Where did he go, again?

The other day a friend of mine and I were discussing Ronald Reagan’s famous line “There you go again” to Jimmy Carter in their 1980 debate.  Specifically, that neither of us knew what the context of the famous line was.  So, naturally, we had to find out:

The topic at hand was health insurance, which goes to show you how long the nation has been dealing with that issue. But listen to the rest of Reagan’s response. Reagan says that he supported some other piece of legislation instead of Medicare.  I wondered what might have been, and trying to find out, all I came across was this from Wikipedia:

When [Reagan’s opposition to Medicare] arose in a televised debate in late October, Reagan responded: “When I opposed Medicare, there was another piece of legislation meeting the same problem before Congress. I happened to favor the other piece of legislation and thought it would be better for the senior citizens. … I was not opposing the principle of providing care for them…” Carter’s campaign accused Reagan of “rewriting history”, saying that there was no such alternative legislation

This sort of thing irritates me.  It is a simple “yes” or “no” question: was there, or was there not, an alternative piece of legislation?  It’s not a matter of “Reagan said” vs. “Carter said”.  I would have thought that people could manage to properly fact-check a debate after 33 years.

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