Without evidence, Wash. Times claimed Obama "reneged" on campaign promises

››› ››› NATHAN TABAK

The Washington Times falsely claimed in an editorial that President Obama "reneged" on campaign promises to eliminate earmarks and increase defense spending. In fact, Obama did not promise to eliminate earmarks, and he did propose a budget increasing defense spending.

In an April 8 editorial, The Washington Times claimed that President Obama has "reneged" on his campaign promise to not raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year, but provided no evidence to support that claim. The Times also falsely claimed Obama "reneged" on his promises "to eliminate earmarks and increase defense spending." In fact, Obama never vowed to eliminate earmarks, and he did propose a budget increasing defense spending.

The Times wrote of Obama:

He promised "no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." Repeatedly during the campaign, he promised that, "you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime." He also promised to eliminate earmarks and increase defense spending. Mr. Obama has reneged on all these commitments.

The editorial provided no support for the claim that Obama has "reneged" on his promise not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 annually.

Regarding earmarks, as Media Matters for America has noted, during the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending, not "to eliminate earmarks" altogether. Addressing claims that Obama campaigned on a promise to end earmarks, PolitiFact.com wrote: "Obama did not promise to end earmarking, only to 'reform' it, and eliminate 'screwy' or wasteful earmarks." Numerous media figures have similarly misrepresented Obama's statements regarding earmarks to accuse him of breaking a promise.

Nor has Obama "reneged" on promises to increase defense spending; rather, the Obama administration has proposed increasing defense spending by billions of dollars over the amount enacted in fiscal year 2009. As CNN.com noted on April 6, "The proposed overall fiscal year 2010 Defense Department budget is almost $534 billion, or nearly $664 billion when including the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The current Pentagon budget totals slightly over $513 billion, or almost $655 billion including the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts."

From the April 8 Washington Times editorial:

The polls don't tell us the reason for Mr. Obama's huge partisan gap, but a few sources of opposition angst are clear. Since taking office, the president has pushed legislation that breaks one campaign pledge after another by veering far to the left of his moderate campaign rhetoric.

In each of the three presidential debates, Mr. Obama promised "a net spending cut" in government and a reduction in the deficits that he at the time blamed for the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. He promised "no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." Repeatedly during the campaign, he promised that, "you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime." He also promised to eliminate earmarks and increase defense spending. Mr. Obama has reneged on all these commitments.

When Mr. Obama ran for president, he portrayed himself as the great uniter who would deliver a torn nation to the post-partisan promised land. The reality is that his increasingly far-left ideological policies have stranded the country in the barren desert of division.

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