Home > Uncategorized > The O’Reilly interview: Obama’s spin and false claims on healthcare rulings, raising taxes, and more

The O’Reilly interview: Obama’s spin and false claims on healthcare rulings, raising taxes, and more

February 9, 2011

The O’Reilly – Obama Interview: Bill wanting the truth, Barack not giving it.

Here’s a few of the claims Obama was fact checked on:

  • He said he “didn’t raise taxes once,” which is outright false.
  • He also said he “lowered taxes over the last two years,” which is only partially true.
  • He said 12 judges had dismissed the health care challenge on constitutional grounds, which is also outright false.
  • He also denied Absolutely that he is a determined man of the left whose goal is to redistribute much larger levels of income across society, yet policy after policy and action after action determines this to be Absolutely untrue.

As for O’Reilly, he took some criticism for asking Obama the question about being “hated” by people, as some liberal pundits accused him of singling him out, however O’Reilly asked the very same question of Bush. O’Reilly was also questioned as to the validity of his statement about polls showing a majority of people opposed to the health care law. Although one can argue that polls very, and certainly some polls regard the whole bill while others regard certain issues, there is no question that overall there’s more negative opinion than positive.

“didn’t raise taxes once.”

O’Reilly asked President Barack Obama to react to a Wall Street Journal editorial that accused Obama of being “a determined man of the left whose goal is to redistribute much larger levels of income across society.”

“Do you deny that you are a man who wants to redistribute wealth?” O’Reilly asked.

Obama first noted the conservatism of the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial page, then denied the charge “absolutely.”

“I didn’t raise taxes once. I lowered taxes over the last two years,” Obama said.

The idea that Obama did not raise taxes is just plain wrong. He signed legislation raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products soon after taking office which went into effect in 2009. He also signed the health care law, which includes taxes on indoor tanning that went into effect last year.

The new health care law also includes a tax on people who decide not to have health insurance, as an incentive for them to get coverage. There is the 1099 provision on businesses. The health care law includes new taxes on the wealthy, starting in 2013. Individuals who make more than $200,000 and couples that make more than $250,000 will see additional Medicare taxes of 0.9 percent. Also, for the first time, Medicare taxes will be accessed on their investment income at a 3.8 percent rate. (Current law is that all workers and employers split a 2.9 percent Medicare tax; the self-employed pay all of it.)

Those taxes are expected to generate $210 billion over 10 years, or just over half of all the new revenues the health care law authorizes. Other provisions include new fees (aka Taxes) on health insurance companies and prescription drug manufacturers, and a new tax on high-cost “Cadillac” health insurance plans.

We should note that Obama had planned to raise income taxes as well. His plans were thwarted however by the November elections and he had to reach a compromise brokered with Republicans at the end of 2010. As a result income tax rates are staying the same for people of all incomes, and in addition a 2 percent reduction in payroll taxes was enacted for all workers.

says 12 judges have rejected “the notion that the health care law was unconstitutional”

Ever since a federal judge in Florida ruled the health care law unconstitutional (as did a Virgina judge previously), the White House has tried to spin this as the opinion of an activist judge, and has even gone so far as to deftly try to redefine the known definition of what constitutes an “activist judge”. Other judges have come to a different conclusion, so the Obama argument goes, and that’s the direction he took in the interview.

In response to O’Reilly, who asked about the recent Florida ruling: “Well, I think the judge in Florida was wrong,” Obama said. “Keep in mind that we’ve had 12 judges said — that just threw this case out — the notion that the health care law was unconstitutional.”

Obama’s point was clear: The Florida case got the headlines, but courts are still overwhelmingly ruling with Obama on the key question of constitutionality.

The White House backups up their claim with a list of 12 dismissed cases (see below). The White House is correct they were dismissed, but they were dismissed for procedural reasons, often because the judges concluded the plaintiffs either lacked proper standing or jurisdiction to bring the lawsuit.

The judges did not opine on the merits of these cases, such as whether the law is constitutional. They dismissed the cases for a variety of reasons: in some, the argument was that the plaintiff’s lacked standing because the individual mandate portion of the law (which requires people to have health insurance) had not yet kicked in. In other cases, the judges said the plaintiffs lacked standing because they did not establish that they would be injured by the law.

Besides the judges who dismissed 12 cases on procedural grounds, four judges have ruled on the merits of various cases challenging the health care law. Two ruled in favor of the administration and two against:

Thomas Moore Law Center vs. Barack Hussein Obama

On Oct. 7, 2010, U.S. District Judge George Steeh, a Bill Clinton appointee to the Eastern District of Michigan, ruled that Congress can impose the individual mandate portion of the health care law under a Commerce Clause argument.

