On Wednesday, the Associated Press published one of its famous “fact checks,” this one with the somewhat surprising title “Obama doesn’t always tell the straight story.” What was surprising was not that the AP didn’t come out and state bluntly “Obama sometimes lies” but that the news agency was critical of the former president at all. It wasn’t very often during his eight years in the White House.
The focus of the fact check was Obama’s “campaign speech” in Chicago last week, specifically his false insinuation that Donald Trump has been more hostile to the “free press” than he himself was. Maybe this is payback that has been a long time in coming since one of Obama’s media targets while in office was the AP itself. As the article reminds him and readers:
In 2013 the Obama administration obtained the records of 20 Associated Press office phone lines and reporters’ home and cell phones, seizing them without notice, as part of an investigation into the disclosure of information about a foiled al-Qaida terrorist plot.
While the AP is to be commended for setting the record straight on this matter, there are many more “facts” from the speech that beg to be checked. One is the position he espoused in this remark:
… Democrats aren’t just running on good old ideas like a higher minimum wage. They’re running on good new ideas like Medicare-for-all, giving workers seats on corporate boards, reversing the most egregious corporate tax cuts to make sure students graduate debt-free. [Emphasis added]
Compare this with his adamant insistence early in his presidency that he was not pushing for a government-run, single-payer healthcare system. Here he is addressing the American Medical Association shortly after he took office in 2009:
What are not legitimate concerns are those being put forward claiming a public option is somehow a Trojan horse for a single-payer system. I’ll be honest. There are countries where a single-payer system works pretty well. But I believe — and I’ve taken some flak from members of my own party for this belief — that it’s important for our reform efforts to build on our traditions here in the United States. So when you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They’re not telling the truth.
This lie belongs up there (down there?) with “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.”
(h/t Weekly Standard)