In a conference call with liberal and progressive religious leaders Wednesday afternoon, President Obama railed against those who were “bearing false witness” in the debate over health care reform.
“I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness, but I want everyone to know what health insurance reform is all about,” the president said.
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor,” is, of course, one of the Ten Commandments. (It’s the 9th Commandment in all religions except for the Catholic and Lutheran traditions, in which it’s the 8th.)
Mr. Obama pointed the finger at unnamed sources for the “distortion(s)” “fabrications” and “ludicrous ideas” in the debate over health care reform and rebutted specific “divisive and deceptive attacks.”
The president said the bill would not provide health insurance for illegal immigrants, or as he called them, “illegal aliens.” “That's not true. There's a specific provision in the bill that does not provide health insurance for those individuals.”
“You've heard that this is a government takeover of health care,” the president said. “That's not true. You've heard that this is all going to…mean government funding of abortion. Not true.”
Mr. Obama said these claims were “fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation, and that is that we look out for one another, that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper, and in the wealthiest nation on Earth right now, we are neglecting to live up to that call.”
Mr. Obama called on the religious leaders to help him share the good word about health care reform and set the record straight.
“I need you to knock on doors, talk to your neighbors. I need you to spread the facts and speak the truth,” he said.
-Jake Tapper and Karen Travers