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You’d think it was 2012 the way conservative bloggers are namechecking Barack Obama this election season. He’s not a candidate, but he is campaigning for Democrats. And some detractors are reviving an old dig against the former president.
"One day we will realize that the Barack Obama presidency was the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people," reads a quote in an image that was posted to Facebook on Nov. 4. It’s attributed to Clint Eastwood and appears next to a picture of the actor sitting on a stool.
This story was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Eastwood isn’t sitting on the stool—the empty one he talked to during the 2012 Republican National Convention, pretending Obama was seated next to him on stage. He considered the appearance a success, and he said so to the Carmel Pine Cone a few days later. The newspaper covers Eastwood’s hometown, where he was elected mayor in 1986.
A story published in the paper on Sept. 7, 2012, reports that Eastwood had three points that he wanted to make that day: "That not everybody in Hollywood is on the left, that Obama has broken a lot of the promises he made when he took office, and that the people should feel free to get rid of any politician who’s not doing a good job."
"President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," the paper quotes Eastwood as saying. "(Mitt) Romney and (Paul) Ryan would do a much better job running the country, and that’s what everybody needs to know. I may have irritated a lot of the lefties, but I was aiming for people in the middle."
That’s not quite what the Facebook post said. Eastwood was talking about Obama, the person, not his presidency. And he called the then-president a hoax, not a fraud.
Still, the quote is close to the spirit of Eastwood’s comments. One person who did get it right?
Donald Trump. Three days after the story ran, he tweeted: "‘President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.’ --Clint Eastwood"
We rate this claim Mostly True.
Facebook post, Nov. 4, 2018
CBS News, "Obama rallies in Las Vegas, tells crowd to ‘remember who started’ economic growth,’" Oct. 22, 2018
The Carmel Pine Cone, "Eastwood says his convention appearance was ‘mission accomplished,’" Sept. 7, 2012
The Washington Post, "Clint Eastwood speaks to Carmel Pine Cone about invisible Obama," Sept. 7, 2012
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