Barack Obama - Health Care talking points
In February of 2010, reports began to surface that the President's official campaign website "BarackObama.com" was advocating that supporters call talk radio shows and argue for the President's plan for Health Care. Accusations were also made that the website supplied talking points and asked the callers to use them in conversation with hosts if their calls went through.
The screen capture below from radio/BarackObama.com shows that the President's official campaign website not only asks supporters to call and supplies talking points, but it also provides users with internet connections to radio shows and provides them a place to call in and "report" their calling experience.
If the user is not able to get through to the first show provided, they can cycle through the shows. A quick cycling through the shows finds that they show list is dominated by conservative talkers ranging from Sean Hannity to Rush Limbaugh to Focus on the Family. I submitted a "report" on a call, and a banner near the top of the screen asked "Why not call another show?"
The controversy surrounding the website comes from three questions:
- The President and his supporters openly label opposition of health care reform as "astroturf" movements (fake grassroots). If the President's support is so broad reaching and deep, why does the administration need to prompt callers to make calls and use scripts?
- Why is the President using his campaign website to gather support for legislation? Shouldn't WhiteHouse.gov be used to make the case for such things?
- Is it moral for the President of the United States to run an official program that targets conservative talk radio in an effort to make support for his program seem more diverse and widespread? If the arguments in favor of the President's plan are so formidable, they should be able to convince people without the use of political tricks.