We don’t try to play gotcha here at The Fact Checker. When Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) was ridiculed for saying last week that 170 million jobs would be lost because of the sequester, we dropped our inquiry when we realized she had corrected her statement — to the official Congressional Budget Office estimate of 750,000 jobs — later in the same news conference. Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s understandable.
The quicker the mistake is cleaned up, the better. As Education Secretary Arne Duncan showed this week, a little humility, even a bit late, can be a good thing.
But a clean-up brigade shouldn’t simply try to deflect and obfuscate. Apparently, the president assumed — incorrectly — that the janitors on Capitol Hill would get a pay cut. Rather than admit an error, White House aides doubled down on their talking points about overtime being essential to their livelihood, without actually knowing the truth.
Clearly, the sequester is hurting segments of the government and will cut the pay of some government workers. It would be better to focus on those people rather than imaginary victims.