Today, President Obama went after Paul Ryan’s budget that would move to preserve Medicare for decades to come by mirroring a debunked Democratic talking point. “My plan has already extended Medicare by more than a decade,” said Obama. “Their plan would end Medicare as we know it.”
Only one problem: even the massively-biased Politifact thinks this is a lie. In fact, in 2011, they labeled the “Republicans voted to end Medicare” meme the “Lie of the Year.” Here’s what Politifact said at the time:
Republicans muscled a budget through the House of Representatives in April that they said would take an important step toward reducing the federal deficit. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the plan kept Medicare intact for people 55 or older, but dramatically changed the program for everyone else by privatizing it and providing government subsidies.
Democrats pounced. Just four days after the party-line vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a Web ad that said seniors will have to pay $12,500 more for health care "because Republicans voted to end Medicare.”
Rep. Steve Israel of New York, head of the DCCC, appeared on cable news shows and declared that Republicans voted to "terminate Medicare." A Web video from the Agenda Project, a liberal group, said the plan would leave the country "without Medicare" and showed a Ryan look-alike pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. And just last month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a fundraising appeal that said: "House Republicans’ vote to end Medicare is a shameful act of betrayal." …
Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.
What was so wrong about the claim? Well, just about everything:
Democrats and liberals overreached:
• They ignored the fact that the Ryan plan would not affect people currently in Medicare -- or even the people 55 to 65 who would join the program in the next 10 years.
• They used harsh terms such as "end" and "kill" when the program would still exist, although in a privatized system …
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, an expert on campaign advertising who directs the Annenberg center at the University of Pennsylvania, says Democrats have been using falsehoods and exaggerations about Medicare and Social Security since at least 1952. She calls it the longest-running "Democratic deception." It fits with a core theme from Democrats that they will use government to protect seniors and needy people, while Republicans supposedly want to cut those programs, she says. It is a scare tactic that works.
Obama knows all of this. It’s been widely distributed. He just doesn’t care. If he wants to lie about Ryan’s budget, he’ll lie about Ryan’s budget. And what’s more, he’ll get Politifact to cover for him.
As it turned out, when Republicans began mentioning that Politifact had debunked the “Republicans will kill Medicare” myth, Politifact backed off its own claim. They now were offended by the invocation of the “Lie of the Year” article by conservatives. In particular, they wanted Democrats to be able to use the “end Medicare as we know it” lie:
The claim we rated for the Lie of the Year was that Republicans voted to end Medicare -- period -- not end Medicare as we know it.
Except that Politifact actually linked to a claim in its original “Lie of the Year” article by a lawmaker who stated that Ryan’s budget would “eliminate Medicare” as we know it. And they rated it a Pants on Fire lie.
Politifact is a leftist outlet. They spin for Democrats. But when Barack Obama begins using language that once made Politifact blush, Obama should be held accountable for it. His top talking point was Politifact’s top lie. And Obama knew it.