As the Republican primaries drag on, the GOP contenders have been taking their swipes at President Obama mid their attacks on each other. The swipes are illustrative of some of the core themes of the anti-Obama campaign. The themes share a common trait beyond being aimed at Obama: they’re all false.
Obama apologized for America.
Romney: President Obama “went around the world and apologized for America.”
Politifact rated this a “pants on fire” lie.
“…we think it’s a ridiculous charge. There’s a clear difference between changing policies and apologizing, and Obama didn’t do the latter. So we rate Romney’s statement Pants on Fire”
“The president has never used the word ‘apologize’ in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the president’s words.”
ObamaCare is a government takeover of health care.
Romney: President Obama’s health care law “represents a government takeover of health care.”
Politifact rated this a “pants on fire” lie.
“…we find flimsy evidence for such a strong claim. The government’s expanded role in health falls far short of being a government takeover. As we said in our Lie of the Year announcement, analogies about strict government regulation provide some helpful illustrations. The Federal Aviation Administration imposes detailed rules on airlines. State laws require drivers to have car insurance. Regulators tell electric utilities what they can charge. Yet that heavy regulation is not described as a government takeover.
“There’s no question that “government takeover” has been a successful talking point. A poll in March 2010 found that a majority of the American people believed it was true. But the facts simply don’t support it. The health care law continues to depend on private health insurance and private-sector physicians. So Romney earns the same rating as others who have made the false claim: Pants on Fire!”
Taxes are skyrocketing under Obama.
“According to the Tax Foundation, a business-backed group that studies tax policy, the total federal, state and local tax burden has been falling — not rising — in recent years. Every year, the group computes a national figure for all levels of taxation as a share of national income. The data shows that the tax burden has fallen modestly in recent years, from 31.2 percent in 2006 to 27.2 percent in 2011.
“And as we concluded in a separate fact-check, the U.S. tax burden isn’t just hovering around a historical low — it’s also low compared to other advanced industrialized nations. In a 2006 international comparison, 25 nations had a higher percentage of taxes compared to GDP than the U.S., while just four — Mexico, Japan, Korea and Turkey — had a lower percentage.”
Obama is a Socialist.
Perry: “I make a very proud statement and, in fact, that we have a president that’s a socialist.”
Poltifact rated this a “pants on fire lie.”
“Conservative economist Bruce Bartlett told PolitiFact: ‘Socialism means public ownership of the means of production. Obama does not believe this. Therefore he is not a socialist. … Although it is true that the federal government did come to own some private businesses as a consequence of bailout policies initiated by the George W. Bush administration such as (the Troubled Asset Relief Program), the Obama administration sold many of them — such as its shares in GM — as quickly as feasible. A true socialist would have held on to them.’
“Put to the Truth-O-Meter, Perry’s claim rates as ridiculous.”
Another analysis put it more pointedly: “(N)o matter your view of President Obama, he effectively saved capitalism.”
Romney: Obama wants “to replace our merit-based society with an entitlement society.”
The largest entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — were all enacted before Mr. Obama entered grade school.
Obama is putting “free markets on trial.”
That’s simply unhinged.
First, Obama continued the Bush crisis-fighting policy of bailing out and stabilizing the banking sector, effectively saving Wall Street from a complete disaster it created on its own. Then he went on to rescue the American automobile industry. On taxes? He continued the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans over fierce opposition from his own party. Now he’s offering even more tax cuts. In his $447 billion jobs plan, Obama has recommended slicing the payroll tax paid by businesses. And on trade? Obama this week sent free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to Congress for final approval, again over some opposition from his party. Any of these measures sound “anti-business” to you?
One Obama policy often attacked as “anti-business” is his healthcare reform. But one aim of the reform is to control escalating medical costs, which would boost the competitiveness of American businesses. Granted, Obama did increase regulation on the financial sector. But is this really “anti-business”? The goal is to prevent the sort of dangerous financial speculation that tanked Wall Street and created the Great Recession in the first place. A more stable, well-regulated financial system is good for American business, not “anti-business.”
In fact, the supposedly “pro-business” Republicans are the ones blocking Obama policies that could help business even more. Obama’s plans to improve American infrastructure, repeatedly rejected by the GOP, would give a boost to efficiency and bring down costs for American companies.
