ashington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler is not impressed with President Obama's short, rousing defense of the 2008-09 auto bailout, particularly Obama's claim that "Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers for their support during my presidency." Such "chicanery," says Kessler, conveniently ignores taxpayer loans to Chrysler before Obama's inauguration. The fact checker gives the president three "Pinocchios" (out of four), and calls the Friday speech "one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech," with "virtually every claim" requiring an asterisk. Is Obama really relying on "phony accounting" to sell his rescue of GM and Chrysler?
Yes, Obama is trying to sell a lemon: Kessler's "devastating critique" is spot on, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. If you count the very relevant $4 billion that George W. Bush handed Chrysler before Obama's inauguration, taxpayers actually lost $1.3 billion on the Chrysler bailout. There would be no need for this "trumped-up rhetoric" if the bailout were really a "success."
"Obama's auto-bailout speech 'one of the most misleading...'"
No, Kessler swung and missed: "No one's perfect," so you can't blame "anointed fact checkers" like Kessler for "muddying the facts" sometimes, says White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer. In this case, "it is not only factually accurate for President Obama to note the full recovery — and then some — of the funds he decided to commit to Chrysler," but also the dire consequences for the auto industry and the economy if he had not acted so decisively.
"Fact checking the fact checker"
Obama wasn't just misleading, he was also ungracious: The president's claims that Republicans wanted to do nothing to help save GM and Chrysler is "especially disingenuous," even for Obama, says Daniel Foster at National Review. What about Bush's $4 billion in aid, which "Obama supported" as a candidate? The president only made that disappear "when it became rhetorically convenient to do so."
"The Washington Post fact-checks Obama on the auto bailouts"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why are so many elderly Asians killing themselves?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- Driverless cars may be an environmental disaster
- Why I'm sick and tired of seeing naked women on HBO
- Why ABC threw its Bachelor under the bus
- Why Ted Cruz is the real-life Frank Underwood
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- Watch Zach Galifianakis get annoyed at President Obama on Between Two Ferns
- 4 easy ways to resolve life's toughest questions
Subscribe to the Week