The Democrats have at least one more fact-challenged leader making speeches. His name is Barack Obama. He was speaking in Ohio on June 4, touting the Chrysler bailout’s imminent “success.” He said:
“Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers for their support during my presidency — and it repaid that money six years ahead of schedule. And this week, we reached a deal to sell our remaining stake. That means soon, Chrysler will be 100 percent in private hands.”
Which, says the WaPo’s Glenn Kessler, just isn’t true.
Not so fast. The president snuck in the weasel words “during my presidency” in his statement. What does that mean?
According to the White House, Obama is counting only the $8.5 billion loan that he made to Chrysler, not the $4 billion that President George W. Bush extended in his last month in office. However, Obama was not a disinterested observer at the time. According to The Washington Post article on the Bush loan, the incoming president called Bush’s action a “necessary step . . . to help avoid a collapse of our auto industry that would have had devastating consequences for our economy and our workers.”
Under the administration’s math, the U.S. government will receive $11.2 billion back from Chrysler, far more than the $8.5 billion Obama extended.
Through this sleight-of-hand accounting, the White House can conveniently ignore Bush’s loan, but even the Treasury Department admits that U.S. taxpayers will not recoup about $1.3 billion of the entire $12.5 billion investment when all is said and done.
The White House justifies not counting the Bush money because, it says, that money was completely spent when Obama was making a tough political decision on whether to extend another loan. In other words, a decision to do nothing at the time would have resulted in the immediate loss of the $4 billion that Bush had extended.
This is chicanery. Under the president’s math, Chrysler paid back 100 percent of Obama’s loan and less than 70 percent of Bush’s loan. A more honest presentation would combine the two figures to say U.S. taxpayers got back 90 percent of what they invested. In fact, that is how the Treasury and other administration officials frequently portray it; it is just when Obama speaks that the numbers get so squishy.
So Obama comes off as the Liar in Chief, telling taller tales than the rest of his administration is willing to tell. There’s more, a lot more, in Kessler’s report. He calls Obama out for selective counting, for setting up straw man arguments (which seems to be one of this president’s favorite passtimes) and for generally dishonest speechmaking. It’s just a pity that no one in the MSM was willing to do this back in 2008.