This is what Obama said:
Over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren’t paid for, as a consequence of tax cuts that weren’t paid for, a prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Now we took some emergency actions, but that accounts for about 10 percent of this increase in the deficit, and we have actually seen the federal government grow at a slower pace than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, substantially lower than the federal government grew under either Ronald Reagan or George Bush.
Taxes are lower on families than they’ve been probably in the last 50 years. So I haven’t raised taxes.
OK, so he lied and misstated the truth yet again. But on this occasion he has been taken up by The Washington Post fact checker in chief who has awarded Obama the coveted Four Pinocchios. When it comes to Obama, he could retire with the trophy, but for the WP to take this on, it is near on unprecedented, specially six weeks out from the election. There is some kind of signalling going on here, and who knows, they may even wish to be on the good side of the incoming president. Here is the summation but there is a lot more that comes before:
We are not trying to make excuses for the fiscal excesses of the Bush administration — and Congress — in the last decade. But at some point, a president has to take ownership of his own actions.
Obama certainly inherited an economic mess, and that accounts for a large part of the deficit. But Obama pushed for spending increases and tax cuts that also have contributed in important ways to the nation’s fiscal deterioration. He certainly could argue that these were necessary and important steps to take, but he can’t blithely suggest that 90 percent of the current deficit “is as a consequence” of his predecessor’s policies — and not his own.
As for the citing of the discredited MarketWatch column, we have repeatedly urged the administration to rely on estimates from official government agencies, such as the White House budget office. It is astonishing to see the president repeat this faulty claim once again, as if it were an established fact.
A critique of that same fact checker is also found here written by March Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute. He had pointed out that Obama had not attended his intelligence meetings but was taken on by the fact checker in the days he worked only to defend Obama. Thiessen therefore responded with this as his conclusion.
Perhaps Obama does not feel he needs such daily interaction. But the fact that he has not been having it is indisputable. (Though, interestingly, since my columns appeared, Obama attended his PDB meeting seven days in a row for the first time in seven months. If live briefings are no better than paper briefings, why has Obama suddenly begun receiving briefings in-person?)
It is a fact that for eight years before Obama took office, there was a daily meeting to discuss the PDB. And it is a fact that, on taking office, Obama stopped holding the daily intelligence meeting on a daily basis. Kessler may not think that is important, and he is entitled to his own opinion — but not his own facts.
I give Four Pinocchios to the Fact Checker.
As they used to say in Roman times, who will check the checker?