Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

In context: George Allen's comments on government waste

George Allen made his comment on waste about 35 seconds into this 2009 interview on Fox News.

Majority PAC, and advocacy group supporting Democratic candidates, has a new TV ad that predicts Republican George Allen will cut Social Security and Medicare if he’s elected to the U.S. Senate.

The commercial opens with footage of an elderly woman in a wheelchair and this jarring statement: "He called programs like Medicare and Social Security a waste."

Then there’s footage of Allen saying, "Whatever the government program is, no matter how essential it is, it’s waste."

The announcer says, "And that’s exactly the plan George Allen will take to Washington. Slashing Medicare, cutting Social Security and eliminating 700,000 jobs, all to pay for more tax cuts for millionaires."

The ad is based on a rambling interview Allen had with Charles Payne of Fox News on Dec. 22, 2009. It starts with Payne asking Allen to comment on an inspector general’s report that found the U.S. Postal Service spent $792,000 on food and entertainment over five months.  

We decided not to do a Truth-O-Meter on this ad because there’s no doubt Allen said all government programs are waste. But we suspect Allen misspoke and intended to say is that there’s waste in all government programs -- a position he has long held.  

Here’s a transcript of the interview. We’ll let you decide:


Payne: Well, it’s billions in the red, but still spending your green. The U.S. Postal Service caught springing for parties, movies, even booze, on taxpayer money. A government watchdog identifying nearly $800,000 in quote "imprudent spending." My next guest is concerned this is just a preview of coming attractions if the government takes over health care.

George Allen, former governor of Virginia, joins us now. Wow -- this is -- I mean, listen, the post office is losing a lot of money to begin with and yet they can spring for stuff like this?

Allen: Yeah, Charles, you know, most Americans recognize that whatever the government program is, no matter how essential it is, it’s waste. There’s constant waste in it and, you know, here they are eating all sorts of things, expensive meals and all the rest. And here folks that are working for a living and their money is confiscated in taxes to pay for these sort of things -- it’s just galling. In fact, they found they're having crab cakes and beef Wellington. Meanwhile, we’re all eating cupcakes and beef jerky. And --

Payne: Golly, I can tell you, I’ve -- I’ve never even had beef Wellington before. But tell us though, now how do you make the connection -- do you think they’re going to do the same thing with this health care -- it’ll be just one giant pot of money for parties?

Allen: Sure -- well, I’m not saying they’re going to have parties. They’re going to have waste in it. But what are we getting, Charles? Those of us in it. What we’re getting hit with is higher taxes, we’re getting higher premium costs. You’re seeing, for the states, they have unfunded mandates to it. You’re going to have, generally speaking, a lower standard of health care while the social engineers and these elites in Washington are imposing this on the American people. And it’s something that’s going to be harmful to small businesses, job growth, and on top of it all, it’s an experiment. It’s a health care experiment that's going to cost $1 trillion that we don’t have and the last thing we need is more debt for these sort of experiments. The people of America need personal responsibility and freedom, not dependency on the government.