What Fox Won't Tell You About The Slavery Card

Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt dishonestly accused President Obama of invoking slavery in a “blistering attack” against Republicans, ignoring that Obama was actually responding to the inflammatory rhetoric of Affordable Care Act opponents.

On America Live, Stirewalt claimed the president “went out in a blistering attack speech, invoking the Fugitive Slave Act and other things against Republicans yesterday,” referring to a September 26 speech Obama gave in support of the health care law. 

Later on America Live, Fox News host and media analyst Howard Kurtz similarly said, “In today's media-filled, media-centric world, it almost seems like you've got to ratchet up and talk about terrorism or Nazis or the Slave Act, as the president referenced in his speech in Maryland yesterday, in order to break through.” This comes on the heels of the Drudge Report falsely accusing Obama of playing the “slavery card” to promote the law.

But as Time reported, Obama's remarks were in response to the inflammatory rhetoric of the health care law's detractors:

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 slave owners [space added] get their runaway slaves back.”

Obama was indeed correct -- Bill O'Brien, a Republican representative in New Hampshire's state legislature, compared the law to the Fugitive Slave Act during an Americans for Prosperity rally in August, as reported [space added] by The Wall Street Journal:

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.”

Conservative media personalities, including Rush Limbaugh, have repeatedly invoked slavery to attack the health care law.