Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.) created an outcry in September 2009 when he blurted out "You lie!" at President Barack Obama while he discussed health care reform before Congress.
Wilson may have been off base on the particular claim on which he challenged Obama, but it turns out he was ahead of the curve. A host of statements by Obama since his first campaign for president up through this past month have been proven to be false or completely contradictory to earlier statements.
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The public has caught up to Wilson, as well. Sixty-one percent of voters said in a Fox News poll that they believe Obama lies "most" or "some" of the time on important issues. On everything ranging from Obamacare to Syria to Fast & Furious to Benghazi, the fact-checkers have agreed.
Feb. 26, 2008
"What I've said is, at the point where I'm the nominee, at the point where it's appropriate, I will sit down with John McCain and make sure that we have a system that works for everybody."
Obama said this while being challenged by the late Meet the Press host Tim Russert during a Democratic primary debate with Hillary Clinton. Obama had written in 2007 that if he were to capture the nomination, he would "aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."
In the end, Obama did not "keep the money out" of politics, recognizing that he would have far more cash on hand from his private contributions and choosing to not participate in the general election’s public financing system.
PolitiFact rated this a "Full Flop."
Feb. 28, 2008
"There’s a slight difference, and her plan is a good one. But, she mandates that everybody buy health care. She’d have the government force every individual to buy insurance and I don’t have such a mandate because I don’t think the problem is that people don’t want health insurance, it’s that they can’t afford it."
While discussing the differences between his and Clinton’s health care plans with comedian Ellen Degeneres, Obama asserted that he did not need a "mandate" on the people to purchase health insurance for his policy to work, saying "it would be like forcing the homeless to buy homes."
A mandate, however, ultimately proved to be a central tenet of the Affordable Care Act, more popularly referred to as Obamacare. It’s also proven to be a flexible part of the law too; Obama’s individual and employer mandates have been delayed multiple times for political cover. Maybe Obama is returning to his earlier view.
Oct. 7, 2008 – Oct. 25, 2013
"If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."
In what will likely go down as the most infamous words of his presidency, Obama made some variation of this promise about Obamacare starting in 2008 and did not let up until its disastrous launch in October of 2013.
He made it in debates against John McCain and Mitt Romney, campaign rallies, town hall meetings, and weekly video addresses. It was a very good selling point, if it turned out to be true. After all, the majority of Americans were already insured and many of them liked their policies.
Then the cancellations began flooding in as insurance companies told their slack-jawed customers their plans no longer complied with federal regulations. The president’s approval rating went into free fall, and he actually apologized, rather passively, in an interview with Chuck Todd last November.
The same went for Americans who also lost their choice of doctor due to provisions of Obamacare, also despite the White House’s assurances to the contrary.
PolitiFact named this the "Lie of the Year" for 2013.
Jan. 27, 2010
"With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities."
During the 2010 State of the Union address, Obama attacked the Supreme Court’s "Citizens United "decision and continued his rhetoric attacking "big money" in politics.
Campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in July of 2011 that neither Obama nor his campaign staff would fundraise for Super PACS. Yet, in 2012, as Obama faced a difficult re-election battle, the announcement came that indeed White House officials would raise money for Priorities USA, a liberal super PAC.
PolitiFact rated this a "Full Flop."
Feb. 6, 2011
"Bill, I didn’t raise taxes once."
Obama said this to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly during the traditional Super Bowl Sunday sit-down with whichever network broadcasts the game that year.
As PolitiFact pointed out, Obama had by that time raised taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products, not to mention the various taxes imposed by the Obamacare health care law.
PolitiFact rated this "False."
Sept. 20, 2012
"I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration."
During a Univision interview at the University of Miami, Obama sought cover from the gun-running scandal by claiming Fast and Furious was enacted during the Bush administration.
A day earlier, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General issued a 512-page report that clearly stated Fast and Furious started in October 2009, nine months after Obama was inaugurated. A similar program during the Bush years was operated also out of the Phoenix ATF Division, but it wasn’t the same one.
PolitiFact rated this "False."
