This year’s biggest political lie is the phrase “a government takeover of health care,” holds the nonpartisan fact-checking group Politifact. The term "government takeover" was suggested by a GOP strategist, who called on Republican leaders to use it to refer to health care reform—and use it they did: 90 times on John Boehner’s website, for example, and 200 times on the RNC site. Politifact editors and readers both chose the phrase as the lie of the year.
The lie was key to public opinion and helped drive Democrats’ midterm “shellacking,” write Bill Adair and Angie Drobnic Holan, noting that they’re not assessing policy: “The phrase is simply not true.” While health reform does boost “government regulation of health insurers,” they write, “it is, at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market.” Slate, the New York Times, and FactCheck.org agree, they note. Click to see what Politifact deemed the biggest lie of 2009.