Krueger”
“Is Ted Cruz the Republican Freddy Krueger?...‘Let Me Start’ tonight with this grotesquerie that now presents itself as the righteous right arm of the Republican Party, this frightening Freddy Krueger that threatens this country with relentless shutdowns and credit defaults....”
— Host Chris Matthews opening Hardball, October 29.
“Senator Cruz is the right-wing zealot of the season....He reminds me of the kid who kills his parents, then begs the judge’s mercy on the ground that he’s an orphan, a perfect candidate for Halloween week.”
— Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, October 28.
Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan = Ideological Twins
“Obama right now, where Obama is, is right around where Reagan was, right around where Nixon was. He’s no more left than those Republicans....Obama’s right around where Bob Dole is. They’re very similar, you know? There’s not much of a difference there.”
— Actor/activist Rob Reiner on the online “Overtime” after HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, November 1.
Craving the “Honesty” of Bill and Hillary Clinton
“They’re nimble politicians. Also I think that they represent a style of honesty that the public craves right now.”
— Newly-hired MSNBC host Ronan Farrow talking about the Clintons on The Cycle, October 29.
Sign up to receive Notable Quotables  via e-mail.
L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
DEPUTY RESEARCH DIRECTOR: Geoffrey Dickens
NEWS ANALYSTS: Scott Whitlock, Brad Wilmouth, Matthew Balan, Kyle Drennen and Matt Hadro
INTERNS: Paul Bremmer, Jeffrey Meyer
MEDIA CONTACT: Jeremy Little (703) 683-5004