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July 22, 2009

Gaffes in Obama's Healthcare Presser

For those who missed it, the President went very low tonight. I'm not talking about the lies (there were too many to recount here), the contortions ("I'm not attacking Republicans" about two minutes after attacking Republicans), and the incoherence (e.g. "Senior citizens who right now have a so-called donut hole in their plan, where after spending a certain amount on prescription drugs suddenly they drop off a cliff and they've got to pocket the entire cost, suddenly half of that is filled.").

I'm talking about foot-in-mouth soundbites. Let's count them down:

4. The Sacrifices Americans Must Make

The question was: "Do you think -- do you accept the premise that other than some tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, the American people are going to have to give anything up in order for this to happen?"

The president answered: "They're going to have to give up paying for things that don't make them healthier. And I -- speaking as an American, I think that's the kind of change you want."

Like cheeseburgers and cigarettes and alcohol and cars that drive faster than 25 miles per hour?

3. Economics 101 FAIL

"Having a public plan out there that also shows that maybe if you take some of the profit motive out, maybe if you are reducing some of the administrative costs, that you can get an even better deal, that's going to incentivize the private sector to do even better."

2. I Don't Know Anything, But I Know the Police Acted Stupidly

On the professor arrested following a confrontation with a police officer after he broke into his own house: "Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts. ...

"Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly."

1. Doctors Want to Take Your Kids' Tonsils For Profit

Again, another answer unrelated to any question asked: "Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there. So if they're looking and you come in and you've got a bad sore throat or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, "You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out."

In all, he had some very clear villains in tonight's performance: doctors, insurers, Republicans, and the Cambridge police department. A full transcript of the press conference is available here.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:10 PM

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