Rove again falsely suggested inconsistency by Obama on stimulus spending

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

On The Live Desk, Karl Rove advanced a falsehood he put forth in a recent Wall Street Journal column by suggesting that President-elect Barack Obama had "trashed the [Bush] administration" for supporting a 2008 stimulus bill. In fact, in remarks that Rove misrepresented in the column, Obama criticized the Bush administration for funding "[a] trillion dollar war in Iraq" with "deficit spending" and for exhibiting "[a] complete disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting," but he did not criticize the administration for supporting the 2008 stimulus bill.

During the January 16 edition of Fox News' The Live Desk, Fox News contributor Karl Rove advanced a falsehood from his January 15 Wall Street Journal column -- that President-elect Barack Obama, who supports enacting a large-scale economic stimulus plan, had criticized passage of a February 2008 stimulus bill because the bill added to the deficit. In his column, Rove asserted that Obama "criticized the 'disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting' in Washington" after "Congress passed" the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008; on The Live Desk, Rove referenced his column and suggested that Obama had "trashed the [Bush] administration for bringing on deficits" by supporting the 2008 stimulus bill. In fact, in March 2008 remarks that Rove misrepresented in his column, Obama criticized the Bush administration for funding "[a] trillion dollar war in Iraq" with "deficit spending" and for exhibiting "[a] complete disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting," but he did not criticize the administration for supporting the 2008 stimulus bill. To the contrary, later 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."

In his January 15 Wall Street Journal column, Rove wrote:

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.

On The Live Desk, after co-host Trace Gallagher asked Rove if he was "surprised at all about how [Obama] has steered away from this so-called campaign rhetoric toward the policies of this administration," Rove echoed the claim he made in his January 15 column:

ROVE: Well, it's a very interesting question you raise. [Washington Post columnist] Charles Krauthammer has a superb column on it this morning. I wrote about it recently as well, because, during the campaign -- for example, shortly after the $152 billion stimulus bill was passed early in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama went out and trashed the administration for bringing on deficits and for failing to be fiscally responsible. And now he's talking about a trillion dollar -- an $850 billion or trillion dollar stimulus package and a trillion dollar deficit on his watch.

But as Media Matters for America documented, Obama did not mention stimulus spending while criticizing the Bush administration's "deficit spending" and "disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting" in the March 27, 2008, speech that Rove quoted in his column:

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 same speech, Obama said that he supported "providing a stimulus that will reach the most vulnerable Americans." Rove cited no other evidence on The Live Desk for his suggestion that Obama had "trashed the administration" for supporting the 2008 stimulus bill.

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

From the January 16 edition of Fox News' The Live Desk with Martha and Trace:

GALLAGHER: I just want to ask you a question about the President-elect, Barack Obama. Are you surprised at all about how he's kind of steered away from this so-called campaign rhetoric toward the policies of this administration? Is that odd or is that standard political operating procedure?

ROVE: Well, it's a very interesting question you raise. Charles Krauthammer has a superb column on it this morning. I wrote about it recently as well, because, during the campaign -- for example, shortly after the $152 billion stimulus bill was passed early in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama went out and trashed the administration for bringing on deficits and for failing to be fiscally responsible. And now he's talking about a trillion dollar -- an $850 billion or trillion dollar stimulus package and a trillion dollar deficit on his watch.

He, during the campaign, attacked the terror surveillance program and yet came back in July to vote for its reauthorization. Some of this is the normal transition you get from being candidate to an officeholder.

But I thought Charles Krauthammer had an excellent point today that when it comes to international and security issues, this is more than just the lip service of someone who is moving from a campaign to governing; it is somebody who has been informed by new information and understands now the value of these tools, which he's being bequeathed by his predecessor.

Posted In
Economy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Karl Rove
Show/Publication
The Live Desk
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