Drudge's Attempt To Hype Obama “Slavery” Comment Falls Flat

The Drudge Report falsely accused President Obama of playing the “slavery card” to promote the Affordable Care Act, ignoring that the president actually invoked that phrase to criticize inflammatory right-wing rhetoric against the health care law.

The Drudge Report linked to a Time magazine article on a recent speech Obama gave in support of the ACA under the headline, “T-Minus 4 Days: Obama Plays Slavery Card”:

 Drudge slavery card

But the Time post makes it clear that Obama was not invoking slavery in order to support the ACA, but was instead responding to the inflammatory rhetoric of the health care law's opponents:

Mocking Republicans for their escalating rhetoric on how dire the health care law will prove to be, Obama said one Republican's assertion that it was the worst law in the nation's history is an awfully tall order. “You had a state representative somewhere say that it's as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act,” the president said as the audience booed. “Think about that. Affordable health care is worse than a law that lets slaveowners get their runaway slaves back.”

And as The Wall Street Journal pointed out, Obama was right -- New Hampshire State Representative Bill O'Brien made the comparison at an anti-health care rally sponsored by Americans for Prosperity:

The man who charged Mr. Obama with creating a health-care system akin to slavery was Bill O'Brien, a representative in New Hampshire's state legislature and former speaker of the House. In August, Mr. O'Brien spoke at an Americans for Prosperity rally in New Hampshire and likened the Affordable Care Act to an 1850 pro-slavery federal law.

“What is Obamacare?” Mr. O'Brien said his remarks. “It is a law as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that allowed slave owners to come to New Hampshire and seize African Americans and use the federal courts to take them back to federal ... to slave states.”

Rep. O'Brien is not the only opponent of the health care law to invoke slavery. Right-wing media have regularly used similar rhetoric to attack the law, including Rush Limbaugh who, the day before Obama delivered his speech, claimed that the ACA may be the law of the land, but “so was slavery [at] one time.”