Rove again mischaracterized quotation -- this time falsely claiming Obama criticized stimulus bill as "deficit spending"

››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

In his Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove took quotes from President-elect Barack Obama out of context to falsely claim that Obama criticized the economic stimulus bill as "deficit spending" that represented "the 'disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting' in Washington." In fact, Obama used those words in a March 2008 speech while discussing the "policies of the Bush Administration," which "threw the economy further out of balance."

In his January 15 Wall Street Journal column, Fox News contributor Karl Rove took quotes from President-elect Barack Obama out of context to falsely claim that Obama criticized the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 as "deficit spending" that represented "the 'disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting' in Washington." In fact, Obama used those words in a March 27, 2008, speech, not in reference to the stimulus bill, but while discussing the "policies of the Bush Administration," which "threw the economy further out of balance." Indeed, in the same speech, Obama spoke in favor of providing "stimulus that will reach the most vulnerable Americans" as a way to "pursue policies that once again recognize that we are in this together."

Media Matters for America previously noted that in his January 8 column, Rove similarly took quotes out of context to falsely claim that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) "labeled" President Bush's "proposals" for reform of the former government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as "inane."

Rove wrote in his January 15 Wall Street Journal column:

Last February, Congress passed a stimulus bill, adding $152 billion to the deficit. Mr. Obama called it "deficit spending" and criticized the "disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting" in Washington. Now he forecasts trillion dollar deficits on his watch.

In fact, in the sole instance Media Matters found* of Obama using the phrase "disdain for pay-as-you-go-budgeting [typo corrected]," in his March 27, 2008, speech, then-Sen. Obama was not referring to the 2008 stimulus bill. Obama stated:

OBAMA: The policies of the Bush Administration threw the economy further out of balance. Tax cuts without end for the wealthiest Americans. A trillion dollar war in Iraq that didn't need to be fought, paid for with deficit spending and borrowing from foreign creditors like China. A complete disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting -- coupled with a generally scornful attitude towards oversight and enforcement -- allowed far too many to put short-term gain ahead of long term consequences. The American economy was bound to suffer a painful correction, and policymakers found themselves with fewer resources to deal with the consequences. [Emphasis added]

Later in the speech, Obama said that he supported "providing a stimulus that will reach the most vulnerable Americans":

OBAMA: But today, for far too many Americans, this dream is slipping away. Wall Street has been gripped by increasing gloom over the last nine months. But for many American families, the economy has effectively been in recession for the past seven years. We have just come through the first sustained period of economic growth since World War II that was not accompanied by a growth in incomes for typical families. Americans are working harder for less. Costs are rising, and it's not clear that we'll leave a legacy of opportunity to our children and grandchildren.

That's why, throughout this campaign, I've put forward a series of proposals that will foster economic growth from the bottom up, and not just from the top down. That's why the last time I spoke on the economy here in New York, I talked about the need to put the policies of George W. Bush behind us - policies that have essentially said to the American people: "you are on your own"; because we need to pursue policies that once again recognize that we are in this together.

This starts with providing a stimulus that will reach the most vulnerable Americans, including immediate relief to areas hardest hit by the housing crisis, and a significant extension of unemployment insurance for those who are out of work. If we can extend a hand to banks on Wall Street, we can extend a hand to Americans who are struggling.

*Media Matters searched the Nexis database for "Obama" and "complete disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting" since February 1, 2008.

Posted In
Economy, Budget
Network/Outlet
Wall Street Journal
Person
Karl Rove
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