WaPo fact checker: Obama’s auto-bailout speech “one of the most misleading collections of assertions”

posted at 12:38 pm on June 7, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Specious accounting, overblown claims, and dishonest representations — sounds like a short description of Obamanomics, doesn’t it?  As the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler concludes, it also describes Barack Obama’s attempt to defend his policy on further intervention into the auto industry.  Kessler rates his recent speech as a three-Pinocchio affair, thanks to a series of parsed claims at which Anthony Weiner can only marvel:

We take no view on whether the administration’s efforts on behalf of the automobile industry were a good or bad thing; that’s a matter for the editorial pages and eventually the historians. But we are interested in the facts the president cited to make his case.

What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan.

Kessler actually finds one misleading statement for each of the three Pinocchios he awards Obama for the speech.  First, Obama claimed that “Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers for their support during my presidency — and it repaid that money six years ahead of schedule,” but that relies very much on the bolded qualifying phrase (emphasis mine).  Kessler looks into the numbers and discovers that Obama is only discussing the $8.5 billion his administration loaned Chrysler.  Obama conveniently excludes the $4 billion that George Bush loaned Chrysler, an action Kessler notes that Obama supported at the time.  Taxpayers will lose more than $1.3 billion on loans to Chrysler, not break even or the “and more” that Obama claims.

Next, Obama claims that GM plans to rehire all of the laid-off workers that they let go “during the recession,” but this is even more deceptive.  Since the recession’s start in late 2007, GM has let go over 68,000 workers.  Obama’s statement refers to just 9600 let go in the fourth quarter of 2008, almost half (4100) of whom were only temporarily furloughed anyway.  The rest were put on indefinite leave, and all but 1000 have returned already to their jobs, with the rest expected back by the end of the year.

Finally, Obama once again trotted out the canard that Republicans wanted to do nothing in 2009 but stand by and watch GM and Chrysler fail.  Kessler doesn’t mention the fact that Republicans intervened in 2008 with bailout loans during the Bush administration, but he does note that even those opposed to the second round of loans weren’t advocating doing nothing at all.  Kessler also doesn’t mention the fact that Ford refused the bailout money and managed to survive without government intervention, while taxpayers spent tens of billions of dollars floating two corporations that have spent decades digging their own financial graves.  In the end, Chrysler disappeared as an American automaker, getting bought by Fiat, and taxpayers ended up carrying the weight of GM and Chrysler pension plans, thanks to the politically-engineered bankruptcies imposed on stakeholders of both firms.

Kessler finishes with this devastating critique:

If the auto industry bailout is really a success, there should be no need to resort to trumped-up rhetoric and phony accounting to make your case.

The fact that the White House offers nothing else is all we need to know about the “success” of Obama’s bailouts.

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YOU LIE

Good Lt on June 7, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Did I mention I killed Osama bin Laden?

KeepOhioRed on June 7, 2011 at 12:43 PM

How is this any different than the crap Obama usually throws against the wall.

We all know this idiot doesn’t understand basic math.

tetriskid on June 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

“If ever, before, during and after my Presidancy, should a company pay back the government for a loan it has taken to expound on the notion that there should be No Business left Behind or Broke, I would and will take the time to thank tham, as it was myself and only myself, who is the greastest man in the world, that has given them the right to take a loan and be able to pay every cent back plus more, even if it was not under my administration and watch….. blah blah blah”

- Obama

upinak on June 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

But he’s just so damn clean and articulate.

carbon_footprint on June 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

PS: But vote for him again, anyway!

Caper29 on June 7, 2011 at 12:45 PM

However we blame Bush…./s

Oil Can on June 7, 2011 at 12:46 PM

I won…

right2bright on June 7, 2011 at 12:46 PM

The bailouts were a success. Two of the big three are now owned by the US government, unions, and foreign countries.

Thats a double eagle, baby.

BobMbx on June 7, 2011 at 12:49 PM

“Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk was a lie.”

PatriotRider on June 7, 2011 at 12:50 PM

The fact-checker is a new hire? Because the same could be said for just about every speech so far.

Vashta.Nerada on June 7, 2011 at 12:51 PM

“Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk Weiner…!”

FIFY…!

Seven Percent Solution on June 7, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Next, Obama claims that GM plans to rehire all of the laid-off workers that they let go “during the recession,”

And I plan on riding my unicorn this afternoon.

rbj on June 7, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Well at least the Chevy Volt was a good idea.

Oh wait.

fogw on June 7, 2011 at 12:53 PM

TOTUS is a serial liar. Good to see this slight acknowledgement of that fact in WaPo.

petefrt on June 7, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Yeah, but I bet he knows all about Paul Revere’s ride!

steebo77 on June 7, 2011 at 12:57 PM

If the auto industry bailout is really a success, there should be no need to resort to trumped-up rhetoric and phony accounting to make your case.

