The most memorable moment from President Obama's long speech on the problems with Healthcare.gov happened when a pregnant woman in a red dress nearly fainted in front of the entire country. The White House has identified that woman as Karmel Allison, a computational biologist from San Diego. "This happens when I talk too long," Obama said as the people standing around her moved to help her. Allison was escorted off the stage and walked away as the audience applauded her. She also took to Twitter to let everyone know she was okay:
I'm ok world- just got a little lightheaded.Thanks, @BarackObama for catching me! And good thing this pregnant diabetic is pregnant :)— Karmel Allison (@karmel_a) October 21, 2013
Later on in the day she told CNN that, in addition to being 20 weeks pregnant, she hadn't had any water. Allison, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a child, stood behind Obama along with several other potential beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act. According to a statement released by the White House:
Karmel Allison was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was nine years old. She has stayed on the same insurance ever since, despite constantly rising costs, for fear she would not be able to find a plan that would cover her due to her pre-existing condition. Allison recently began researching her options on CoveredCA and has publicly described her experience as finally feeling equal to others, including her young and healthy husband, when it comes to access to coverage.
While Obama didn't actually catch the woman, several people, including her husband, are painting it that way. "@BarackObama thank you so much for catching my wife, @karmel_a when she fainted on stage," David Allison tweeted.
So, of course, the truthers and trolls have come up with their own interpretations. As America Blog notes, commenters around the internet have insisted that Allison is a plant, something her husband has already addressed.
Meanwhile the "top conservatives on twitter" are on the case, with jokes:
Jim Geraghty of the conservative National Review also saw the symbolism in all of this:
AMERICANS CAN'T STAND FOR OBAMA'S LATEST REMARKS ON OBAMACARE— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) October 21, 2013
But some just genuinely doubt Allison's credibility:
LMAOFF STAGED!!!! hope that helped your F'n EGO http://t.co/ZixYErGmdI tell us HOW you know she silently was fainting BS!!!!!!!!— Linda (@Linnlondon1) October 21, 2013
Man! I loved the fainting woman at St. Obama's Rose Garden ScamCare Speech today. That was classic. Beyond fake. You have got to YouTube it!— Millsy (@MillsTheKodiak) October 21, 2013
The Skepticism isn't just limited to conservatives. Comedian David Rubin of the Rubin Report wondered why someone tapped Allison on the shoulder before she stumbled:
Conspiracy Fun: The woman fainting behind Obama today does kinda seem fake. Why did lady to her right tap her? http://t.co/osgWohVxA1— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) October 21, 2013
Then again, it may just be that, as a pregnant diabetic, who stood all through the president's speech, she was getting a little light headed. Here's the video:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.