Steele Attempts To Rewrite History, Says "The People Of This Country" Started Death Panel Rumor

August 24, 2009 3:46 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

In early August, former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) stirred up the health care debate when she introduced the phrase "death panel" into the national consciousness.  But, in an appearance today on ABC's "Good Morning America," RNC Chairman Michael Steele did his best to rewrite history. "No one's talked about death panels as a scare tactic. You've got to understand the context of that term came from the people of this country," he said. "There wasn't someone sitting in a shop making it up." Watch it:

Palin, of course, can't be credited with inventing the concept of death panels all by herself.  She was inspired by a fantasy made popular by professional liar Betsy McCaughey, who claimed that the House health care bill "would make it mandatory -- absolutely require -- that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner." Despite earning a "pants on fire" rating from the nonpartisan, McCaughey's claim was embraced by a slew of Republicans, including Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and the RNC. 

Steele was appearing to promote the GOP's "Seniors' Health Care Bill of Rights," the hypocrisy of which has been noted here, here, here, here, and even here