Feb. 14, 2013
"This is the most transparent administration in history."
The administration often points to the White House visitor logs as a tangible example of its commitment to transparency. However, emails revealed that lobbyists sometimes meet with senior White House staff in a Caribou Coffee cafe across the street from the executive mansion to avoid being included in the visitor logs.
The administration’s reforms to the Freedom of Information Act have also fallen short of its goals.
A government-wide audit performed by the National Security Archives in December found 62 of 99 federal agencies have not updated their FOIA regulations since Attorney General Eric Holder issued a 2009 memorandum instructing them to adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure.
CNN’s Jake Tapper, after pointing out that the administration had prosecuted whistleblowers under the Espionage Act more than all previous administrations combined, was fact-checked and found to be telling the truth by PolitiFact. Also, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in October the administration's crackdown on reporters had created a "tremendous chilling effect" on substantive reporting.
May 13, 2013
"With respect to Benghazi … the day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism."
Obama, barely containing the anger in his voice after being forced to address Benghazi at a press conference, asserted he called the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate an "act of terrorism," but he never did.
In fact, in the Rose Garden and at campaign events in the days following the attack, Obama said that "no act of terror" could ever shake the resolve of the country. He did not directly call it an "act of terrorism," perhaps in keeping with his campaign credo about having al Qaeda on the run.
Indeed, at first the administration peddled the false narrative that the Benghazi assault was the spontaneous result of a protest against an anti-Islamic video. The Washington Post noted the initial unedited talking points didn’t call it an "act of terrorism" either.
The Washington Post’s "Fact-Checker" gave this claim Four Pinocchios, its harshest rating.
Sept. 4, 2013
"I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line."
Obama said this in Stockholm, Sweden, in the midst of a fierce debate in the United States over how to handle Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on his own people.
But on Aug. 20, 2012, during a surprise visit to the daily White House press briefing, Obama said the following regarding Assad’s regime:
"We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus."
When evidence came to light that Assad had used weapons of mass destruction, Obama waffled as his plan to order military strikes against Syria grew increasingly unpopular with Congress and the public.
He had very clearly spoken about chemical weapons usage changing "my calculus." When the pressure rose, Obama bailed on his past statement and put the onus on the world community.
Nov. 4. 2013
"Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really liked that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed."
Maybe the only thing worse than his dozens of promises about health care was Obama’s lame attempt to re-write history during a speech for "Organizing For Action," the shadowy nonprofit that grew out of his re-election campaign.
Obama repeatedly punctuated his "Keep your plan" promise with an emphatic "period," once saying, "No one will take it away. No matter what." He never said anything about Americans’ insurance plans being subject to cancellation if standards changed once the ACA became law.
PolitiFact designated this ridiculous claim "Pants On Fire."
Feb. 2, 2014
"Not even mass corruption. Not even a smidgeon of corruption."
So Obama told Bill O’Reilly in his most recent Super Bowl interview about the embattled IRS, who acknowledged its Cincinnati office improperly targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status last May.
Former IRS official Lois Lerner faces criminal prosecution after emails revealed she took particular interest in auditing Crossroads GPS, the conservative nonprofit founded by Karl Rove, and she’s already been cited for contempt for refusing to testify about her involvement.
High-level officials in Washington also knew that the Cincinnati office engaged in improper targeting.
Also, ProPublica reported that "the same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year."
April 8, 2014
"Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns."
Obama and many other Democrats have repeated this dishonest talking point in order to exploit the gender gap in American politics. The pay gap is the result of gender prejudice, they say, and women must work all the way through April of the following year to make the money a man makes in one year.
But, as a report from the Wall Street Journal showed, this is both misleading and completely illogical. Rather, factors such as career choice, risk, education level, marriage, and bearing children play a huge role in the disparate pay figures. Also, the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics report stated that "men were almost twice as likely as women to work more than 40 hours a week, and women almost twice as likely to work only 35 to 39 hours per week."
Obama would have voters believe Republicans are conspiring to ensure women never receive equal pay for equal work. But that is simply not true.
Just like most of what Obama says.