Echoing Fox News, Dobbs downplays Bush's use of czars

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

Lou Dobbs stated that prior to the Obama administration, "the highest number of czars that we were able to document in our own reporting ... was during the Clinton administration, and he had only 10 czars." However, according to The Washington Post, former President Bush "had 36 czar positions filled by 46 people during his eight years as president."

Dobbs: Highest number of czars before Obama "was during the Clinton administration, and he had only 10"

From the September 16 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

LISA SYLVESTER (CNN correspondent): The Democratic National Committee followed up saying, quote, "Most telling of the credibility of these attacks is that they come from the same Republican Party that didn't utter a peep about the 47 documented czars in the Bush administration."

[...]

DOBBS: [T]o be clear, we should point out that that number in the Bush administration, the number of czars -- in point of fact, the highest number of czars that we were able to document in our own reporting here on this broadcast for the number of czars previous to the 34, 35 czars appointed by President Obama in his first eight months in office was during the Clinton administration, and he had only 10 czars -- a remarkable change of emphasis on czardom, if you will.

SYLVESTER: Yes. You know, if you take a look at the numbers that the DNC put out, one of the things that they do is they count all of the czars that President Obama had as opposed to counting the positions. So if you really want to compare apples to apples here, you know, if President Obama is starting with 30 czar positions right now, well just think how many individuals might flow in and out of those positions.

So you could well have over 60 czars -- double or triple the number of czars -- if they're going to be comparing it to the same way that they came up with the numbers under President Bush.

DOBBS: So, in other words, they were counting the number of people who rotated in over two terms?

SYLVESTER: Over -- exactly. Over eight years. That's exactly what they were doing --

DOBBS: Well, that's --

SYLVESTER: -- as opposed to the positions.

DOBBS: How open and transparent of the DNC. Thank you very much, Lisa. Lisa Sylvester.

Wash. Post: "By one count, Bush had 36 czar positions"

Washington Post reports that a count of Bush czars yielded 36 positions. Reporting on conservative criticism of the Obama administration's czars, The Washington Post stated, "Lists drawn up by conservative groups detail as many as 40 czars linked to Obama, although some of the positions existed before he took office, and some did win Senate approval." The Post further reported that "Richard M. Nixon named a drug czar and an energy czar, and George W. Bush named czars to coordinate policy efforts on a range of issues. By one count, Bush had 36 czar positions filled by 46 people during his eight years as president." [The Washington Post, 9/16/09]

Other media conservatives have misled to attack Obama's use of czar officials

Fox News launches witch hunt against Obama administration "czars." Fox News asserted that "czars are not subjected to congressional oversight." In fact, many of the Obama administration officials the network has labeled "czars" have been confirmed by the Senate or were appointed to positions created through legislation passed by Congress; additionally, a number of the officials had counterparts in the Bush administration. Fox News personalities have also targeted specific officials they have identified as "czars."

Transcript

From the September 16 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: President Obama has faced a sharp round of criticism for the unprecedented number of czars he's appointed. President Obama has named more than 30 czars -- so far many of them to top policymaking positions. But none of those advisers subject to Senate hearings or confirmation or vetting. Now, many in Congress are demanding far more accountability and testimony from these so-called czars. Lisa Sylvester has our report.

[begin video clip]

SYLVESTER: There are about 30 so-called czars watching over everything from Afghanistan to the economy. Some lawmakers complain these advisers have bypassed the Senate confirmation process, answering only to the president, and can't be forced to testify before Congress.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA): This formation of a shadow Cabinet, that in fact is more than twice the size of the real Cabinet, is a danger to the very question of who's advising the president and on what basis.

SYLVESTER: Representative Frank Wolf [R-VA] says the czars have not been put through full security screenings, unlike Cabinet members, who have had to go through a lengthy vetting process.

WOLF: The FBI said they do a background check, but it's the same background check they would do for an intern at the White House, whhere they do not do a security clearance.

SYLVESTER: Green job czar Van Jones stepped down after controversial statements he made surfaced. And President Obama's car czar, Steven Rattner, without explanation resigned amid reports the New York attorney general was investigating an investment company linked to him. The White House defended itself, saying the practice of appointing czars is nothing new.

ROBERT GIBBS (White House press secretary): These are positions that date back at least to, you know, many, many administrations, where there may be policy coordination between many different departments in order to make governmental responses more efficient.

SYLVESTER: The Democratic National Committee followed up saying, quote, "Most telling of the credibility of these attacks is that they come from the same Republican Party that didn't utter a peep about the 47 documented czars in the Bush administration."

But it's not just Republicans bothered by the czars. This week, Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, who chairs the Senate Constitution subcommittee, asked the White House to disclose more information: Who are the individuals? What are their responsibilities, and whether and how these positions are consistent with the appointments clause of the Constitution.

[end video clip]

SYLVESTER: And lawmakers are continuing to press the issue, introducing legislation to withhold funding from any czars calling for congressional hearings, and today a resolution of disapproval was introduced in the House of Representatives -- Lou?

DOBBS: Yeah, and to be clear, we should point out that that number in the Bush administration, the number of czars -- in point of fact, the highest number of czars that we were able to document in our own reporting here on this broadcast for the number of czars previous to the 34, 35 czars appointed by President Obama in his first eight months in office was during the Clinton administration, and he had only 10 czars -- a remarkable change of emphasis on czardom, if you will.

SYLVESTER: Yes. You know, if you take a look at the numbers that the DNC put out, one of the things that they do is they count all of the czars that President Obama had as opposed to counting the positions. So if you really want to compare apples to apples here, you know, if President Obama is starting with 30 czar positions right now, well just think how many individuals might flow in and out of those positions.

So you could well have over 60 czars -- double or triple the number of czars -- if they're going to be comparing it to the same way that they came up with the numbers under President Bush.

DOBBS: So, in other words, they were counting the number of people who rotated in over two terms?

SYLVESTER: Over -- exactly. Over eight years. That's exactly what they were doing --

DOBBS: Well, that's --

SYLVESTER: -- as opposed to the positions.

DOBBS: How open and transparent of the DNC. Thank you very much, Lisa. Lisa Sylvester.

Posted In
Government, Nominations & Appointments
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Lou Dobbs
Show/Publication
Lou Dobbs Tonight
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