Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Obama, back in campaign mode, jabs at GOP

President Obama delivers a speech on the economy in Ohio.
President Obama delivers a speech on the economy in Ohio.

President Barack Obama delivered two speeches this week attacking Republican economic policies. With two months to go before the 2010 midterm elections, Democrats are down in the polls and trying to gain momentum.

We've checked two facts from recent Obama speeches.

In Ohio on Wednesday, Obama said Republican might be calling for spending discipline now. But when they controlled Congress from 1995 to 2006, they oversaw a good deal of spending for pet projects.

"Let's look at the facts," Obama said. "When these same Republicans -- including Mr. Boehner -- were in charge, the number of earmarks and pet projects went up, not down." Boehner himself hasn't taken an earmark since he came to Congress in 1990, and in 2006, when he was majority leader, earmarks declined. But when we looked into several estimates of earmarks in Republican majority years between 1995 and 2006, we found that earmarks increased dramatically. So we rated Obama's statement  Mostly True.

We also checked a statement Obama made in Labor Day speech in Wisconsin. He again singled out Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio for criticism.

"When we passed a bill earlier this summer to help states save jobs -- the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers and nurses and police officers and firefighters that were about to be laid off -- they said no," Obama said. "And the Republican who thinks he's going to take over as speaker... when he was asked about this, he dismissed those jobs as 'government jobs' that weren't worth saving. That's what he said, I'm quoting -- 'government jobs.'"

We found that Boehner did oppose the state aid package Obama described in the speech and said it went to save government jobs. But he didn't say that the jobs "weren't worth saving." Instead, he emphasized that new job growth needed to come from the private sector. We rated Obama's statement Barely True.