RNC Chairman Priebus Inflates Number Of Job Losses By More Than 23 Million

April 05, 2011 12:29 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

In response to the announcement of President Obama's reelection campaign yesterday, the Republican National Committee unveiled a falsehood-filled attack website and sent Chairman Reince Priebus on a media tour this morning. However, when it comes to talking about policy issues, the new party head has picked up where his gaffe-prone predecessor, Michael Steele, left off.

During an interview on NBC's Today, host Meredith Vieira asked Priebus whether recent job growth and other signs of recovery affect the Republican Party's economic message. Priebus bristled at the suggestion, ignoring 13 consecutive months of private-sector job creation and declaring that "we've lost 26 million jobs" under the Obama administration. He repeated the number, which is grossly exaggerated, twice.

PRIEBUS: Under this president, he's promised millions and millions of jobs. We've lost 26 million jobs, Meredith, since he's been president. He promised under an $850 billion stimulus program that we'd be on a path to recovery. Well, none of that has come true. He's completely trashed Medicare by raiding it by $500 billion to provide us a government-run health care program that nobody wants. I think that pointing out a snail's pace in the jobs numbers is not going to be enough to undo 26 million jobs that are lost.


Priebus added, "I think the American people are tired of the rhetoric and they want substance and this president is not providing it." But in reality, the neophyte chairman is the one struggling with substance.

It's not reasonable to blame Obama for the fact that he was inaugurated in the middle of an avalanche of job losses — the worst month of the recession was January 2009 — but even if you did, Priebus' claim that the president has overseen 26 million job losses isn't even close to accurate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy has lost a net 2.825 million jobs since February 2009, the first full month of the Obama administration. Priebus' talking point is inflated by more than 23 million jobs.

Meanwhile, Igor Volsky points out the blatant hypocrisy of Priebus criticizing the president for 'trashing' Medicare on the same day that House Republicans are introducing a plan that "would essentially end" the program.

For more on the RNC's dishonest attacks on President Obama, click HERE.