TheDC’s top 2012 stories, part 4: The ‘That’s Embarrassing!’ edition

David Martosko Executive Editor
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Every day this week The Daily Caller is inviting you to relive two of our most compelling moments from 2012. These stories might have made you angry or gleeful, or maybe they led you to poke your spouse in the ribs and say, “See, I told you so!” (RELATED: Part 3: The “Race Politics” edition)

But however you reacted, they met our number-one test for publication: They were interesting. (RELATED: Part 1: The “Obama administration off the rails” edition)

Today we revisit two stories that were downright cringe-worthy for the Obama re-election campaign and his White House.

ABC News scrambles to downplay Obama’s attendance at VP debate moderator’s wedding

Did you ever wonder if the political bent of presidential debate moderators could skew an election? If you saw the boost President Barack Obama got from CNN journalist Candy Crowley’s overt interruptions during one October 2012 debate, you already know the answer.

But before Crowley ever took center stage, The Daily Caller pointed out a potential conflict of interest that lurked beneath the surface of another debate moderator’s cool exterior:

President Barack Obama was a guest at the 1991 wedding of ABC senior foreign correspondent and vice presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz, The Daily Caller has learned. Obama and groom Julius Genachowski, whom Obama would later tap to head the Federal Communications Commission, were Harvard Law School classmates at the time and members of the Harvard Law Review.

After TheDC made preliminary inquiries Monday to confirm Obama’s attendance at the wedding, ABC leaked a pre-emptive statement to news outlets including Politico and The Daily Beast Tuesday, revealing what may have been internal network pressure felt just days before Raddatz was scheduled to moderate the one and only vice-presidential debate Thursday night. …

A source who attended the 1991 wedding told TheDC that Obama was also a guest there, and remembered that a man by the name of “Barry Obama” was among the guests dancing at the reception. …

ABC spokesman David Ford grudgingly confirmed Obama’s attendance at the wedding, after shielding Raddatz in August by declining to comment when The Daily Caller first reported the story.

Ultimately ABC News’ sole talking point was, essentially, “So what? That was a long time ago.”

But we asked ourselves this question: If Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly had attended Mitt Romney’s wedding decades ago, would Democrats have cried foul at the idea of him moderating a presidential-election debate?

The idea that one of the people responsible for asking career-changing questions of potential American vice presidents was chummy — at any time — with a big-ticket candidate made readers across the political spectrum uncomfortable.

By most accounts on the political left, Raddatz performed well at the debate. But some establishment media figures tweeted their approval less than 10 minutes into the event, suggesting that they were eager to help her get over the stigma of partisanship at a crucial time in U.S. history.

Report: 83 percent of doctors have considered quitting over Obamacare

Occasionally a news story comes along that’s so controversial — and angers the powers-that-be so much — that the source of the information tries to back away from its own press release. And sometimes a poll result sounds too ridiculous to be true, until we all find out it’s entirely accurate.

When a doctors’ group released the results of a surprising survey in July, both things happened.

The poll of U.S.physicians suggested that very few were enamored with President Obama’s health care overhaul. How few? Eighty-three percent surveyed, we reported, said they had considered quitting medicine because of it. That’s about five out of every six doctors.

The American Medical Association, the nation’s biggest physicians’ trade group, brought its credibility to Obamacare and became one of the president’s loudest cheerleaders. But this survey hinted that the AMA’s members might not agree:

Eighty-three percent of American physicians have considered leaving their practices over President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, according to a survey released by the Doctor Patient Medical Association.

The DPMA, a non-partisan association of doctors and patients, surveyed a random selection of 699 doctors nationwide. The survey found that the majority have thought about bailing out of their careers over the legislation, which was upheld last month by the Supreme Court. …

Even if doctors do not quit their jobs over the ruling, America will face a shortage of at least 90,000 doctors by 2020. The new health care law increases demand for physicians by expanding insurance coverage. This change will exacerbate the current shortage as more Americans live past 65. …

The DPMA found that many doctors do not believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will lead to better access to medical care for the majority of Americans, co-founder of the DPMA Kathryn Serkes told TheDC.

“Doctors clearly understand what Washington does not — that a piece of paper that says you are ‘covered’ by insurance or ‘enrolled’ in Medicare or Medicaid does not translate to actual medical care when doctors can’t afford to see patients at the lowball payments, and patients have to jump through government and insurance company bureaucratic hoops,” she said.

The Daily Caller heard from lobby groups after this story ran, saying that the DPMA’s Kathryn Serkes claimed the story didn’t properly reflect her survey. After all, who could believe 83 percent of about 700 surveyed doctors were thinking of quitting a few weeks after the Supreme Court upheld the Obamacare law?

However angry Serkes was, however, she seemed to decide in the ensuing days that her survey results were sound.

The poll of doctors came to TheDC in a July 2 press release from an Ohio pediatrician who ran, unsuccessfully, for Congress. Her campaign was working with the DPMA. “80% of physicians are thinking about leaving their practices as a result of the President’s New Health Care law,” the release began, “according to a nation wide survey of physicians opinions on medicine conducted by the Doctor Patient Medical Association.”

The DPMA’s website later repeated this central finding among physicians, saying that “8 out of 10 say that current changes make them think about quitting. Only 5% say that they are ‘re-energized’ by the changes.”

Serkes said as much on Fox News Channel’s “Huckabee show” a few days later.

She seemed confident about her data when TheDC interviewed her for a half-hour the day the release hit our email. And as unbelievable as the data seemed at first — especially to some in the establishment media who have written supportively about Obamacare — it turned out that it lined up well with other data.

A September 2012 suvey by The Physician Company asked more than 13,500 doctors how the passage and Supreme Court survival of Obamacare “affected your feelings about the direction and future of healthcare in America.” Only 18.5 percent said it made them more positive. But about 60 percent said it made their outlook more negative.

In the same survey, 60.3 percent of doctors said they would retire today if they could. A few years earlier, before Obamacare became law, that number was just 45 percent.

An October 2010 survey conducted by a large health care staffing company showed that only 36 percent of physicians planned to vote for President Obama. One in seven said they had voted for Obama in 2008 but planned to vote for Mitt Romney in 2012. (RELATED SURVEY: Doctors choose Romney over Obama)

The same company polled more than 13,000 physicians in 2011, and 70 percent of them said they disagreed with the American Medical Association’s suport for Obamacare.

Another firm, this one a malpractice liability insurer, polled 5,100 doctors in February 2012 and found that 60 percent — including 69 percent of surgeons — thought Obamacare would have a negative impact on patient care.

It was difficult if not impossible, in the final months of the 2012 campaign season, to find a polling sample of medical doctors who approved of the president’s health care overhaul. The July sample from the DPMA turned out to be a fascinating canary in an electoral coal mine.

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