By: Matt Wolking (Office of Speaker of the House John A. Boehner)
In 2013, President Obama’s promise that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” was named Politifact’s “Lie of the Year.” In 2014, amid a mountain of stumbles and scandals, his rhetoric wasn’t received any better.
In May, the White House claimed President Obama first heard about secret waiting lists and deaths at the VA on the news, despite evidence to the contrary. CNN’s Drew Griffin said this was absurd, and more of the administration’s sloppy spin prompted National Journal’s Ron Fournier to ask, “How Dumb Does Obama Think We Are?”
It was a prescient question considering comments made by frequent White House visitor and ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber, who said “the stupidity of the American voter” was “critical to getting the thing to pass” and bragged repeatedly about helping the president pull one over on the public. When asked about this, President Obama pretended he didn’t know that guy and denied misleading Americans about the law.
His unilateral action was another lowlight. President Obama said 22 times that he couldn’t ignore or create his own immigration law – and then he did. Just like his reasoning for rejecting the Keystone pipeline, his explanations for his flip-flop on executive action didn’t fool anyone.
And that was, of course, just one of these four things he hid from Americans until after the November election.
Looking back on 2014, from the continued cover-up of the IRS scandal, to all the president’s missing hard drives, to his dishonesty regarding the national debt, to the administration’s bogus ObamaCare enrollment numbers, there’s a clear pattern of hiding the truth and misleading Americans.
Indeed, fact checkers had a field day with President Obama this year. The Washington Post alone awarded him a total of 47 Pinocchios, plus one Upside-Down Pinocchio (the worst possible rating).
Here they are, in chronological order:
- “Unprecedented inspections help the world verify every day that Iran is not building a bomb.” (Two Pinocchios, 2/6/14)
- “We’ve got close to 7 million Americans who have access to health care for the first time because of Medicaid expansion.” (Four Pinocchios, 2/24/14)
- “We didn’t have billions of dollars of commercials [for ObamaCare] like some critics did.” (Two Pinocchios, 4/4/14)
- “Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns … in 2014, that’s an embarrassment. It is wrong.” (Two Pinocchios, 4/9/14)
- “Thirty-five percent of people who enrolled through the federal marketplace are under the age of 35.” (Two Pinocchios, 4/22/14)
- “[Republicans’] willingness to say no to everything — the fact that since 2007, they have filibustered about 500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class just gives you a sense of how opposed they are to any progress[.]” (Four Pinocchios, 5/9/14)
- “I want to announce a few more steps that we’re taking that are going to be good for job growth and good for our economy, and that we don’t have to wait for Congress to do. They are going to be steps that generate more clean energy, waste less energy overall, and leave our kids and our grandkids with a cleaner, safer planet in the process.” (Two Pinocchios, 5/16/14)
- “At the beginning of my presidency, we built a coalition that imposed sanctions on the Iranian economy, while extending the hand of diplomacy to the Iranian government.” (Three Pinocchios, 6/2/14)
- “When you talk about the moderate opposition [in Syria], many of these people were farmers or dentists or maybe some radio reporters who didn’t have a lot of experience fighting.” (Three Pinocchios, 6/26/14)
- “So far this year, Republicans in Congress have blocked every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.” (Three Pinocchios, 7/15/14)
- “If Congress fails to fund it [the Highway Trust Fund], it runs out of money. That could put nearly 700,000 jobs at risk.” (Two Pinocchios, 7/16/14)
- "Keep in mind, I wasn’t specifically referring to ISIL [as a jayvee team].” (Four Pinocchios, 9/3/14)
- “Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution by more than any other nation on Earth.” (Two Pinocchios, 9/25/14)
- “If we hadn’t taken this on, and [health insurance] premiums had kept growing at the rate they did in the last decade, the average premium for family coverage today would be $1,800 higher than they are. Now, most people don’t notice it, but that’s $1,800 you don’t have to pay out of your pocket or see vanish from your paycheck. That’s like a $1,800 tax cut.” (Two Pinocchios, 10/17/14)
- “Health care inflation has gone down every single year since the law [ObamaCare] passed, so that we now have the lowest increase in health care costs in 50 years–which is saving us about $180 billion in reduced overall costs to the federal government and in the Medicare program.” (Three Pinocchios, 11/6/14)
- “We’ve created more jobs in the United States than every other advanced economy combined since I came into office.” (One Pinocchio, 11/11/14)
- “Well, actually, my position hasn’t changed [on immigration executive action].” (Upside-Down Pinocchio, 11/18/14)
- “Understand what this [Keystone XL pipeline] project is. It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else.” (Three Pinocchios, 11/20/14)
- “If you look, every president — Democrat and Republican — over decades has done the same thing. George H.W. Bush — about 40 percent of the undocumented persons, at the time, were provided a similar kind of relief as a consequence of executive action.” (Three Pinocchios, 11/24/14)
- (Updated to add this entry) “It is estimated that 1 in 5 women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted during their time there — 1 in 5.” (One Pinocchio, 12/17/14)
- (Updated to add this entry) “The history is that I have issued fewer executive actions than most of my predecessors, by a long shot. ... If you ask historians, take a look at the track records of the modern presidency, I’ve actually been very restrained.” (Two Pinocchios, 12/31/14)