Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:01 am on April 26, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

When a politician on the campaign trail claims, “I’m just quoting, I’m just quoting” something from the opposition, you can bet your bottom dollar they probably aren’t.  Barack Obama insisted in his North Carolina speech on Tuesday that he was just quoting an unnamed Republican Congresswoman who supposedly attacked students for running up debt:

She said she had ‘very little tolerance for people who tell me they graduate with debt because there’s no reason for that.’  I’m just quoting here, I’m just quoting.

She said students who rack up student loan debt are just ‘sitting on their butts having opportunity dumped in your lap.’  I’m reading it here. So I didn’t make this up.

Well, actually, Obama wasn’t quoting Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), at least not accurately, and so he did make up his assertion.  As Katrina Trinko reported for National Review, Foxx wasn’t claiming that she couldn’t tolerate any students who took out student loans.  What she did say was that she had no tolerance for students who take out $80,000 or more in debt to get overly expensive education and then later claim poverty when it comes time to pay:

“I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that,” Foxx continued. “We live in an opportunity society and people are forgetting that. I remind folks all the time that the Declaration of Independence says ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ You don’t sit on your butt and have it dumped in your lap.”

How many of those who owe student-loan debt rise to that level?  Trinko did a little research:

According to a recent study by the New York Fed, 94 percent of student-loan debtors owe $75,000 or less. (Forty-three percent owe $10,000 or less.) So, Foxx was talking about a very small percentage — 6 percent! — of the student-loan debtor population, not all students.

But by omitting that crucial phrase — and Obama did not acknowledge he had omitted any of the quote — the president made Foxx appear to to be lambasting all students who graduate with debt, not the small percentage who graduate with $80,000 or more.

And actually, Foxx’s advice is a lot more helpful than Obama’s to these students.  Does Obama want young adults to get out of college with $200,000 in debt that they likely will never fully retire, leaving them financially crippled and unable to buy a house even if they get a decent-paying job?  Why does Obama hate students?

Or perhaps even more to the point, himself (via Jim Geraghty):

As Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Tribune wrote during the last campaign, Obama worked his way through college and law school – including jobs selling trinkets, making sandwiches at a deli in Hawaii and working as a telemarketer pitching subscriptions to The New York Times. Michelle’s early jobs included work as a camp counselor and a typist/assistant for the American Medical Association. In the early years, nobody would call the Obamas rich.

But according to their tax returns, which are available on the White House website, the Obamas had a healthy, six-figure income by the year 2000 (the earliest return available). And for at least two years before his loans were paid off, Obama, by his own definition, made so much they were wealthy enough to pay higher taxes.

Here’s a rundown of the president’s income, according to his tax returns, in the years before he paid off his student loans:

2004: $207,647

2003: $238,327

2002: $259,394

2001: $272,759

2000: $240,505

In 2001 and 2002, the Obamas would have met the $250,000 standard the president has set for those wealthy enough to afford to pay more taxes.

It’s also notable that the Obamas didn’t claim deductions for student loans on any of those years, most likely because they made too much money to qualify for the student loan deduction.

So even when he was “rich,” Obama couldn’t quite retire the student loans — and most of those students who fall into the high-debt category won’t win public office and write memoirs for extra income.  Wasn’t that Foxx’s actual point?

Of course, this is the same President who wants to force all of these young adults to buy expensive comprehensive health insurance that they don’t need in order to subsidize premiums for 45-64 year olds, too.  Pushing young adults into indentured servitude seems to be a habit of his.

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!

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Comment pages: 1 2

If O is going to talk about his student loans then he should be transparent and disclose the whole student picture. Where are his grades, and who paid his tuition? If he paid absolutely nothing up front for school what would his total time in college cost? What would Michelle’s cost. He didn’t pay any tuition selling trinkets. If anything that would have just paid for his cigs. Once again, this whole victimism about his high college debt means nothing without the full picture. He always talks like he’s part of the everyday man but he never gives any details that can be verified. If his debt was so vast why did he and Michelle lose their licenses?

elm on April 26, 2012 at 3:50 PM

From The Obama Timeline:

Obama is lying. Eight years ago would have been 2004. Obama’s financial disclosure statements, going back to the year 2000, list no outstanding education loans. As a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2004, Obama was required to file a financial disclosure form detailing his assets, income, consulting contracts, and liabilities. Obama listed zero for liabilities in 2004 and in all subsequent U.S. Senate financial disclosure forms. If Obama’s school loans had been paid off prior to 2000, then his statement that he had “only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago” is a lie—a pandering lie intended to make him and his wife appear to be “just another struggling middle class family.” If the loans had in fact not been paid off until about 2004, then he lied on his financial disclosure forms. Additionally, Obama and his wife declared income of $207,647 in 2004, and in 2005 they purchased a Chicago mansion for $1.65 million—hardly the circumstances of a young couple struggling to pay off student loans and raise two children. Obama, of course, expects no one in the audience or the media to check any facts. He wants the college students to believe that he is sympathetic to their financial plight by making them think he struggled financially; and he wants to leave the impression that Mitt Romney was born with advantages he never had.

Colony14 on April 26, 2012 at 5:38 PM

I am still trying to figure out what kind of a job one gets with a degree in “womyn’s studies.”

Colony14 on April 26, 2012 at 5:42 PM

I am still trying to figure out what kind of a job one gets with a degree in “womyn’s studies.”

Colony14 on April 26, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Teaching the next generation of students about ‘Womyn’s Studies’. That’s about it. Kind of a pyramid scheme, no?

slickwillie2001 on April 26, 2012 at 6:22 PM

The larger the percentage of the population is totally dependent on the government for their lives the more the power crazed maniacs like it. That’s why they scream when a black gets off the Democrat plantation. That’s why they shriek when a woman makes it and is a conservative. That is why welfare agents plead with their welfare clients not to take a job and get off welfare, “Think of MY job!”


herself on April 27, 2012 at 3:29 AM

Ed, didn’t you get the memo from the Romney campaign.
Obama is a nice guy and not a narcissist! he is just over his head! not get with the program!

nathor on April 27, 2012 at 6:51 AM

Comment pages: 1 2