We’re down to the final two entries for 2011, and coincidentally, this one’s a two-parter, from VIMH’s Jeff Dobbs.  Going back once again to Barack Obama’s interview with Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes, Obama didn’t want to leave the impression that he had overpromised on economic improvement, nor that he didn’t understand the task ahead of him:

Kroft: Did you overpromise? Did you underestimate how difficult this was gonna be?

Obama: I didn’t overpromise. And I didn’t underestimate how tough this was gonna be.

Two days later, however, Obama told a Seattle audience on KIRO that he actually did underestimate how bad it was:

President Barack Obama said Tuesday he wishes he knew the full extent of the economic crisis when he took office, if only so he could have let Americans know just how tough the coming years would be.

“I think we understood that it was bad, but we didn’t know how bad it was,” Obama said in an interview with KIRO in Seattle.

So he didn’t underestimate it before he did underestimate it?  John Kerry stands in awe, dude.

By the way, the GOP isn’t buying Obama’s latest explanation.  They put out a list of Obama quotes from before the 2008 election that shows he understood how bad the economy was:

September 2008: Obama: “We Are Going Through The Worst Financial Crisis Since The Great Depression.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks During First Presidential Debate, Oxford, MS, 9/26/08)

October 2008: Obama: “We Meet Here At A Time Of Great Uncertainty. Our Economy Is In Crisis.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks, La Crosse, WI, 10/1/08)

November 2008: Obama: “We Are Facing An Economic Crisis Of Historic Proportions.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks Announcing Members Of The Economic Team, Chicago, IL, 11/24/08)

And they also have links to plenty of people who knew exactly how bad things were going to get — some of whom told Obama, too:

The Evidence Doesn’t Support The White House’s Claim That No One Knew How Bad The Economy Was In 2009. “White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made a surprising assertion on MSNBC Wednesday, saying that in early 2009, as Barack Obama was taking office, there weren’t any major economists who understood just how bad the recession was. The problem is that the evidence doesn’t support his claim.” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

  • “In Reality, Though, Well-Respected Analysts And Economists From All Corners Were Sounding Alarms About The State Of The Economy — In Early 2009, And Even Before.” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

In January 2009, 78 Percent Of Economists Expected GDP To Continue Its Decline. “And a January 2009 survey of more than 100 economists, conducted by the National Association for Business Economics, found that that business conditions overall were the worst in the survey’s 27-year history. At the time, 78 percent of the economists said they expected GDP to keep falling.” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf Predicted Unemployment Above 9 Percent. “For example, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, testified before the House Budget Committee on January 27, 2009, that without immediate action, the economy would sag below its potential by nearly 7 percent for the next two years, and that unemployment would exceed 9 percent by early 2010 — something that actually happened four months later, in May 2009.” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

  • “Describing This Projected Gap Between Potential And Actual Economic Output, Elmendorf Called It The Largest Shortfall ‘In Terms Of Both Length And Depth … Since The Depression Of The 1930s.’” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

Martin Feldstein: “This Recession Is Likely To Last Longer And Be More Damaging” Than The Great Depression.  “Martin Feldstein, Harvard professor and former economic adviser to Ronald Reagan, wrote in January 2009 that ‘this recession is likely to last longer and be more damaging than any since the depression of the 1930’s.’” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

James Galbraith Compared America’s Condition To “A True Financial Crisis Of The Type In The 1930s.” “And James Galbraith, a left-leaning economist and former executive director of the Joint Economic Committee said, ‘there are many good reasons to think’ that America is in ‘a true financial crisis of the type in the 1930s.’” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

Actually, this turned out to be much more than a two-parter, didn’t it?  Obviously, I underestimated just how bad this OOTD actually was.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!