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June 23, 2009

Obama Press Conference Follow-up

I managed to watch most of the presser online and just wanted to highlight a few outright lies.

(1) When the President claims that cap and tax will be paid for only by polluters, implying that it will not have an impact on the economy, he fails Economics 101. Polluters, aka producers of goods and services, aren't going to magic up the money to pay for cap and trade out of nowhere. That money will be felt by consumers (and by every entity in the chain of commerce between the first cap-and-taxed company and the consumer). Prices will rise. The President's intimation that they won't is an outright lie.

(2) Obama stated that healthcare is "the primary driver of federal deficits." This is an outright lie. In fact, in 2008, the federal government spent $600,121,000,000 on healthcare (Medicare, Medicaid). That's 20.4% of the $2.93 trillion spent last year. By contrast, the government spent $615,256,000,000--20.9%--on social security. The government spent $607,863,000,000--20.7%--on national defense.

Perhaps the President meant that healthcare will become the primary driver of federal deficits if Congress passes his $1 trillion plan (although, the spendulus gives it stiff competition, counting interest payments).

(3) As I expected, the President tried to claim that he had not reversed himself on Iran by adopting a firmer stance. It's true that he is trying to have it both ways--condemning violence for us, but hoping that Ahmadinejad will see his tepid response for what it is. As expected, Obama used his favorite phrase "As I said last week" to claim that he hasn't changed his stance in response to criticism. The fact is, his statement "last week" came on Saturday--long after most of the Western world had already condemned the Iranian government and long after Congress and many Americans had condemned the President for being chill with brutal dictatorship.

(4) This last is just because I'm a little punchy. But Obama claimed once again to be a "former smoker." That must be a new euphemism for "one who smokes not every day and not around family" because that's what he said immediately after claiming to be a former smoker.

Aside from Obama's lies, he engaged in typical political exagerations throughout. It was especially egregious when he feigned ignorance about the effect a public healthcare option would have on private insurers.

The only other noteworthy moment I saw was during the last question when he talked about Iran failing to live up to "international norms of freedom of speech; freedom of expression." Helen Thomas, Harpy-emeritus of the White House Press Corp, screeched from off camera and off mic: "What about the Iraq photos?!?!" I assume that she's referring to photographs of dead troops and abuses at Abu Ghraib, which the Obama Administration (like Bush 43) has been loath to release.

Oh yeah: His Arrogance Obama, First of His Name, Master of All He Surveys and Muncher of Fine Arugula snotted that "Congress can do what it's going to do" but that "I'm the President, and I'm going to run my office the way I see fit." He was responding to quoted criticism from John McCain. It was a reprise of his earlier sneering "I won" delivered, apparently, whenever McCain's or Bush 43's names come up.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 01:12 PM

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