In Iowa and New Hampshire , Barack Obama attacked Clinton and Edwards over the mandate portion of their health care plans. While the ensuing back and forth occured, the Clinton campaign pointed out that Obama supported not only universal health care, but single payer universal health care in 2003. But after Clinton and Edwards pointed out Obama’s alarming inconsistencies during the recent South Carolina debate Obama claimed to have never supported Single Payer Health Care. Unfortunately for him the Clinton campaign released a web ad a few days ago calling bullshit on Obama’s claim:
Uh oh… But of course when people are usually stuck in a blatant lie they dig themselves an even deeper hole:
But don’t take my word for it. Look at what the American Research Group, a national polling firm, said about Obama’s gaffe:
There are times in campaigns when candidates say or do things that destroy the major premises of their campaigns in an instant. Barack Obama did that this morning in his interview with Meredith Vieira on the Today Show.
When confronted with a clip of him saying in Monday night’s debate that he never supported a single-payer health care system and then a clip of him saying he was a proponent of a single-payer system, Obama uncomfortably dodged his very obvious contradiction by telling Vieira that he could not hear the clips.
By relying on the Groucho Marx defense (“Who are you going to believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?”), Obama reduced himself to a typical politician in front of millions of voters.
Vieira reported that the clips were prepared by the Clinton campaign, which was all the more reason for Obama to have been prepared to respond to the clips.
Voters react to demonstrated behavior. If a politician says he or she represents a new style of politics, but his or her behavior clearly demonstrates the opposite, voters will base their judgments on the behavior and not on what the politician tells them.
But of course the Obama campaign claims that he’s being smeared when someone attacks him with the truth. Look at what Obama’s spokesman said to the Wall Street Journal :
Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are going at it over health care again, this time over whether Obama once advocated a single-payer health care plan, a system favored by the left wing of the Democratic Party.
He says he didn’t. She says he did.
But she has the proof. His comments are on video, from a speech he gave in 2003 to the AFL-CIO. It’s all on YouTube, natch.
At a Democratic debate Tuesday night, Clinton accused Obama of supporting single payer and then backing away. Obama flatly denied it: “I never said that we should try to go ahead and get single payer. What I said was that if I were starting from scratch, if we didn’t have a system in which employers had typically provided health care, I would probably go with a single-payer system. What’s evolved, Hillary, is your presentation of my positions, which is what’s happened frequently during the course of this campaign.”
But Clinton has the goods to back up her claim. In his 2003 speech, Obama said, “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America the wealthiest country in the history of the world … cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody … . A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. And as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, we have to take back the House.”
Challenged with the apparent contradiction, Obama spokesman Bill Burton produced three recent examples where Obama did in fact say that he would support single payer but only if we were starting from scratch. And he put out this nasty statement: “The Clinton campaign has shown itself willing to say anything, distort anything and twist anything in order to win an election.”
When asked to respond to the fact that the video shows that in 2003 Obama held a different view, Burton challenged Washington Wire to get a copy of the full Obama speech and suggested that would show his comments were taken out of context. Clinton spokesman Phil Singer provided the full video and it proved Clinton’s point.
Obama tried to use the incident as an example of Clinton manipulating the facts, but it seems clear his campaign is the one doing the twisting. Clinton wants the incident to highlight how Obama no longer supports universal coverage, which she and others believe is not possible without a mandate. On that matter, the debate goes on.
See the full video here:
Some materials for this diary were originally used by Mydd poster Seymore Glass