Wednesday, October 05, 2011

From the Best of the Web, Sept 14, 2011:
"The Obama campaign is launching a new website to handle misinformation against President Obama," reports the Hill. "In an email, Obama's reelection campaign manager, Jim Messina, announced the formation of":
The site features ominous red-white-and-black graphics and a form called "Report an attack." There's also a Facebook page, which we're told is a parody, but who can tell? The whole thing is both creepily paranoid and bumblingly buffoonish, as if produced by a chimera of Richard M. Nixon and Wile E. Coyote.
And the site's substance is no less marvelously mockable than its style. The "News Feed" page rebuts three "smears" by linking to exceedingly weak left-liberal defenses.
• "Glenn Beck Twists the Facts on Israel." Apparently the Obama campaign is still watching Beck's show on Fox News Channel, even though its last episode aired June 30. links to a clip of the May 19 program, in which Beck says Obama has "betrayed our last strong ally."
"The facts," according to, are that two Israeli officials, President Obama himself, and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates have all made boilerplate statements to the effect that the Washington-Jerusalem alliance remains strong. And we have to agree, the Beck statement was hyperbolic. To say that Obama has "betrayed" Israel is at least a gross overstatement. But is he "a friend to Israel," as the site claims? In an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal, Dan Senor makes a strong case that the answer is no--and Senor's arguments go unrebutted on
• "Romney's job chart shows flawed understanding of the facts." The source here is, a lefty attack outfit. We hadn't even seen the chart in question until we were directed to it by As it turns out, ThinkProgress has a point, but it's a tiny one--and the chart looks bad for Obama anyway.
Mitt Romney's chart is a bar graph showing the number of jobs lost in each recession since 1973 and the number of jobs added in the 24 months after recovery began after each recession. Both bars show that the recession of 2007-09 is an outlier. It saw by far the most jobs lost: 8.9 million, vs. between 1.3 million and 3.1 million for the other recessions.
The second bar--jobs gained during the subsequent recovery--ranges from 1.2 million to 7.0 million for earlier recessions. For the 2007-09 recession, by contrast, the number is minus 0.8 million. That is, the number of jobs continued declining even after gross domestic product started growing again.
ThinkProgress's complaint? "The chart . . . calls the period of time from 2007-2009 the 'Obama recovery,' blaming him for the poor job numbers over that three-year period. As Romney surely knows, however, George W. bush was serving as president in 2007 and 2008, and Obama did not take office until January 2009."
It's true that the chart is poorly labeled, but ThinkProgress doesn't get it right either. The period of time depicted in the chart (under the label "Obama recovery") goes from 2007 through 2011--that is, 24 months after the recession ended. It would have been more accurate to label it "Bush recession/Obama recovery." But Romney is correct to point out that the recovery, which took place entirely during Obama's presidency, saw a continued loss of jobs, unlike after past recessions.
• "Rick Perry's massive jobs lie." Here the source is, which said "pants on fire" to the Texas governor for the following statement: "[Obama] had $800 billion worth of stimulus in the first round of stimulus. It created zero jobs." counters that PolitiFact "refers to four independent analyses by the Congressional Budget Office and three private assessments of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to determine that anywhere between 1.3 million and 3.6 million jobs were created or saved by the stimulus—'but certainly more than zero.' "
What both sites omit is that, as we noted Sept. 2, the way these estimates are arrived at is not by counting actual jobs--of which, as the Romney chart points out, there are actually fewer than before the stimulus--but by assuming that so-called stimulus spending created jobs. That assumption may be accurate--it is possible that, as Obama and his supporters claim, even more jobs would have been lost absent the stimulus--but these estimates do not demonstrate it.
Ah, but PolitiFact does have proof that Perry's statement was false:
We even found Billy Weston, a Florida Republican who personally credited the stimulus for his new job with a private Riviera Beach pharmaceutical manufacturer.
PolitiFact lists the various estimates, then wraps up as follows:
Note the language "created or saved," which means not every one of those more than a million jobs count [sic] as "created," as Perry said.
But certainly more than zero. Ask Billy Weston.
Perry said "the first round of stimulus . . . created zero jobs." We say Pants on Fire.
Take that, Gov. Perry! The stimulus created one job! If that's the best these guys can do, we suppose we also have to give them credit for making our job easier.

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