Obowma is going to bring back the Inquisitions for such heresy…

Seven Percent Solution on June 7, 2011 at 12:57 PM

What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech.

Just this one?..WTF?

You obviously haven’t been paying attention for the lsat 2 1/2 years.

This one was relatively

Tim_CA on June 7, 2011 at 12:58 PM

benign.

Tim_CA on June 7, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Did I mention I killed Osama bin Laden?

KeepOhioRed on June 7, 2011 at 12:43 PM

ding ding ding

cmsinaz on June 7, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I am totally dumbfounded that there are people who still support this pantload. Where’s the outrage!

rjoco1 on June 7, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Has this man not one iota of shame ?

Sandybourne on June 7, 2011 at 1:01 PM

If the auto industry bailout is really a success, there should be no need to resort to trumped-up rhetoric and phony accounting to make your case.

Are some of these journalists just now waking up to the pathological lying of this president?

Joe Wilson wasn’t fooled…

Fallon on June 7, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Yeah. He may lie about a lot of stuff but he plays a lot of golf.

So there’s that.

catmman on June 7, 2011 at 1:03 PM

WaPo fact checker: Obama’s auto-bailout speech “one of the most misleading collections of assertions”

welcome to the real world bub

cmsinaz on June 7, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Just be honest and call it what it is: a lie.

Uhh..I bet… he… Uhhhh… I bet he gives a mean lecture about the Uhhh… historicity of Paul Revere’s ride through all 57 states.

darclon on June 7, 2011 at 1:03 PM

At least he hasn’t shown us his pecs like Weiner. Oh, wait.

faraway on June 7, 2011 at 1:05 PM

TOTUS is a serial liar. Good to see this slight acknowledgement of that fact in WaPo.

petefrt on June 7, 2011 at 12:53 PM

I think I used that exact term in my comment on WaPo, pete. Another commenter there, crushed by the notion of a criticism of Obama in a 99% liberal rag, asserted that Kessler is a GOP propagandist.

Heh. In a newspaper run by liberals from the penthouse to the mailroom, they have found a GOP mole!

Jaibones on June 7, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Virtually e Every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk was is a lie.”

PatriotRider on June 7, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Since we’re fixing the comment, hehe.

Midas on June 7, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Has this man not one iota of shame ?

Sandybourne on June 7, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Yes, he has not one iota of shame.

Midas on June 7, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Obama: “I wake up every single morning thinking about what I can do to help the economy, help the American people.”

Lie.

Obama: “Anyone seen my sand wedge”

Truth.

fogw on June 7, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Midas on June 7, 2011 at 1:08 PM

I stand corrected….heh..

PatriotRider on June 7, 2011 at 1:12 PM

More like every time Obamao’s lips are moving it’s a Pinocchio affair.

Gang-of-One on June 7, 2011 at 1:12 PM

I have said it more times than I can count, but Obama is a classic Chicago Democrat Machine politician, in that he can talk out of both sides of his mouth and lie through his teeth, all at the exact same time.

This auto bailout speech he gave is a textbook example of that fact.

pilamaye on June 7, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Specious accounting, overblown claims, and dishonest representations — sounds like a short description of Obamanomics, doesn’t it?

Also sounds like an accurate description of Barry Obama’s entire life.

AZCoyote on June 7, 2011 at 1:13 PM

A retort in haiku form:
Stimulus for naught
My presidency is done

Oh look – a puppy!

Huckabye-Romney on June 7, 2011 at 1:19 PM

What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech.

Apparently they’ve missed all of Barry’s speeches about the “virtues” of Obamacare:

– if you like your coverage, you can keep your coverage (except that 1/3 of all employers now say they’ll be dropping your healthcare coverage as soon as Obamacare is implemented);
– your medical costs will go down (except that they won’t; medical costs and insurance premiums are skyrocketing, and economists say they will continue to do so);
– it will save Medicare (except that it won’t; Obamacare cut 1/2 Trillion dollars from Medicare);
– it will cut the deficit (except that it won’t; even the Obamacare-pimping CBO now says it will actually add billions to the deficit).

AZCoyote on June 7, 2011 at 1:22 PM

PAUL REVERE!!!!

SouthernGent on June 7, 2011 at 1:23 PM

President BS Artist

novaculus on June 7, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Obama, hero of the US auto industry and the US taxpayer*

======

* YMMV

Paul-Cincy on June 7, 2011 at 1:25 PM

When you’ve lost WaPo…wait one, hasn’t this happened before? Here’s a tip to SP, collect all the articles from the MSM where Obummer lost them and work them into your spiel – nothing stings more than using the lsm’s own words of objectivity against teh Won.

