Ellison: Obama Showed ‘Integrity’ By Apologizing to Those Who ‘Misunderstood’ Him on Obamacare


Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) did his best to spin President Obama's debunked promise about Americans keeping their health care plans if they liked them Sunday on This Week, saying Obama showed "integrity" in apologizing to Americans who "misunderstood" him about the Affordable Care Act.

Obama made some version of the promise publicly at least 36 times while campaigning for Obamacare and then after it was passed. With millions of cancellation policies being sent around the country and public support for the law crumbling, Obama apologized last month in an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd.

"He owned it," Ellison said. "He said, look man, if you misunderstood what I was trying to say, I'm sorry about that. I think that shows integrity. He didn't do anything to self-promote."

Ellison also misquoted the president as saying, "If you like your decent insurance that works, you can keep it." Obama never said that.

Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.) chuckled at Ellison's remarks before saying that Republicans had seen the cancellations coming since 2009, and documents showed the administration knew that tens of millions of people would lose their insurance as well as early as 2010.

Full exchange:

KEITH ELLISON: You know, I just want to say that I think that the everything the president said and did was in pursuit of trying to get all Americans health care, so I think even though he may have said, if you like your decent insurance, your insurance that works, then you can keep it, I think that people really get that. He owned it. He said, look man, if you misunderstood what I was trying to say, I'm sorry about that. I think that shows integrity. He didn't do anything to self-promote. What he was doing, he was trying to do to help Americans all over this country for decades —

TOM COLE: I'm going to disagree a little bit with Keith here. Look, we knew back in 2009, 2010, this was going to happen. The Congressional Budget Office put out studies about it, we made the points and we know now the administration had plenty of documents — millions of people were going to lose health care here. I think this does get to credibility as well as competence.

ELLISON: And also, these plans, these high-deductible, high-exclusion plans, they were not quality plans in many cases. In fact, they were for a small — they might work for someone who had a lot of money saved up but for other folks, they just didn't. There's a reason those premiums were low.

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