Politics

21 Pinocchios and Counting

AP

The Washington Post’s "Fact Checker" blog has called out President Barack Obama and his administration at least 19 times and given him a total of 21 Pinocchios since his second term began.

The Washington Post gave Obama two Pinocchios today for comments he made asserting that 500,000 jobs have been created in manufacturing.

The Washington Post noted:

During a speech calling on Congress to halt a hike in the student loan rate, President Obama referenced the creation of 500,000 manufacturing jobs since February 2010 as part of the opening sentence in a paragraph touting good news about the economy. […]

While the president has long preferred to point to the gain in jobs since early 2010 — the low point in employment during his presidency — the fact remains that manufacturing employment remains about 600,000 jobs smaller than when he took office. That stands in stark contrast to overall nonfarm employment — which is 2 million jobs larger.

Moreover, the growth in manufacturing jobs has basically stalled over the past year. The president’s continued use of this 500,000-job statistic, even as other job stats keep improving, suggests the news is not as good as advertised. Without some presidential acknowledgment that manufacturing job growth has slowed in the past year, it might be time to retire this talking point.

The president made similar statements touting the creation of 500,000 manufacturing jobs back in September and at his State of the Union address. As a result, they doubted the idea that these statistics would remain the same for nine months.

Obama was fact checked 92 times, with an average Pinocchio rating of 2.11 during the 2012 election.

The Washington Free Beacon has complied a list of the president’s top 3 lies of the new term.

1. At the start of the sequester, Obama claimed, "all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol… The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they’ve got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real."

The Fact Checker:

Stephen T. Ayers, the architect of the Capitol, listed a number of steps being taken to reduce expenses, including limiting new hiring and postponing repairs. This line jumped out at us: "We do not anticipate furloughs for AOC employees as a result of Sequestration."

In other words, no pay is being cut for workers at the Architect of the Capitol. […]

Indeed, Obama’s remarks at the news conference so alarmed Capitol Hill officials that an e-mail was sent by the Capitol building superintendent that comments that people who clean the building would get a cut in pay were "NOT true."

Obama received four Pinocchios for this statement, the highest Pinocchio ranking.

2. While pushing for gun control legislation, Obama "continued" to make the claim that 40 percent of gun sales lack background checks.

The Fact Checker:

"FACT: Nearly 40% of all gun sales don't require a background check under current law. #DemandAction"

—   tweet from @BarackObama, March 28

There are two key problems with the president’s use of this statistic: The numbers are about two decades old, yet he acts as if they are fresh, and he refers to "purchases" or "sales" when in fact the original report concerned "gun acquisitions" and "transactions."  Those are much broader categories of data. …

The president’s failure to acknowledge the significant questions about these old data, or his slippery phrasing, leaves us little choice but to downgrade this claim to Three Pinocchios.

3. Obama claimed during the campaign that he called Benghazi a terrorist attack immediately after it occurred. At a news conference in May he reiterated that saying, "The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism."

The Fact Checker:

Once again, it appears that we must parse a few presidential words. We went through this question at length during the 2012 election, but perhaps a refresher course is in order. […]

So, given three opportunities to affirmatively agree that the Benghazi attack was a terrorist attack, the president obfuscated or ducked the question.

In fact, as far as we can tell from combing through databases, Monday was the first time the president himself referred to Benghazi as an "act of terrorism." […]

But the president’s claim that he said "act of terrorism" is taking revisionist history too far, given that he repeatedly refused to commit to that phrase when asked directly by reporters in the weeks after the attack. He appears to have gone out of his way to avoid saying it was a terrorist attack, so he has little standing to make that claim now.

Obama received four Pinocchios for this statement.