Rep. Hensarling Fundraising Off Confrontation With Obama

February 03, 2010 9:00 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

At the House GOP retreat last Friday, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) confronted President Obama over the federal deficit.  Hensarling, the second-ranking Republican on the budget committee, claimed that "the old annual deficits under Republicans have now become the monthly deficits under Democrats," thanks largely to the Obama administration's policies. 

In response, the president scolded Hensarling for deliberately distorting the facts. "That's factually just not true, and you know it's not true," Obama said, explaining that the deficit was $1.3 trillion before he even took office.  "I am happy to have any independent fact checker out there take a look at your presentation versus mine in terms of the accuracy of what I just said," he added.    

The folks at, unsurprisingly, were eager to accept the president's challenge.  After analyzing both sides, they determined that Hensarling's claim relied on "some serious cherry-picking" and rated it "false." Meanwhile, they judged that Obama's case was "mostly true."

But Hensarling isn't backing away from his false attack.  In fact, the congressman is now attempting to raise money off his testy exchange with the president.  Yesterday, Hensarling sent a fundraising email to the subscribers of Patriot Update -- a far-right "birther" website -- boasting that Rush Limbaugh has come to his defense (shocking).  "I worked hard to become an eagle scout, and I consider myself a man of honor.  When I am wrong, I will be the first to admit it," Hensarling wrote. "But I am not wrong."

View part of the email below:

Confronting the president will surely elevate Hensarling's standing within the increasingly hostile conservative movement.  Unfortunately, the facts are still against him.