Obama's nose grows another couple of inches

Remember when Obama faced the cameras and told us that he had just talked to the Caterpillar Corporation president who promised him he was going to hire back thousands of workers once the stimulus bill was passed?

Of course, it turns out that was a bald faced lie when the business executive admitted that he had no intention of hiring anyone back on for the foreseeable future.

Flash forward to this week when Obama invited 6 major health care trade groups to the White House and said the following:

"These groups are voluntarily coming together to make an unprecedented commitment," Mr. Obama said. "Over the next 10 years, from 2010 to 2019, they are pledging to cut the rate of growth of national health care spending by 1.5 percentage points each year - an amount that's equal to over $2 trillion."

In the immortal words of Independence Day's Secretary of Defense Albert Nimzicki, "That's not entirely accurate," as Robert Pear of the New York Time s reports:

Health care leaders who attended the meeting have a different interpretation. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not pledge specific year-by-year cuts.

"There's been a lot of misunderstanding that has caused a lot of consternation among our members," said Richard J. Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association. "I've spent the better part of the last three days trying to deal with it."

Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said "the president misspoke" on Monday and again on Wednesday when he described the industry's commitment in similar terms. After providing that account, Ms. DeParle called back about an hour later on Thursday and said: "I don't think the president misspoke. His remarks correctly and accurately described the industry's commitment."

The Washington office of the American Hospital Association sent a bulletin to its state and local affiliates to "clarify several points" about the White House meeting.

In the bulletin, Richard J. Pollack, the executive vice president of the hospital association, said: "The A.H.A. did not commit to support the ‘Obama health plan' or budget. No such reform plan exists at this time."

Pollack also wrote, "The groups did not support reducing the rate of health spending by 1.5 percentage points annually."

That quote from the White House flunky was priceless. From "the president misspoke" to his words were "correct and accurate." I wonder who screamed at her to get her to change her statement?

This is a president, mind you, who promised to "listen" to the people and not dictate to them. Either he needs a hearing aid or he's just making stuff up as he goes along.

I'll take the latter explanation.