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Readers overwhelmingly picked "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it" as their selection for the 2013 Lie of the Year. The claim registered 59 percent of the votes; no other option reached double digits.
The reaction to President Barack Obama’s statement varied. His critics called it business as usual, while his supporters said they felt let down. Many said they expected more from a commander-in-chief, and that’s why they chose it. Others said they picked it because it was the most notable news story of 2013, even if other choices were more egregious misstatements.
Here’s a brief selection of the comments we received, edited for length and style.
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"‘If you like your health care, you can keep it,’ will go down in history as Obama’s ‘Read my lips,’ ‘I’ve never had sexual relations,’ and ‘I am not a crook.’ "
"Although I’m a supporter of the new health care law, it’s clear the president attempted to retroactively adjust what he in fact had said. That many lost their insurance was no surprise to me. Why? Because of the good work performed by PolitiFact; I knew what he was saying was only Half True."
"As a Dem, I must admit that Obama is the obvious winner. Source: I received a cancellation letter."
The winner "should be the one that was repeated long after it’s known to be not true. Therefore, I reluctantly vote for President Obama’s gross oversimplification. For those of us covered by the intersecting whims of employer-provided health insurance, it has never been true that if you like your health insurance, you will get to keep it."
"I think national health provisions were a long time coming, and I supported it through my vote in the 2012 election, but Obama’s statement about the health care overhaul turned out to be a big lie — and a big shot to the gut."
"You cannot have any lie greater than the president of the United States deliberately lying to the American people to get what he wants. And the fact that he continued to repeat it and repeat it and repeat it in the face of the truth was obvious and clearly demonstrated."
"I voted for ‘If you like your health care you can keep it’ because it was made by someone we should be able to trust as president and the fact that it was maintained in the face of so many contradictory statements in the video record. It has a certain Orwellian quality."
"Obama’s repeated lie about the (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) should win because of how big of an impact it’s having on people. It was one of the reasons I voted for him the first time, and among a mountain of reasons I no longer support him."
"What he should have said was ‘We didn’t think then that people would want to keep crappy insurance or that insurance companies would do mass cancellations of policies they could have renewed but not sold to customers.’ "
"I’m a Democrat. I voted for Obama twice. I supported the (Affordable Care Act). But saying ‘If you like your health care, you can keep it,’ and then trying to undo that lie with another lie, is egregiously stupid and insulting and deceitful. The pair, unfortunately, are definitely lies of the year."
"By lying about a fundamental aspect of the health care law, a massive piece of legislation and a re-election was achieved. This lie was so impactful to every citizen that it deserves the dubious honor of the biggest, fattest, gnarliest lie of 2013."
"The other nominees were doozies, but Obama gets the nod this year. Let’s hope that PolitiFact and other fact-checkers encourage our lawmakers and pundits to hold themselves to a higher standard in the coming year."
"We now have proof that when the president said that, he knew it was false. Pants gone, boxers now aflame."
"The fact that ‘If you like your health care, you can keep it,’ is even on here is just destroying your credibility. It’s going to win, but not because it’s a lie, because it was promoted the most in media and it’s the most recent. Anybody who thinks this was a lie doesn’t understand how grandfathering works. That is a misunderstanding at best and most of the fault for that misunderstanding falls on the people who interpreted wrong, not the sender. You’re even admitting that it was Half True initially."
"I voted for the Obamacare promise of keeping your current coverage because it is the only promise listed that I actually believed to be true after hearing it. I knew the rest were bovine excrement the second they came out of the speakers’ mouths."
"If you like your apology, you can keep it!"
"Obama's ‘If you like your health care,’ statement is the best example of how we lie these days: We oversimplify until it just isn't true."
2013 Lie of the Year Readers' Poll