Shortly after the New York Times broke the story yesterday that a so-called “grand bargain” (which if reports are accurate is neither grand nor much of a bargain) had been reached between President Obama and Speaker Boehner, White House spokesmen immediately sprang into action. Press Secretary Jay Carney said “there is no deal, we’re not close to a deal” and Dan Pfeiffer tweeted:
“Anyone reporting a $3 trillion deal without revenues is incorrect. POTUS believes we need a balanced approach that includes revenues.”
The Times account may or may not be true, we shall see in the next few days I suspect, but reading a post at AMERICAblog this morning reminded me of previous occasions when the White House kinda sorta fudged a bit on the truth, to be generous.
Like when the same Dan Pfeiffer said in October of 2009 that the rumors about President Obama abandoning the public option as part of health care reform were “absolutely false” and that:
“In his September 9th address to Congress, President Obama made clear that he supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition. That continues to be the President’s position.”
It was later revealed that in July the president had made a secret deal with hospital lobbyists that a public option would not be included in the final legislation. In March of 2010 Paul Hogarth at Huffington Post wrote:
“In other words, while Obama was still saying in September that he supports the public option (which kept us hopeful) – the President knew all along that it would never make it in the final bill. He never said he’d fight to include the public option, and repeatedly said he was “open” to other ways to achieve the same goal. But little did we know, the fix was in.”
I also recall that there was a similar situation with the pharmaceutical industry. The president continued to voice support for drug importation after another secret deal had already been cut with lobbyists that it wouldn’t be in the final legislation either.