PolitiFact attempts to downplay “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” falsehood even while dubbing it ‘Lie of the Year’

Barack Obama pouting sad

President Barack Obama’s “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” promise has been rightfully dubbed PolitiFact’s ‘Lie of the Year’ for 2013 — but that didn’t stop the fact-checkers from attempting to downplay the falsehood.

On Thursday afternoon, the fact-checking arm of the Tampa Bay Times announced that the President’s oft-repeated statement has been given the annual (dis)honor. But PolitiFact then went on to seemingly defend the administration, saying “the promise was impossible to keep” instead of an outright lie.

“The debate about the health care law rages on, but friends and foes of Obamacare have found one slice of common ground: The president’s ‘you can keep it’ claim has been a real hit to his credibility,” the website noted.

In its justification for the ‘Lie of the Year’ award, PolitiFact stopped short of calling out the administration for making false claims, instead referring to the President’s now-famous lie as “breezy assurances,” “oversimplifications” and “too sweeping.”

The website went on to point out how the grandfathering of old health care plans under Obamacare was restricted, something that Obama and his administration knew the entire time they tried to market the cancellations as the fault of insurance companies. PolitiFact also noted that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had acknowledged back in 2010 that some people would not be able to keep their insurance — even as Obama campaigned on that claim in 2012.

In both 2009 and 2012, the website gave the President’s ‘if you like it, you can keep it’ assertions “half-true” ratings.

But in its “Lie of the Year” designation, PolitiFact still claimed the President was simply using “a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system” — instead of outright lying to achieve his political ends.