On Fox, Tantaros misquoted Obama, falsely claiming he said "the economy is only gonna get worse"

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On Fox News' America's Newsroom, Andrea Tantaros falsely claimed that "[t]his past weekend," President-elect Barack Obama said that "the economy is only gonna get worse." Tantaros continued: "Well, you can't say that kind of thing when you're president. ... He's got to be more positive." Co-host Bill Hemmer did not point out in response to Tantaros that Obama did not say "the economy is only gonna get worse"; he said the economy would get worse but would subsequently recover.

On the December 8 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, FoxNews.com contributor and Republican consultant Andrea Tantaros falsely claimed during a panel discussion led by co-host Bill Hemmer that "[t]his past weekend," President-elect Barack Obama said that "the economy is only gonna get worse." Tantaros continued: "Well, you can't say that kind of thing when you're president. He's proving he's more of a Carter than a Reagan. He's got to be more positive." Hemmer did not correct Tantaros' falsehood. In fact, Obama did not say that "the economy is only gonna get worse." During a December 7 interview on NBC's Meet the Press and at a press conference later that day, Obama asserted that the economy would get worse but would subsequently recover.

On Meet the Press, Obama said, "[W]hen you think about the structural problems that we already had in the economy before the financial crisis, this is a big problem and it's gonna get worse." Later in the interview, Obama stated that "things are gonna get worse before they get better" and "[t]he key for us is making sure that we jump-start that economy in a way that doesn't just deal with the short term, doesn't just create jobs immediately, but also puts us on a glide path for long-term, sustainable economic growth."

At a press conference later that day, Obama said, "I do think that we have not seen all of the scope of -- of, you know, some of the hardship that's being experienced by families." He later stated: "I am absolutely confident that if we take the right steps over the coming months, that not only can we get the economy back on track, but we can emerge leaner, meaner, and ultimately more competitive and more prosperous. And that's why the economic stimulus package that I proposed is one that is designed not just to deal with the short term, but also to deal with the long term."

During the America's Newsroom segment, Tantaros also claimed that Obama's proposed infrastructure investment plan "makes me very, very nervous, because what people are calling this is the 'new New Deal,' and if you remember correctly, the New Deal didn't work. It was called the Great Depression." Tantaros' comments echoed those made by other conservatives in the media who have responded to suggestions that measures on the scope of the New Deal are needed to revive the economy by denouncing the New Deal as ineffective or damaging, thereby arguing that government intervention on the scale that Roosevelt launched destroys rather than saves the economy.

From the December 7 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:

TOM BROKAW (host): President-elect Obama, welcome back to Meet the Press.

OBAMA: Great to be here. Thank you.

BROKAW: Very nice to have you with us. As we saw in the opening, the world has gotten considerably worse since your election. There is no evidence that it's cause and effect, you should be happy to know. But, nonetheless, we now are officially in a recession. It's around the world, and most analysts think it's going to get worse before it gets better. Sixty-seven years ago this day, one of your predecessors, Franklin Roosevelt, faced Pearl Harbor.

OBAMA: Right.

BROKAW: What are the differences between his challenges and the ones that you face?

OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think it's important for us to remember that as tough as times are right now, they're nothing compared to what my grandparents went through -- what the "greatest generation" went through. You know, at this point, you already had 25, 30 percent unemployment across the country, and we didn't have many of the social safety nets that emerged out of the New Deal. So, there's no doubt that Franklin Roosevelt had to re-create an entire economic structure that had entirely collapsed, and we've got some strengths that he -- he didn't have.

But, look, if you look at the unemployment numbers that came out yesterday; if you think about almost 2 million jobs lost so far; if you think about the fragility of the financial system and the fact that it is now a global financial system, so that what happens in Thailand or Russia can have an impact here, and, obviously, what happens on Wall Street has an impact worldwide; when you think about the structural problems that we already had in the economy before the financial crisis, this is a big problem and it's gonna get worse.

And -- and one of the things that I'm constantly mindful of are all the people I met during the campaign who were already struggling before things got worse. You know, mothers and fathers who were working hard every day but didn't have health care, couldn't figure out how to send their kids to college. Now they're looking at pink slips, jobs being shipped overseas that devastate entire towns. And that's why my number-one priority coming in is making sure that we've got an economic recovery plan that is equal to the task.

[...]

