"The irony is that, actually, one of the chief sponsors of this bill originally was a Republican ... who very sensibly thought this is something that would expand people's options," the president told a crowd filled with senior citizens. "The intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information, so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care, when they're ready, on their own terms. It wasn't forcing anybody to do anything. This is, I guess, where the rumor came from."
But the president made misstatements of his own. He touted an endorsement for health care overhaul legislation by the AARP, though the organization countered that claim, saying it has not yet endorsed any bills on the table in Congress.
Gaining the support of seniors could be an important tool in getting back the original message.
"If you lose seniors, you lose the health care debate," Dowd told "GMA."
The president is expected to continue his fact checking mission in more town hall meetings this week, but whether that calms the frenzy remains to be seen.
Dowd said the administration, rather than getting entangled into the heated debate, needs to focus on what the public wants to hear.
"They have to quickly correct the misstatements but they gotta get back on the big broader message that the public buys into," he said.
ABC News' Rachel Martin contributed to this report.