Romney: With our current trendline of government intervention in the economy, “we cease at some point to be a free economy.”
“…there is little indication that the government’s role has risen dramatically enough over the past few years to threaten the kind of free market that the U.S. has operated under in recent decades. And international comparisons show that the U.S. ranks low in both total tax burden and high in economic freedom — at least as measured by a prominent conservative think tank.
In June, we found this claim ridiculous. In August, we did again. Now, in October, we do for a third time, once again rating this part of Romney’s statement Pants on Fire.”
Romney: “We’re only inches away from no longer being a free economy.”
Politifact rated this a “pants on fire” lie.
Obama models policy after Europe
Romney: “This president takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe…”
“Is Obama modeling his policies on European principles? Hardly. His fiscal approach of continued stimulus is actually the opposite of Europe’s prevailing austerity policy. On Obama’s central domestic policy effort, universal healthcare, he looked not toward Europe but to Romney’s own state of Massachusetts.”
Obama’s policies made the economy worse.
As the Washington Post noted in late 2011:
“The economy is getting stronger, with the nation’s gross domestic product growing at its fastest clip so far this year. The number of new people signing up for unemployment benefits has steadily declined, and consumer spending is rising.”
- The GDP now at 3.2% .
- A year after Obama took office – when the budget was “his” and his initial policies had time to have an effect – the unemployment rate started to fall and is now down from 10.1% to 8.5%.
- The economy has added 1.5 million jobs over the past year, and the pace seems to be picking up.
Existing home sales will rise 12 percent this year after a 2 percent increase last year, and new home sales, coming off a horrid year, will jump 74 percent this year, Moody’s Analytics predicts…. Single-family housing starts will rise 37 percent this year, Moody’s predicts, after falling 9 percent last year. Homebuilder stocks are on a run. The S&P 1500 Homebuilding Index is up 38 percent since mid-October, vs. 7 percent for the S&P 500.
“Overall the report was pretty solid through and through,” said Brad Sorensen, director of market and sector analysis at Charles Schwab in San Francisco. “This helps to continue the snowball rolling downhill, as the more people hired and the more people working increases demand. Employers have to hire to meet that demand. It gets the ball rolling and we are starting to see a self-sustaining expansion phase take hold.”
A year into Obama’s term, when his policies began to take effect, job growth also began to improve, a dramatic turn-around from the Bush years of job losses. “As Steve Benen noted, the private sector has added 2.3 million new jobs since March 2010…. There are, indeed, fewer net jobs now than when Obama took office early in the (Bush) recession, but his policies, including the stimulus, effectively turned months of job losses into months of consistent job gains. Many of the jobs lost under Obama — more than 600,000, to be exact — are public sector jobs, the type Romney considers outside ‘the real economy.”
Obama greatly expanded the size of the government.
“…the Obama Federal government is smack dab in the middle of the normal size. Bigger than some periods, smaller than others…. the burden on the taxpayer of paying for government workers…. (has) declined dramatically under Obama due to state and local cuts — over 400K since Obama took office.”
“Overall government employment has declined 2.6 percent over the past 3 years. (That compares with a drop of 2.2 percent during the early years of the Reagan administration.) To listen to current Republican rhetoric about Obama’s big-government socialist ways, you would imagine that the reverse was true. It isn’t.”
Obama doesn’t understand America:
This is a ridiculous claim and one the right-wing loves to use in order to further portray Barack Obama as an outsider, or of questionable birth and citizenship. The only response to this bold lies is to say once and for all…
Barack Obama is the mixed race son of a Midwestern girl and an African student. He was raised by his mother and Caucasian grandparents. He lost his mother at a young age to cancer. He worked hard to have the education he desired, and excelled to become the citizen and community leader that would lead him to run for President of the United States.
Barack Obama is the essence of the ‘American Dream.’
Under Obama, Voter identification fraud is a serious problem in the US.
From the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law’s study:
- Fraud by individual voters is both irrational and extremely rare.
- Many vivid anecdotes of purported voter fraud have been proven false or do not demonstrate fraud.
- Voter fraud is often conflated with other forms of election misconduct.
- Raising the unsubstantiated specter of mass voter fraud suits a particular policy agenda.
- Claims of voter fraud should be carefully tested before they become the basis for action.