Judicial Watch Obtains Documents from Obama Administration Detailing Actor Andy Griffith’s “Misleading” Medicare Advertisements
DECEMBER 01, 2010
Documents Detail Meetings with Union Officials, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Obamacare Czar Nancy-Ann Min DeParle
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents from the Obama Department of Health and Human Services regarding a series of three Medicare television advertisements featuring actor Andy Griffith, which were deemed misleading by a number of press outlets, including the nonpartisan FactCheck.org. The Obama Administration spent $3,184,000 in taxpayer funds to produce and air the advertisements on national television in September and October of 2010 to educate “Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, and family members about forthcoming changes to Medicare as a result of the Affordable Care Act.” According to the documents released to Judicial Watch:
“Mr. Griffith is featured in three Medicare television ads and provided his services to the government at no charge pursuant to a gratuitous services agreement. These three spots, ‘1965,’ ‘Music to My Ears,’ and ‘Cozy Chair,’ are only airing in September and October 2010. The production for the three advertisements cost $404,000; the total amount budgeted for the national media placement is $2.78 million, which breaks down per ad to $754,000 (‘1965’), $1,112,000 (‘Music to My Ears’), and $1,390,000 (‘Cozy Chair’).”
In press statements touting the new Griffith advertising program the Obama White House described its purpose: “The Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] will strengthen the health care system for all Americans, but senior citizens in particular stand to benefit from the new law. And the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is getting a little help delivering the good news from a well-known TV star: Andy Griffith.” However, according to FactCheck.org, a project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, the advertisements intentionally misinform the American people:
“Would the sheriff of Mayberry mislead you about Medicare? Alas, yes. In a new TV spot from the Obama administration, actor Andy Griffith, famous for his 1960s portrayal of the top law enforcement official in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C., touts benefits of the new health care law. Griffith tells his fellow senior citizens, ‘like always, we’ll have our guaranteed [Medicare] benefits.’ But the truth is that the new [Obamacare] law is guaranteed to result in benefit cuts for one class of Medicare beneficiaries — those in private Medicare Advantage plans.”
The new documents show the public relations firm Porter Novelli produced the advertising campaign. One of these documents lists the Porter Novelli staff involved in producing the advertisements and details that former Obama campaign spokesperson Catherine “Kiki” McLean contributed 21 hours of her time to the project. Porter Novelli’s website notes McLean served as a “senior adviser to the Hillary Clinton for President campaign and appeared as an on-air surrogate for the Obama for America campaign.” She is currently the Senior Partner, Global Head of Public Affairs, and Managing Director for Porter Novelli.
“Taxpayers don’t want their money wasted on propaganda for Obamacare. And it is a scandal that an Obama insider is involved in the contract for these misleading ads,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Taxpayers and Congress should be upset the Obama administration wastes millions of taxpayer dollars on this propaganda campaign at a time when the government desperately needs to tighten its belt. Even Barney Fife would see that these Obamacare ads are bogus.”
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