Carney offers gibberish to muffle Obama’s ‘you can keep it’ denial

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The escalating Obamacare crisis forced White House spokesman Jay Carney to seek refuge Tuesday in gibberish and irrelevancies while trying to downplay the president’s Monday denial of his many videotaped “you can keep it” claims.

President Barack Obama denied saying that “you can keep it” in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, during a Monday rally at the St. Regis Hotel in D.C.

“What we said was you could keep [your insurance] if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed,” he insisted.

Carney had to do the clean-up at the daily press conference Tuesday.

In his “you can keep it” statements, “the president was speaking very specifically about the broader promise of the Affordable Care Act,” Carney declared to the notably skeptical reporters.

His Monday “if it hasn’t changed” statement “was referring to the implementation of the law through the rule process,” he insisted.

Several reporters asked Carney about Obama’s attempted revision, and why the president won’t admit that he “misspoke” by telling Americans “you can keep it.”

“Thank you for the question. I just want to be clear. The president was referring to the law and to the fact that the law was written in a way,” Carney initially responded.

When pressed to explain why the president won’t say he “misspoke” in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, Carney declared that “it’s a little bit more complicated than that.”

As he tried to deny the contradiction between Obama’s “you can keep it” statements and his Monday “if it hasn’t changed” exception, Carney issued a stream of irrelevant comments and non-sequiturs.

“Eighty percent of the country is covered by their employers, Medicare, Medicaid. … The only changes for them are positive. … We need to do a better job of getting information to them so they know what their options are,” he continued.

“One of the reasons why that area of the insurance market so desperately needed reform is because it was the area where insurers could so easily take advantage of consumers because consumers had so few options,” he said.

“What our job is, and the failure of the website to function effectively has made this job more difficult, is to make sure that those Americans — that that portion of five percent of the population are getting the information they need to know that they can avail themselves, half of them, of tax credits that will make their insurance cheaper than it otherwise would be, that in all situations for them, the insurance options they have available to them is better, more quality coverage than what they’re getting now,” he told the reporters.

The “you can keep it” claim is proving to be a political problem for Obama. Gallup reported Tuesday that his approval rating has fallen to 39 percent — just two points above his lowest level — while GOP legislators are rallying to take advantage.

“Just stop,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner. “Stop and admit you sold this health law on a central promise that is flat-out untrue. Have enough respect for the people who elected you to be honest. No one is being fooled anymore.”

Carney’s Tuesday performance came one day after he mocked, mimicked and misdirected ABC reporter John Karl, after Karl had suggested the president had deceptively suggested Oct. 21 that people could enroll in the Obamacare network via phone.

Obama’s Monday revision has drawn much criticism from the public and from small-government advocates, in large part, because it is contradicted by numerous videotapes.

In those videotapes, Obama can be seen telling 300 million Americans that they can keep their insurance, without conditions or exceptions or equivocations.

“We will keep this promise to the American people … if you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan, period,” Obama said June 23, 2009.

“If you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t happen in the future,” Obama told voters on April Fool’s Day 2010, after the law was signed.

He repeated the unqualified promise in the run-up to the 2012 election. “If you’ve got health insurance … you keep your own insurance, you keep your own doctor,” he declared in one of the three presidential debates.

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