BROKAW: On this program about a year ago, you said being a president is 90 percent circumstances and about 10 percent agenda. The circumstances now are, as you say, very unpopular in terms of the decisions that have to be made. Which are the most unpopular ones that the country's going to have to deal with?

OBAMA: Well, fortunately, as tough as times are right now -- and things are gonna get worse before they get better -- there is a convergence between circumstances and agenda. The key for us is making sure that we jump-start that economy in a way that doesn't just deal with the short term, doesn't just create jobs immediately, but also puts us on a glide path for long-term, sustainable economic growth.

And that's why I spoke in my radio address on Saturday about the importance of investing in the largest infrastructure program -- in roads and bridges and -- and other traditional infrastructure -- since the building of the federal highway system in the 1950s; rebuilding our schools and making sure that they're energy efficient; making sure that we're investing in electronic medical records and other technologies that can drive down health care costs. All those things are not only immediate -- part of an immediate stimulus package to the economy -- but they're also down payments on the kind of long-term, sustainable growth that we need.

From CNN's coverage of Obama's December 7 press conference:

JONATHAN MARTIN (Politico senior political writer): Thank you, sir. You said on Meet the Press this morning that the economy is getting worse before it's getting better, sir. In light of the severity of the crisis, do you think the Bush administration is doing enough right now to address the economy? And what more could they be doing, sir?

OBAMA: Well, I do think that we have not seen all of the scope of -- of, you know, some of the hardship that's being experienced by families. You know, if you had half a million jobs in November that have been lost, what that means is that families who right now may still be absorbing the initial shock, they're gonna have to be making a bunch of tough decisions going forward.

Some of them may have lost health care. Some of them were already having a tough time before they lost their job. And so, you know, the main thing I wanted to communicate was the fact that, you know, these aren't just abstract numbers, that they ripple throughout the economy, and -- and people are really suffering, which is why we've got to act swiftly and boldly.

I think the administration understands the severity of the problem. I think they want to do the right thing. I will repeat what I said on Meet the Press today, which is, we have not seen the kind of aggressive steps in the housing market to stem foreclosures that I would like to see.

And my team is preparing plans to address that foreclosure situation. I -- we have -- my team has had some conversations with the administration about that. If it is not done during the transition, it will be done by me. But let me make one last point. I am absolutely confident that if we take the right steps over the coming months, that not only can we get the economy back on track, but we can emerge leaner, meaner, and ultimately more competitive and more prosperous. And that's why the economic stimulus package that I proposed is one that is designed not just to deal with the short term, but also to deal with the long term.

From the December 8 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

BILL HEMMER (co-anchor): What do you think's good for America, huh?

HEATHER NAUERT (co-anchor): What, do we get a big ol' bonus?

HEMMER: How about $1 trillion infrastructure investment in America today?

NAUERT: Oh, you've got an idea for us. All right, Bill.

HEMMER: President-elect Obama suggesting that will be his plan once in office in January. A public works program bigger than the construction of the interstate highway system of the 1950s. Is that what we need? Bob Beckel, Fox News contributor and former Mondale campaign manager, and Andrea Tantaros, Republican consultant and FoxNews.com contributor -- good morning to both of you.

TANTAROS: Good morning, Bill.

HEMMER: Bob and Andrea. Must be a Monday. Hey, Andrea, is this the medicine that America needs?

TANTAROS: Well, you know what, Bill, this makes me very, very nervous, because what people are calling this is the "new New Deal," and if you remember correctly, the New Deal didn't work. It was called the Great Depression, and you know, when you have Barack Obama -- part of the stimulus package is giving money back to the American people in the form of checks. This past weekend he comes out and says the economy is only gonna get worse. Well, you can't say that kind of thing when you're president. He's proving he's more of a Carter than a Reagan. He's got to be more positive, 'cause if you give the people checks they're just gonna horde it. They're not gonna spend it.

HEMMER: Oh, a trillion here, a trillion there. Eventually it's real money.

TANTAROS: Right. Right. We'll just weaken our currency. No biggie.

HEMMER: Let's -- let's define what he said, first of all, Bob. He's talking about highways, roads -- basic infrastructure. Also talking about government buildings, making them greener, more energy efficient. Talking about a better broadband system -- system for the Internet throughout the U.S. That's a lot; is it what we need?

Posted In
Economy, Government, The Presidency & White House
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Andrea Tantaros
Show/Publication
America's Newsroom
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Barack Obama, Propaganda/Noise Machine
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.