How Anthony Weiner Coined The Term ‘Obamacare’

In a lengthy New York Times profile published Thursday, former New York City congressman and current mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner raised eyebrows for a line in which he was quoted taking credit coining the phrase “Obamacare” to describe President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform plan. In the story, Weiner described Obamacare as “a term, by the way, that I coined.”

However, as the Atlantic Wire noted in 2011, a search of LexisNexis shows the phrase “Obamacare” first appeared in early 2007 in press coverage and commentary on the 2008 presidential election. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney became the first politician quoted using the term when he gave a campaign speech criticizing Obama in September 2011.

Barbara Morgan, a spokeswoman for Weiner’s mayoral campaign, told TPM his comments were taken out of context and were meant to indicate Weiner was the first Democrat who reclaimed the phrase “Obamacare” and put it in a positive light.

“The New York Times has – and has always had — the full context and meaning he was trying to convey. Up till then, the right had used the term as a pejorative. He realized that running from the term was a mistake and eventually so did the White House and the Obama campaign,” Morgan said.

President Obama’s aides and supporters began using the term “Obamacare” early last year.

Morgan also provided what she said was Weiner’s full quote from the interview with the Times: “Obamacare — a term by the way that I coined and used proudly long before the administration decided it was a good idea. And I got yelled at by the White House for using it and then they eventually reached the place where they used it.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com
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