AP reported McCain's "ready response" to Obama on health care, but not that it was false

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

The Associated Press' Liz Sidoti reported without challenge several attacks Sen. John McCain recently made against Sen. Barack Obama, including what Sidoti referred to as his "ready response" that a "significant difference between myself and Senator Obama" is that "I am not going to dictate that the government decide what your health care is going to be." In fact, Obama's plan does not allow for government control of health care; rather, it calls for individuals to choose their own insurance.

A May 29 Associated Press article by staff writer Liz Sidoti reported without challenge several attacks Sen. John McCain recently made against Sen. Barack Obama:

  • Sidoti wrote: "McCain also had a ready response when pressed about rising health care costs: 'It's another significant difference between myself and Senator Obama. I am not going to dictate that the government decide what your health care is going to be.' " But what Sidoti referred to as McCain's "ready response" was false. In fact, Obama's plan does not allow for government control of health care; rather, it calls for individuals to choose their own insurance. The plan allows individuals to keep their private health insurance if they so choose, while Obama says it also "addresses the large gaps in coverage that leave 47 million Americans uninsured."

A Q&A released by the Obama campaign states that Obama's "plan will not tell you which doctors to see or what treatments to get. Under the Obama health care plan, you will be able to keep your doctor and your health insurance if you want. No government bureaucrat will second-guess decisions about your care." Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented instances of media outlets uncritically repeating McCain's false assertions that Obama's health care plan is a "big-government takeover of health care" or a "government monopoly."

  • Sidoti further reported: " '[Obama] does not have the knowledge or experience to make the judgments' on Iraq and other issues, McCain, a four-term senator, said late Wednesday -- as he does almost daily now." Sidoti also noted that at a May 28 campaign event, McCain "again hammered Obama, who has called for a troop pullout, for last visiting Iraq in 2006," and quoted McCain as saying "This is about leadership and learning. ... We've got to show him the facts on the ground." But in highlighting McCain's attacks on Obama over his "knowledge" of the "facts on the ground" in Iraq, Sidoti failed to mention that McCain has made numerous misstatements during and surrounding the recent trips he has made to Iraq, and during a Senate hearing with Gen. David Petraeus, which have raised questions about McCain's own "knowledge" of the "facts on the ground" in Iraq.
  • In addition, Sidoti wrote that "McCain suggested that Obama took a politically expedient position on a veterans bill," without noting that McCain, even while impugning Obama's motives, accused Obama of "impugning" his "motives" with regard to the recently passed GI bill expanding benefits for veterans, which McCain voted against. Indeed, responding to Obama's statement that "I can't believe why he [McCain] believes it is too generous to our veterans," McCain, in a written statement, said: "[I]f Senator Obama would take the time and trouble to understand this issue, he would learn to debate an honest disagreement respectfully. But, as he always does, he prefers impugning the motives of his opponent." McCain also stated: "Unlike Senator Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim."

From the May 29 AP article:

"He does not have the knowledge or experience to make the judgments" on Iraq and other issues, McCain, a four-term senator, said late Wednesday -- as he does almost daily now.

The sweeping claim that Obama is unprepared to lead the country and incapable of making necessary tough decisions reminds voters that the Illinois senator is in the midst of his first term -- and also insinuates that he's too young to be president at age 46.

[...]

During a Memorial Day speech in New Mexico, McCain suggested that Obama took a politically expedient position on a veterans bill. A day later in a nuclear nonproliferation speech in Colorado, McCain slapped at Obama for saying he'd be willing to meet with the leaders of rogue states like North Korea and Iran. He didn't name Obama in either case but the references were clear.

McCain was far more direct Wednesday.

He opened a town-hall style event in Nevada with a lengthy critique of Obama's competency on foreign policy, and questioned his leadership abilities. He again hammered Obama, who has called for a troop pullout, for last visiting Iraq in 2006.

"This is about leadership and learning," McCain said. "We've got to show him the facts on the ground."

[...]

Additionally, McCain raised Obama's chairmanship of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee and said: "He has not held one single hearing on Afghanistan where young Americans are in harm's way as we speak. My friends, this is about leadership."

Taking questions, McCain sprinkled other jabs at Obama in his responses.

"One of the differences between me and Senator Obama is that he wants to continue this spending spree," McCain said, dinging the Democrat for voting in favor of a farm bill that included billions of dollars for special projects.

Asked about education, McCain went off topic and used the opportunity to lecture Obama again on leadership: "Listen and learn. Listen and learn. That's what great commanders do. That's what great leaders do. You listen and you learn."

McCain also had a ready response when pressed about rising health care costs: "It's another significant difference between myself and Senator Obama. I am not going to dictate that the government decide what your health care is going to be."

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Associated Press
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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