Earnest Really Doesn't Know His Electoral History, Claims Reagan Didn't Win Two Majorities in Popular Vote

July 28, 2016

White House press secretary Josh Earnest falsely and repeatedly claimed at Thursday's briefing that Barack Obama, not Ronald Reagan, was the first president since Dwight Eisenhower to win consecutive majorities of the popular vote.

Even when he was corrected by a reporter, Earnest insisted Reagan did not get at least 50 percent of the vote twice.

"I don't think it's a coincidence that President Obama is actually the first president since President Eisenhower to win two national elections back-to-back, earning a majority vote from the American people," Earnest said.

"Think you mean the first Democrat," a reporter said.

"Uh, the first one since Eisenhower, is actually the first president, Democrat or Republican, to get more than 50 percent of the vote twice," Earnest said.

"Reagan did it twice, actually," the reporter said.

"Reagan did not do it twice," Earnest said.

"He got 50.7 in 1980, but I digress," the reporter said.

Earnest was wrong and the reporter was right.

Reagan did take 50.7 percent of the vote in 1980, when he delivered a sound defeat to incumbent President Jimmy Carter. In 1984, he was reelected by a landslide, winning nearly 59 percent of the popular vote while claiming victory in every state except Minnesota and the District of Columbia. Although Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were both two-term presidents since Reagan, Bush was the only one to surpass 50 percent of the popular vote, doing it in 2004.