Fox is distorting comments President Obama made in 1998 to claim he has "a manifesto" for engaging in "class warfare." In fact, Obama was simply outlining government's role in creating a society where everyone has a fair chance at success.
Fox Claimed Obama Comments In 1998 Are "Absolutely Class Warfare"
Lou Dobbs: Obama's 1998 Comments Are "Absolutely Class Warfare" And Reflect "A Manifesto From Which He Is Reading." On America Live, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs used comments Obama made in 1998 to accuse him of "class warfare." Dobbs said: "This is absolutely class warfare. It is a manifesto from which he is reading, and it makes clear why he does not like welfare reform as put together under President Clinton. It would destroy the coalition that he now has created." [Fox News, America Live, 9/24/12]
In Fact, Obama Was Outlining Government's Role In Improving The Lives Of Working Poor
Obama Called For "Serious Policy Work" Around "The Working Poor." In the audio posted at Tucker Carlson's conservative website, The Daily Caller, Obama said, "What I think will re-engage people in politics is if we're doing significant, serious policy work around what I will label the working poor, although my definition of the working poor is not simply folks making minimum wage, but it's also families of four who are making $30,000 a year. They are struggling. And to the extent that we are doing research figuring out what kinds of government action would successfully make their lives better, we are then putting together a potential majority coalition to move those agendas forward." [The Daily Caller, 9/24/12]
Fox's Kelly Suggested Audio Casts Doubt On Obama Being "Pro-Second Amendment"
Megyn Kelly: Obama "Has Claimed" "He Is Pro-Second Amendment," But 1998 Comments Will "Raise Some Questions." On America Live, host Megyn Kelly said, "Obviously, the president has claimed that he is pro-Second Amendment while he's been in office, and so that'll raise some questions, I guess, for some folks." [Fox News, America Live, 9/24/12]
Obama In 1998: "Majority Of Americans Would Like To See Serious Gun Control." In the audio as posted by The Daily Caller, Obama states: "The vast majority of Americans would like to see serious gun control. It does not pass. Why does it not pass? It doesn't pass because there is this huge disconnect between what people think and what legislators think and are willing to act upon." [The Daily Caller, 9/24/12]
In Fact, Obama Has Not Sought To Curb Second Amendment Rights
Chicago Tribune: Obama Has "A 'Pro-Gun' Record." In his Chicago Tribune column, Clarence Page noted that following the January 2011 shooting in Arizona that injured former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Obama "repeated his support for the Second Amendment and called for stricter enforcement of gun laws already on the books." Page added: "That position perfectly matches the position of the National Rifle Association, the nation's leading gun owners' advocacy group." He continued:
One might just as easily ask, if Obama is so anti-gun, why did one of those endorsers, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, give Obama an "F" for his gun record the following year? The Brady Campaign and other gun-control advocates continue to express frustration over actions and inaction by Obama that should bring the NRA delight.
Obama has signed a law that permits Amtrak passengers to carry guns in their checked baggage and another that allows visitors to national parks and wildlife refuges to possess concealed guns. He has not pushed for actions he supported in his 2008 campaign, including closing the so-called "gun show loophole" that allows unlicensed private firearm sellers to sell weapons at gun shows without conducting the background checks and reporting requirements that registered gun dealers must conduct. [Chicago Tribune, 7/22/12]
AP: Obama Has Not Tried To Reinstate Assault Weapons Ban "Or Pushed Other Gun Control Proposals." An Associate Press article outlining Obama's public positions on gun control shows that during his career in elected office, he has not sought to reinstate the assault weapons ban, "or pushed other gun control proposals." [Associated Press, 7/21/12]
PolitiFact Found "Little To No Evidence" Obama "Is Doing Much To Regulate Guns Or Gun Ownership." In a fact-check examining Obama's record on gun control, PolitiFact wrote: "Has Obama's presidential administration shown sympathy for banning handguns? In 2009, FactCheck.org said, 'We've seen little or no evidence that the Obama administration is doing much to regulate guns or gun ownership.' In 2010, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave the president a report card of seven F's for his first year in office, including on 'standing up the to the gun lobby.'" [PolitiFact, 2/13/12]
Obama Has Signed Only Two Gun-Related Bills Into Law, Both Of Which Expanded The Right To Carry Firearms. As president, Obama has signed into law legislation that allows visitors, depending on state gun laws, to carry concealed and loaded guns into national parks and another that "permits Amtrak passengers to carry guns in their checked baggage." [The Washington Post, 2/19/10; Chicago Tribune, 7/22/12]
Right-Wing Figures Have Pushed Myth That Obama Will Ban Guns
Dobbs: Obama's Calls For "So-Called Common Sense Gun Restrictions" Reflect "A Sudden Assault On The Second Amendment." On his Fox Business show, Dobbs claimed that Obama's call for "so-called common sense gun restrictions" is "a predictable, expected assault by this administration" and claimed it was "a sudden assault on the Second Amendment." [Fox Business, Lout Dobbs Tonight, 7/27/12]
