Rush Limbaugh dismissed remarks by President Obama that the economy was shrinking at a rapid pace just prior to his first inauguration, continuing his campaign of whitewashing the economic record under President Bush.
On September 16, President Obama delivered an address to mark the fifth anniversary of the onset of the financial crisis. During his speech, Obama remarked that by the time he took office, the economy was shrinking at an annual rate of more than 8 percent.
Reacting to the speech on his radio show, Limbaugh dismissed the idea that the economy was contracting at such a great rate, suggesting that Obama was distorting economic history to make the lead up to his presidency seem worse than reality.
LIMBAUGH: Now, I don't know about the economy shrinking by an annual rate of more than 8 percent. That, that, folks we wouldn't be talking recession if that were happening. If that had been happening, I mean that, there's no way. Annual rate of more than 8 percent? That, my gosh we'd have had soup kitchens, soup lines, there's just no way.
Limbaugh is correct that the economy contracting at an annual rate of 8 percent would be devastating, but is wrong to suggest that it never happened.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in the fourth quarter of 2008 -- just prior to Obama's first term inauguration -- the economy contracted at an annualized rate of 8.3 percent.
Indeed, the economy was greatly troubled just prior to Obama's first term. The unemployment rate was steadily rising, and job losses totaled in the hundreds of thousands every month at the end of 2008.