Liberty University vs. Timothy Geithner

Nov. 30, 2010, in the Western District of Virginia, U.S. District Judge Norman Moon, another Clinton appointee, also ruled the law constitutional under the Commerce Clause.

So these two decisions went Obama’s way. But the next two did not.

Commonwealth of Virgina vs. Kathleen Sebelius

Dec. 13, 2010, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, a President George W. Bush appointee, wrote that “despite laudable intentions of Congress in enacting a comprehensive transformative health care regime, the legislative process must still operate within constitutional bounds.” “Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market,” Hudson wrote. “In doing so, the enactment of the Minimum Essential Coverage provision exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I.”

State of Florida vs. United States Department of Health and Human Services

Jan. 31., 2011, This ruling made the biggest headlines, unavoidably so as it is the most significant. In a case brought by 26 states challenging the health care law, Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of Pensacola, Fla., a Ronald Reagan appointee, issued a sweeping ruling, that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and so entwined with the rest of the law that the entire thing should be thrown out ,specifically due to be written without a “severability clause”.

“In the final analysis, this Act has been analogized to a finely crafted watch, and that seems to fit. It has approximately 450 separate pieces, but one essential piece (the individual mandate) is defective and must be removed,” Vinson wrote. “It cannot function as originally designed. There are simply too many moving parts in the Act and too many provisions dependent (directly and indirectly) on the individual mandate and other health insurance provisions — which, as noted, were the chief engines that drove the entire legislative effort — for me to try and dissect out the proper from the improper, and the able-to-stand-alone from the unable-to-stand-alone. Such a quasi-legislative undertaking would be particularly inappropriate in light of the fact that any statute that might conceivably be left over after this analysis is complete would plainly not serve Congress’ main purpose and primary objective in passing the Act. The statute is, after all, called “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” not “The Abstinence Education and Bone Marrow Density Testing Act.” The Act, like a defectively designed watch, needs to be redesigned and reconstructed by the watchmaker.”

There are other cases pending, as well as appeals on nearly all of the cases. Here’s the score so far:

  • 12 cases dismissed for procedural reasons
  • 2 cases in favor of the Obama administration on the merits (both judges had been appointed by Democrats)
  • 2 cases against the Obama administration on the merits (both judges had been appointed by Republicans)

All sides agree that the issue will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.

Back to Obama’s statement; The president’s statement “very clearly implies the judges have said it’s not unconstitutional,” said legal commentator Stuart Taylor Jr. “This is highly misleading White House spin. A ruling on standing is never a ruling on whether the underlying law is constitutional or not.”

Avram Goldstein, a spokesman for Health Care for America Now, a group lobbying in support of Obama, said The judges in the 12 cases listed by the White House may not have weighed in on the constitutionality issue, but if a judge throws it out for procedural reasons, you still lost. Kate Bedingfield, a spokeswoman for the White House, made a similar argument, saying
“Twelve lawsuits challenging the law’s constitutionality have been dismissed, that’s a fact, and that is the point the president was making”, however she ignores the fact that Obama said that the 12 judges dismissed the cases because they disagreed with the claim that the health care law was unconstitutional. Again, they did not. as they were because of procedural grounds.
The 12 Cases Cited by the White House:

Archer v. U.S. Senate, dismissed April 12, 2010

Baldwin v. Sebelius, dismissed Aug. 27, 2010 

Burlsworth v. Holder, dismissed on Sept. 8, 29/8

Coalition for Parity Inc. v. Sebelius, dismissed on June 21, 2010

Fountain Hills Tea Party Patriots v. Sebelius,  dismissed June 2, 2010

Mackenzie v. Shaheen (NH) – dismissed May 26, 2010

New Jersey Physicians v. Obama, dismissed Dec. 8, 2010

Schreeve v. Obama, dismissed Nov. 4. 2010

Sollars v. Reid, dismissed April 2, 2010

Taitz v. Obama, dismissed April 14, 2010

U.S. Citizens Association v. OMB, dismissed 8/2

Bryant v. Holder, dismissed Feb. 3, 2011


Politics Daily, Transcript of President Obama’s Super Bowl Interview with Bill O’Reilly, July 6, 2011

The Kaiser Family Foundation, Summary of new health reform law, accessed Feb. 7, 2011

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