From Sam Stein at THE HUFFINGTON POST:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee doubled down Sunday on controversial remarks he made last week, in which he declared that Ted Kennedy would have been told to go home and die under ObamaCare.
“What did I say that wasn’t true?” asked the one-time presidential candidate on his Fox News show “Huckabee.”
Huckabee accused “George Stephanopoulos, Time Magazine, the Huffington Post, and scores of liberal bloggers,” of going “berserk” over his suggestion that Kennedy would have been told to take a pain pill for his brain cancer.
“I pointed out that when Senator Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal cancer he chose to fight with all that was within him and to do that for life, instead of choosing the pain pill that President Obama spoke of,” said Huckabee.
These latest remarks seem likely to further stir the debate over which side of the political aisle is attempting to reap the greatest political gain from Kennedy’s death. Earlier in his Sunday show, the former governor accused Democrats of trying to “capitalize on [Kennedy’s passing] with calls for hurriedly enacting government run health care as a tribute to him.”
As for Huckabee’s question regarding what he said that wasn’t true, the fact-checking organization, Politifact, tackled the supposed “pain pill” charge when Rep. Dan Lungren, (R-Cali.) jumped on it in late July.
We went to the transcript of the event and found that Lungren is distorting Obama’s words. While Obama did bring up the example of patients and their families possibly having to choose between a pill and a pacemaker at some point, he did it as a hypothetical example while emphasizing that the government’s role should be to provide background information so that patients and doctors can better sort through thorny, end-of-life issues.
Looking at the full transcript, it’s clear that Obama voluntarily brought up the example of having to choose between a surgery and a pill. But he did so as a hypothetical example of difficult decisions about medical treatment for older patients. He was not advocating, much less requiring, bureaucrats to make a potentially life-ending decision for a centenarian.
“I don’t want bureaucracies making those decisions,” Obama said.
From THINK PROGRESS:
Today, in an attempt to criticize Democrats for using Ted Kennedy’s legacy to pass health care reform, Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK) argued during a radio segment on ABC Radio Networks that Kennedy would have died sooner under health care reform:
[…] when Sen. Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at 77, did he give up on life and go home to take pain pills and die? Of course not. He freely did what most of us would do. He choose an expensive operation and painful follow up treatments.
Piggy-backing off of Sarah Palin’s claim that health care reform would establish “death panels,” Republicans have launched a coordinated campaign to scare seniors. This week, the effort found Republicans in the rather awkward stance of defending Medicare while simultaneously arguing that the program is “a very good example of what we should not have happen with all of our health care.” Huckabee’s contention is even more baffling. Following Huckabee’s argument to its logical conclusion would suggest that Kennedy fought cancer in order to strip other older Americans of the ability to vigorously fight the disease.
(Audio at Think Progress link)