False ratings for both Obama, Boehner
By Louis Jacobson
Published on Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 at 5:51 p.m.
After more than a week with most of the focus on the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, returned to economic themes in recent comments.
And today, we rated comments by both men False.
During a May 10, 2011, speech at a Democratic National Committee event in Austin, Texas, Obama offered a litany of accomplishments to a friendly audience. One claim that immediately caught our eye was that during Obama’s presidency, the United States has "doubled our exports."
Obama has spoken of doubling exports before: In his 2011 State of the Union address, he said, "To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 -– because the more we export, the more jobs we create here at home. Already, our exports are up."
But that goal has not been met yet. We measured exports several ways and found that they’d increased since Obama became president -- but by about one-third. So we ruled his statement False.
Meanwhile, during an interview on NBC’s Today show, Boehner offered some job-creation statistics to cast a favorable light on the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003.
Host Matt Lauer said to Boehner, "You talk about creating jobs. When the Bush era tax cuts were passed in 2001, unemployment in this country was 4.5 percent. Today it's at 9 percent, just down from 10 percent. So why are the Bush era tax cuts creating jobs?"
Boehner responded that the tax cuts "created about 8 million jobs over the first 10 years that they were in existence. We've lost about 5 million of those jobs during this recession."
We found several problems with Boehner’s statement Under the most common yardstick for measuring employment, Boehner's claim was significantly overstated. Boehner was closer when using a different statistic, but only when using a time period much different than the one he referred to in the interview. And his suggestion that the tax cuts are primarily responsible for subsequent job growth is contentious at best.
We found his statement too flawed to give it a rating higher than False.
See original Truth-O-Meter items.
Researchers: Louis Jacobson
We want to hear your suggestions and comments.
For tips or comments on our Obameter and our GOP-Pledge-O-Meter promise databases, please e-mail the Obameter. If you are commenting on a specific promise, please include the wording of the promise.For comments about our Truth-O-Meter or Flip-O-Meter items, please e-mail the Truth-O-Meter. We’re especially interested in seeing any chain e-mails you receive that you would like us to check out. If you send us a comment, we'll assume you don't mind us publishing it unless you tell us otherwise.
Keep up to date with Politifact:
- Sign up for our e-mail (about once a week)
- Put a free PolitiFact widget on your blog or Web page
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on Truth-O-Meter items
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on GOP Pledge-O-Meter items
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on Obameter items
- Advertise on PolitiFact
- Shop the PolitiFact store for T-shirts, hats and other PolitiFact swag