AH_C on June 7, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Obama couldn’t be reached for comment about his lies….except to complain about the length of rough at Congressional.

search4truth on June 7, 2011 at 1:33 PM

sure his auto comments were a misleading pack of lies. but in what way are they different from any other Obama comments?

exceller on June 7, 2011 at 1:36 PM

For Obama, words have always been an adequate subsitute for concrete results. No wonder he thinks he can lie his way to national prosperity.

Cicero43 on June 7, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Checking facts? Investigating? Then TELLING THE TRUTH!!!1!?

This is not the WaPo that I know.

iurockhead on June 7, 2011 at 1:51 PM

How is this any different than the crap Obama usually throws against the wall.

We all know this idiot doesn’t understand basic math.

tetriskid on June 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Neither does his base. Half of them are phenomenally stupid, those that think welfare payments come from “Obama’s stash”, and the other half are willing to give him a pass, for the cause of international socialism.

slickwillie2001 on June 7, 2011 at 2:09 PM

And for the record, it doesn’t really count as “paid back” when the government loans money to Fiat, who then pays back the older loan under the name “Chrysler”.

That kind of lying deserves a lot more stern language than “pinochios”.

More like Bullsh*t

deadrody on June 7, 2011 at 2:19 PM

In the Toledo area today, when Obama is mentioned, seems people choose to remember his hitting Rudy’s for a couple hot dogs, and have pretty much blown off his Jeep speech already.

Obama can’t even get a good sound-bite out of this latest trip to the Glass City.

Wake up, Toledo (and Ohio, for that matter). Obama is not your salvation…never was, never will be.

And did anyone expect anything less than a Chicago hustle on that little Chrysler loan being paid back? Well, see, Marvin owes me a couple bucks, and I owe Marvin’s brother a couple bucks…

coldwarrior on June 7, 2011 at 2:26 PM

taxpayers ended up carrying the weight of GM and Chrysler pension plans, thanks to the politically-engineered bankruptcies imposed on stakeholders of both firms.

If ’65 Oldsmobiles and Plymouths don’t run any more, why are taxpayers still paying those who built them?

Bye, bye, Miss American Pie
Can’t drive my Chevy to the levee and it’s makin’ me cry
Union boys who built it are friskin’ me dry
And that’s why I bought a Hyundai.

Steve Z on June 7, 2011 at 2:29 PM

At least he hasn’t shown us his pecs like Weiner. Oh, wait.

faraway on June 7, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Don’t you remember “I got a crush on Obama”?

Well, “at least he hasn’t shown us his pecker like Weiner”.

FIFY.

Steve Z on June 7, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Oh,
I wish I were a liar like that Weiner
That is what I truly wish to be
cause if I were a liar like that Weiner
everyone could reelect
oh everyone should reelect
yes everyone would re-e-e-elect me

/Barry da Wiener

Yoop on June 7, 2011 at 2:34 PM

I never had sexual relations with that woman.

There are no American tanks in Baghdad.

Chrysler has repaid every dime!

bitsy on June 7, 2011 at 2:34 PM

I never had sexual relations with that woman.

There are no American tanks in Baghdad.

Chrysler has repaid every dime!

bitsy on June 7, 2011 at 2:34 PM

You forgot the biggest lie: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

slickwillie2001 on June 7, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Finally, the Post downplays the fact that GM is in the process of rehiring of thousands of workers who were laid off as part of the restructuring. The President will be the first one to tell you that we will not rest until every American who is looking for a job can find one. But we will also not apologize for touting the rehiring of nearly 10,000 American manufacturing workers and the fact that soon no GM employees will be laid-off as good news.

Dan Pfeiffer is White House Communications Director

Except when he’s resting on the golf course. But even then, I guess he’s laser-focused on the economy. Probably the first thing he thinks of when wakes up, and the last thing he thinks about before he goes to sleep.

BobMbx on June 7, 2011 at 3:15 PM

No wonder he thinks he can lie his way to national prosperity.

Cicero43 on June 7, 2011 at 1:49 PM

He’s already lied his way to personal prosperity. No wonder he thinks it’ll work on a national scale.

AZCoyote on June 7, 2011 at 4:41 PM

No wonder he thinks he can lie his way to national prosperity.

Cicero43 on June 7, 2011 at 1:49 PM

He’s already lied his way to personal prosperity. No wonder he thinks it’ll work on a national scale.

AZCoyote on June 7, 2011 at 4:41 PM

There aren’t enough Bill Ayers to go round for that.

slickwillie2001 on June 7, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk

Fixed.

disa on June 7, 2011 at 5:59 PM

What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk,

It’s a start but I’ll believe WaPO has changed when they pursue this poser with the same vengeance they pursued Nixon otherwise to little to late.

chemman on June 7, 2011 at 6:27 PM

3 Pinnocchios!

Rea1ityCheck on June 7, 2011 at 9:50 PM

Maybe the Obama-asscrawlers are beginning to emerge.

Schadenfreude on June 7, 2011 at 9:57 PM