Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Debunking the Obama 'firsts' chain email

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, and dog Bo in Bar Harbor, Maine, on July 17, 2010.
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, and dog Bo in Bar Harbor, Maine, on July 17, 2010.

Reader recently forwarded us a chain email critical of President Barack Obama that’s been making the rounds since at least 2011. The email offers roughly three dozen "firsts" about Obama, all of them highly unflattering.

"Mr. Hope and Change wants to create a nation humbled; humiliated, casting-aside capitalism and individual freedoms for one where 'we the people' are government controlled," says one version of the email. "This would be a system that genuflects mediocrity, steals personal aspiration and opportunity, and punishes those who strive to succeed."

Many of the email's claims struck us as potentially inaccurate, so we decided to spot-check a few claims. (Here’s the full text of the e-mail we received.)

Our research into four claims showed they were inaccurate. We rated three of the claims Pants on Fire and another False.

Here are the claims; click through the links to read the evidence for yourself.

  • Obama is the "first president to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office." False.
  • Obama is the "first president to keep a dog-trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense." Pants on Fire.
  • Obama is the "first president to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect." Pants on Fire.
  • Obama is the "first president to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space." Pants on Fire.