Political Correction

Fact Checking the Sunday Shows - January 31, 2010

February 01, 2010 10:07 am ET

On Sunday, January 31, 2010, it was abundantly clear what the Republicans' talking points were.  On Sunday show after Sunday show, the Republican guests repeated falsehoods about Democrats' actions to tackle the recession.  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD), were the worst offenders, repeatedly spreading falsehoods about the economy, jobs, the deficit, and health care.

Fox News Sunday

CLAIM: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) Falsely Claims The Recovery Act didn't help grow the economy.

REP. PAUL RYAN: We're looking at what works to grow the economy, and this doesn't work, and more importantly, the debt and the deficit is just getting out of control, and the administration is still pumping through billions upon trillions of new spending. That does not grow the economy. If borrowing and spending all this money led to more jobs, then we'd be at full employment already.

FACT: In the fourth quarter of 2009, the economy grew at the fastest pace in six years, largely due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

CLAIM: Rep. Paul Ryan claims America needs to reduce the deficit, lower taxes.

REP. PAUL RYAN: Economists are telling us, stop doing all of this spending. Get your handle on the debt and the deficit, and lower tax rates, for employers, for workers, that's the best way to grow the economy.

FACT: Tax cuts reduce revenue and increase the deficit.

This Week

CLAIM: Sen. Thune falsely claimed the Administration has pursued policies that are "job killers."

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): Many of the proposals the administration has put forward are jobs killers.

FACT: Initiatives pursued by President Obama and Democrats in Congress would create millions of American jobs.

The Recovery Act Created Millions Of American Jobs

Clean Energy Legislation Would Create Millions Of American Jobs

Health Care Reform Would Create 400,000 American Jobs

Clearly, health care reform that reduces premium growth is economic policy as well as health policy. The reform goals of a healthier America are well understood. In this paper, however, we demonstrate a less emphasized point about the health care reform legislation currently before Congress-if successful, its provisions can lower the costs of business and increase both the number of jobs by 250,000 to 400,000 annually over the next decade and increase wage growth.

Health care reform that includes even more robust measures to contain health care costs could further enhance job creation. In an economy that has lost 5 million jobs in the past year and where wages have stagnated for many years, this is a strong reason to pass health care reform that contains growth in health care costs and modernizes the U.S. health care system. [Center for American Progress, New Jobs Through Better Health Care, January 2010; emphasis added]

CLAIM: Sen. Thune falsely claimed the Massachusetts special election was a "referendum on health care."

SEN. JOHN THUNE: Coming back to what Massachusetts was about, I think there are different interpretations of that, the administration says, 'well we just need to retool our message.' I think the message was, 'we want to change directions. This thing is moving too fast toward more government.' It was a referendum on health care.

FACT: Polling shows that, like the nation as a whole, Bay Staters support the aims of health care reform and want Sen.-elect Scott Brown to work with Democrats on health care reform.

Poll: Massachusetts Voters Are Happier With Obama Policies Than With Republican Policies.  When Massachusetts special election voters were asked about their opinions of Washington policies,

"How do you personally feel about the policies offered by the Republicans in Congress?" only

     40% enthusiastic/satisfied
     58% dissatisfied/angry

"How do you personally feel about the Obama administration's policies?" 

     52% enthusiastic/satisfied
     47% dissatisfied/angry
     [Washington Post, accessed 1/26/10]

Meet the Press

CLAIM: Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) falsely claimed that American citizens want President Obama and Congress to stop acting on the current agenda.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER: "There aren't that many places where we can come together.  The president was the most liberal member of the United States Senate.  You don't get there by accident.  And if you look at the policies that we've seen over the course of this year from the administration and his Democrat colleagues in Congress, there are all these leftist proposals.  And the people of Massachusetts, the people of Virginia, the people of New Jersey are sending a pretty loud signal, just like the other 47 states, to Washington saying 'Stop!  This is way more than we ever wanted Washington to do.'"

FACT: A majority of Americans support the proposals put forth by the White House.

"What was your overall reaction to President Obama's speech tonight: very positive, somewhat positive, somewhat negative, or very negative?"

     Very Positive: 48%
     Somewhat Positive: 30%
     Somewhat Negative: 15%
     Very Negative: 6%
     Mixed/Unsure: 2%

"Do you think the policies being proposed by Barack Obama will move the country in the right direction or the wrong direction?"

     Right Direction: 71%
     Wrong Direction: 27%
     Unsure: 2%

"So far, would you say Barack Obama has had the right priorities, or that he hasn't paid enough attention to the country's most important problems?"

     Right Priorities: 55%
     Hasn't Paid Attention to Biggest Problems: 44%
     Unsure: 1%

"How confident are you in Barack Obama's abilities to carry out his duties as president: very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not confident at all?"

     Very Confident: 38%
     Somewhat Confident: 28%
     Not Too Confident: 22%
     Not at all Confident: 12%

"Do you think that President Obama's plan will or will not succeed in . . . ?"

"Improving the Economy"

     Will Succeed: 67%
     Will Not Succeed: 32%
     Unsure: 1%

"Creating or saving millions of jobs"

     Will Succeed: 59%
     Will Not Succeed: 39%
     Unsure: 3%

"Improving the nation's health care system"

     Will Succeed: 51%
     Will Not Succeed: 46%br> Unsure: 4%

"Reducing the federal budget deficit"

     Will Succeed: 49%
     Will Not Succeed: 47%
     Unsure: 4%

"Do you think President Obama's speech tonight shows that he will have the same goals and priorities that he had last year, or do you think his speech shows that he will move his administration in a new direction this year?"

     Same Goals, Priorities: 50%
     New Direction: 49%
     Unsure: 1%

[CNN/Opinion Research Poll, 1/27/10; via PollingReport.com accessed 1/31/10]

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