Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Did President Obama call Americans lazy?

In a new TV ad, Texas Gov. Rick Perry claims President Barack Obama called Americans lazy.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's new spot debuted Nov. 16, 2011, opening with a video clip of President Barack Obama saying, "We've been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades."

Perry, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, then appears, saying: "Can you believe that? That's what our president thinks is wrong with America? That Americans are lazy? That's pathetic."

We traced Obama's comment to a question-and-answer session with the head of Boeing on Nov. 12, 2011, at a meeting of business leaders during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu.

Obama made his "lazy" comment in response to a question about impediments that China might see to investing in the United States, saying that the United States is a great investment opportunity.

Then he added: "But, you know, we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here — and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America."

Looking at the context, we found that Obama wasn't characterizing the American public at large. He could have been talking about U.S. corporate practices or even his own administration. So we rated Perry's claim Mostly False.