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By Bill Wichert December 4, 2011

Chris Christie claims Barack Obama “did nothing” to create jobs during his first two years

Billions of dollars began pumping through the American economy in 2009 as part of the stimulus program started by President Barack Obama, but somehow Gov. Chris Christie missed that.

While campaigning on Nov. 9 in New Hampshire for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Christie took to the airwaves and summed up in one word what the president did to spur job growth during the first half of his tenure: nothing.

"But remember this: (Obama) can complain about Republicans in the House as much as he wants," Christie said during an interview on the "New Hampshire Today" radio show. "But in the first two years, he had, you know, huge majorities in the House and Senate, and did nothing with them to create jobs in America."

Nothing was done to create jobs?

Research by PolitiFact New Jersey shows that Christie’s statement ignores the impact of a major piece of federal legislation aimed at creating and saving jobs: the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Signed into law less than a month into Obama’s presidency, the stimulus bill allocated about $787 billion in federal spending and tax benefits. By Sept. 30 of this year, about $5.5 billion had been awarded to recipients in New Jersey alone.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other independent economists, the stimulus bill has created or saved jobs. Funding recipients also have reported jobs supported by stimulus dollars.

The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Here’s what some of the economic research shows:

Compared to what would have happened otherwise, the stimulus bill increased the number of people employed by between 1 million and 2.9 million in the second quarter of 2011, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, projected that without the stimulus bill, the country would have had 1.75 million fewer jobs as of the third quarter of 2011.

"The debate is how much, not whether it had a benefit," Zandi said.

Daniel Wilson, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, has estimated that stimulus spending created or saved 3.4 million jobs by March 2011.

Ohio State University economics professor Bill Dupor offered another projection.

Due to the stimulus bill, there were 870,000 private-sector jobs and 510,000 government jobs in place in December 2010, said Dupor, who made the analysis with University of Western Ontario economics professor Tim Conley.

"Thus, Tim and I are finding some jobs created/saved as a result of the ARRA," Dupor said in a series of emails. "At this stage, Tim and I don’t have any projections based on plausible assumptions that say there was a net job loss."

Another snapshot of the stimulus bill’s impact on jobs can be found at the government-run website -- -- which tracks jobs funded by stimulus dollars, as reported by certain recipients in each state.

Between July 1 and Sept. 30, there were more than 6,300 full-time equivalent jobs in New Jersey funded by the stimulus in that quarter, according to the website.

Our ruling

In a radio interview, Christie claimed that in Obama’s first two years, the president had "huge majorities in the House and Senate, and did nothing with them to create jobs in America."

But Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress did do something, governor. It’s called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a stimulus bill that various economists credit with creating or saving jobs.

That’s why it is ridiculous for Christie to claim Obama did "nothing." Pants on Fire!

To comment on this ruling, go to

Featured Fact-check

Our Sources

Interview with Gov. Chris Christie on "New Hampshire Today,"Nov. 9, 2011

PolitiFact Virginia, National Republican Senatorial Committee ad says stimulus created "zero jobs,"Oct. 21, 2011

PolitiFact, Rick Perry says the 2009 stimulus 'created zero jobs,'Sept. 12, 2011

PolitiFact Virginia, Cantor says stimulus "failed to get people back to work,"June 3, 2011

Congressional Budget Office, Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output from April 2011 Through June 2011, August 2011

Council of Economic Advisors, The Economic Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Seventh Quarterly Report, July 1, 2011

Congressional Research Service, Membership of the 111th Congress: A Profile, Dec. 27, 2010

U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Clerk, House History: Party Divisions of the House of Representatives (1789 to Present), accessed Nov. 29, 2011

U.S. Senate, Party Division in the Senate, 1789-Present, accessed Nov. 29, 2011

Moody’s Analytics, How the Great Recession Was Brought to an End, July 27, 2010

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Public Sector Jobs Saved, Private Sector Jobs Forestalled, May 17, 2011

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Fiscal Spending Jobs Multipliers: Evidence from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, October 2011

National Bureau of Economic Research, Did the Stimulus Stimulate? Real Time Estimates of the Effects of the American Readjustment and Recovery Act, February 2011

Phone and email interviews with Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2011

Email interview with James Feyrer, Dartmouth College Department of Economics, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2011

Email interview with Bill Dupor, Ohio State University Department of Economics, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2011, official website of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

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Chris Christie claims Barack Obama “did nothing” to create jobs during his first two years

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