The Obama Diet for America: A Steady Stream of Whoppers

Four weeks into his presidency, the list of significant whoppers Barack Obama has inflicted on the American people is amazingly long.

Where to begin? Let's take a look at four statements he made at his first presidential briefing.

Earlier that day, on February 9, the president had told his Elkhart, Indiana, audience the following (all bolds are mine):

Economists from across the spectrum have warned that if we don't act immediately ... our nation will sink into a crisis that at some point we may be unable to reverse.

Unable to reverse? Possibly permanently? That's how any reasonable reader would understand it.

At that evening's prime-time briefing, the first question came from the Associated Press' Jennifer Loven. Ms. Loven "just so happened" to be the first reporter on what was a pre-selected list of those who would be permitted to ask questions of His Excellency.

It is understandable that Obama gave Loven the coveted first slot. Her husband "just so happens" to be a former Clinton administration environmental official, a "senior adviser on energy and the environment" for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, and a leading light (if that's possible) in the areas of alternative energy and climate change. To say that the Ballantine-Loven family stands to gain from the Obama administration's love affair with "green jobs" would appear to be a very safe bet.

Thus, it's not at all surprising that Loven, who surely knew how problematic Obama's Elkhart statement was, and in general how dangerous the president's no-confidence game of rhetorical overkill on the economy could turn out to be, graciously gave him a chance to back away from both, asking:

Earlier today in Indiana you said something striking. You said that this nation could end up in a crisis, without action, that we would be unable to reverse. Can you talk about what you know or what you're hearing that would lead you to say that our recession might be permanent when others in our history have not? And do you think that you risk losing some credibility or even talking down the economy by using dire language like that?

That Jennifer Loven is clever, isn't she? She turned "may be unable to reverse" into "would be unable to reverse," transforming her question into the ultimate hanging curveball.

But despite having his first question served up mostly open-ended on a silver platter, the next painful sound viewers and listeners heard was that of Obama whiffing badly. Here's how he began what inexplicably turned into a 900-word ramble:

No, no, no, no. I think that what I've said is what other economists have said across the political spectrum, which is that if you delay acting on an economy of this severity, then you potentially create a negative spiral that becomes much more difficult for us to get out of.

All he had to say was, "I only said that we might be unable to reverse the situation, not that it won't be," perhaps following it with a bit of elaboration. But instead, his answer was, in essence: "Jennifer, I like your husband and I like you, but who do you believe, me right now or your lying ears in Elkhart?"