Glenn Beck: Lawmakers Are Pushing "A Ban On Guns." On his now-defunct Fox News show, Glenn Beck claimed that lawmakers are "pushing a ban on certain symbols and words, a ban on guns, a ban on talk radio." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/11/11]
Lars Larson Suggested Obama Supreme Court Appointees, "Think They Can Break Free Of The Constraints Of The Constitution -- Perhaps On The Second Amendment." On his nationally syndicated show, conservative radio host and frequent Fox News guest Lars Larson said of Obama: "I'm worried that when he starts naming people to the court, when that -- when that happens, and it's likely to during his administration, we're going to end up with justices who think they can break free of the constraints of the Constitution -- perhaps on the Second Amendment, one of my favorites." [Westwood One, The Lars Larson Show, 11/7/08, via Media Matters]
Dobbs Repeated Claim That Obama Administration Has Gutted Work Welfare Requirements
Dobbs: Obama Administration Ended "A Level Of Work Requirements For Welfare Reform." On America Live, Dobbs claimed that the Obama administration gutted "a level of work requirements for welfare reform":
DOBBS: [Obama] was talking about welfare reform in a way in which, as you telescope to the present, and you think about what he has done with welfare reform work requirements. First, in 2010, with Obamacare, he eliminates a level of work requirements for welfare reform.
Now, HHS, doing precisely the same thing, although they deny it. It is really extraordinary to see that telescoping of this young state senator. [Fox News, America Live, 9/24/12]
Reality: Obama Administration Has Strengthened Welfare Work Requirements
PolitiFact Rated Claim That Obama Is "Dropping Work Requirements" For Welfare As "Pants On Fire." PolitiFact analyzed an ad from the Mitt Romney campaign that suggested Obama was "dropping" welfare reform's work requirements. PolitiFact noted that the July 12 memo from the Department of Health and Human Services, which announced the new policy, was intended "to give states more flexibility in meeting those [work] requirements" of the welfare program. The post called this claim "a drastic distortion of the planned changes" and concluded:
By granting waivers to states, the Obama administration is seeking to make welfare-to-work efforts more successful, not end them. What's more, the waivers would apply to individually evaluated pilot programs -- HHS is not proposing a blanket, national change to welfare law.
The ad tries to connect the dots to reach this zinger: "They just send you your welfare check." The HHS memo in no way advocates that practice. In fact, it says the new policy is "designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families." [PolitiFact, 8/7/12]
New York Magazine's John Heilemann: States Must Move 20 Percent More People Into The Work Force To Qualify. On MSNBC's Morning Joe, journalist John Heilemann noted: "The HHS memo that got issued on this matter says specifically that waivers will only be granted if the governors of the states that are asking for them can show that they are moving 20 percent more people into work than they would be otherwise." [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 8/9/12, via Media Matters]
CBS News: Waiver Provision Is "Not A Blanket Waiver." A CBSNews.com article reported that the waiver provision is "not a blanket waiver because states would have to apply one at time for exemptions from certain requirements of the welfare-to-work law. And states must show their plans would move at least 20 percent more people to work." The article continued: "Moreover, with or without waivers, there's cap on the total amount of federal money available to states for welfare -- about $17 billion -- so it would not make much financial sense for a state to waste any of those dollars. Such details seemed to have no place on the campaign trail." [CBSNews.com, 8/9/12]
Former GOP Aide Ron Haskins: "I Don't See How You Can Get To The Conclusion That The Waiver Provision Undermines Welfare Reform." The CBSNews.com article quoted former GOP aide Ron Haskins, who reportedly helped write the original welfare-to-work legislation in the 1990s, saying that the Obama administration's waiver provision does not undermine welfare reform:
Former GOP aide Haskins said the Obama administration was wrong to roll out its waiver plan without first getting the advice and consent of congressional Republicans. But he added, "There is merit to what the administration is proposing, and I don't see how you can get to the conclusion that the waiver provision undermines welfare reform and it eliminates the work requirement." [CBSNews.com, 8/9/12]
Obama's Co-Panelists In 1998 Have Faulted Media For Misrepresenting Comments
Panelists At Loyola University Agree Obama's 1998 Comments Were Taken Out Of Context. Media Matters' Joe Strupp reported: "Three panelists who appeared with President Barack Obama at the 1998 conference where he mentioned 'redistribution' agree that his comments were wrongly taken out of context by the conservative press and some mainstream media outlets." Strupp quoted panelist Maureen Hellwig, a former program coordinator for the Policy Research Action Group, as saying that Obama "wasn't discussing socialism at the meeting, he was discussing distribution of public funds to produce good public adult education." [Media Matters, 9/21/12]