Weiner Explains He Didn’t Invent the Term ‘Obamacare,’ He Just Reclaimed It

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Anthony Weiner (C) speaks to the media after courting voters outside a Harlem subway station a day after announcing he will enter the New York mayoral race on May 23, 2013 in New York City. Weiner is joining the Democratic race to succeed three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg after he was forced to resign from Congress in 2011 following the revelation of sexually explicit online behavior.  NEW YORK, NY - MAY 23:  Anthony Weiner (C) speaks to the media after courting voters outside a Harlem subway station a day after announcing he will enter the New York mayoral race on May 23, 2013 in New York City. Weiner is joining the Democratic race to succeed three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg after he was forced to resign from Congress in 2011 following the revelation of sexually explicit online behavior.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images2013 Getty Images

Anthony Weiner would probably like to challenge most of the New York Times' scathing article on his time in Congress, but his campaign is starting with his amusing but relatively innocuous claim that he coined the term "Obamacare." The Times wrote, "Mr. Weiner gave in, and went on to fight for Obamacare — 'a term, by the way, that I coined,' he said." While many have claimed credit for the term, The Atlantic Wire determined years ago that a lobbyist invented it, and Mitt Romney was the first to use it derisively. Now a spokesman for Weiner clarifies that he was merely saying he was the first Democrat to embrace the term, and the Times knew exactly what he meant.

Weiner campaign spokeswoman Barbara Morgan tells Talking Points Memo that this is the full statement Weiner gave 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."

"The New York Times has — and has always had — the full context and meaning he was trying to convey," says Morgan, adding, "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."

On Thursday evening the Times posted its own article clarifying Weiner's Obamacare claim, which includes the rest of his quote and a statement from Morgan. It does not, however, reference her suggestion that the Times purposely made Weiner sound more ridiculous.