An interesting development resulting from President Obama’s health-care speech to Congress last night has been the controversy over Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R- SC) outburst accusing Obama of a lie. Here is the clip:
The congressman has since apologized for the rude outburst, and Obama has accepted his apology. Interestingly, Obama noted the following after accepting Wilson’s apology:
I do think that, as I said last night, we have to get to the point where we can have a conversation about big, important issues that matter to the American people without vitriol, without name-calling, without the assumption of the worst of other people’s motives [emphasis added]
But in his own speech last night, shortly before Wilson’s outburst, Obama said the following of critics of the health-care reform proposals:
Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost [emphasis added]. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple [emphasis added].
So Obama thinks we should get away from “vitriol,” “name-calling” and assuming “the worst of other people’s motives,” but, in a prepared speech, he called critics liars and questioned their motives. Way to stay consistent!
The truth is that there are a lot of distortions and hyperbole on both sides of this debate. Speaking of distortions, several organizations have already fact-checked the speech. Two good examples of this are the Heritage Foundation and the Associated Press.