“If you like your plan, you’ll be able to keep it.”–President Obama, July 21, 2009

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, like national media, focused on that remark, among other similar ones by the president, in questioning the honesty of the White House in peddling health-care reform. Stewart had particular fun with another formulation from the president: “If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.” That was from June 15, 2009, and has left the president little wiggle room as he’s tried over the past week to square such pronouncements with news that insurance companies are kicking hundreds of thousands of people off of their plans.

As Obama said last month, “If you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really liked that plan, what we said was you could keep it, if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

“No, no, no, no, no,” rejoined Stewart. “What you said was you can keep it, period. Now what you said there was you can keep your health-care plan, ellipses . . . ”

So did the president lie? Prevaricate? Fib? Stewart ruled that he was “somewhat dishonest.”

And “somewhat dishonest” isn’t nearly as bad as the record of Obamacare’s opponents, whom Stewart accused of spreading lies. His video medley of willful distortions featured three widely refuted clips from Fox News. Why, the host wondered, is anyone distorting the pitfalls of Obamacare? “If something is genuinely bad, just telling the truth about it should be sufficient,” he said.