A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Obama’s ‘Bumbles’


Q: Did Obama double the debt and commit every "bumble" he's accused of in a critical chain e-mail?

A: No. The debt hasn't doubled, and of the 24 claims only six are true. We found another seven to be partly true, and the rest to be false, misleading or exaggerated.

FULL QUESTION

Is this true?

SOME OF YOU WILL APPRECIATE THIS AND SOME OF YOU WILL NOT.

I DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR SENDING THIS BECAUSE ALL OF IT IS TRUE.

If any other of our presidents had doubled the National debt, which had Taken more Than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would You have Approved?

If any other of our presidents had then proposed to Double the debt again Within 10 Years, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had criticized a state law That he admitted He never Even read, would you think that he is just an ignorant hot Head?

[EET ]If any other of our presidents joined the country of Mexico and sued A state In the United States to force that state to continue to allow illegal Immigration, Would you question his patriotism and wonder who's side he was On?

If any other of our presidents had pronounced the Marine Corps like Marine Corpse, would you think him an idiot?

If any other of our presidents had put 87,000 workers out of work by Arbitrarily placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling on companies That Have one of the best safety records of any industry because one foreign Company had an accident, would you have agreed?

If any other of our presidents had used a forged document as the Basis of The moratorium that would render 87000 American workers Unemployed would you Support him?

If any other of our presidents had been the first President to need A Teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, Would You have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own And is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If any other of our presidents had spent hundreds of thousands of Dollars to Take his First Lady to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had reduced your retirement plan Holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, Would you have Approved?

If any other of our presidents had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had given Gordon Brown a set of Inexpensive And incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given Him a thoughtful And historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had given the Queen of England an IPod Containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought it a proud Moment For America ?

If any other of our presidents had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia , Would You have approved?

If any other of our presidents had visited Austria and made Reference to the Nonexistent "Austrian language," would you have brushed It off as a minor Slip?

If any other of our presidents had filled his cabinet and circle of Advisers With people who cannot seem to keep current in their income Taxes, would you Have approved?

If any other of our presidents had stated that there were 57 states In the United States  , wouldn't you have had second thoughts about his Capabilities?

If any other of our presidents would have flown all the way to Denmark to Make a five minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit Him walking Out his front door in his home town, would you not have Thought he was a Self important, conceited, egotistical jerk.

If any other of our presidents had been so Spanish illiterate as to Refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was The 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried Again, wouldn't You have winced in embarrassment?

If any other of our presidents had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel To go Plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a Hypocrite?

If any other of our presidents' administrations had okayed Air Force One Flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in Downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they Actually get what happened on 9-11?

If any other of our presidents had failed to send relief aid to Flood Victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made Homeless than In New Orleans , would you want it made into a major ongoing Political issue With
claims of racism and incompetence?

If any other of our presidents had created the position of 32 Czars Who Report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what Is Happening in America , would you have ever approved.

If any other of our presidents had ordered the firing of the CEO of A major Corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do So, would You have approved?

So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive?

Can't think of anything? Don't worry. He's done all this in 24 months – so you have that much time to come up with an answer.

Every statement and action in this email is factual and directly attributable to Barrack Hussein Obama. Every bumble is a matter of record and completely verifiable.

I WONDER HOW MANY OF YOU WILL FORWARD THIS?

"All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."[/EET]

FULL ANSWER

This harshly critical e-mail has been circulating since at least the summer of 2009 and we've been asked about it more than 50 times. The version readers have sent to us contains 24 claims that it says are all true: "Every bumble is a matter of record and completely verifiable." Not quite. We found that four of the claims are simply false. Others had some basis in fact but were twisted to the point of giving the reader a false impression, hence we judged them to be misleading or exaggerated. Only six of the claims were true. Another seven were partly true, having some accuracy to the claim but lacking context or containing other errors.

We'll take each of the claims in order:

E-mail Claim: If any other of our presidents had doubled the National Debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would You have Approved?

False. Obama did not double the debt in one year. The debt owed to the public was $6.3 trillion the day he took office. A year later, it was $7.8 trillion, and as of June 1, it was $9.7 trillion. That's a huge increase, to be sure, but nothing close to a doubling, either in Obama's first year or in his first two-and-a-half years. The same holds true when looking at the total outstanding debt, which includes both the public debt and money the government owes to itself. That figure was $10.6 trillion on Jan. 20, 2009; a year later, it was $12.3 trillion, and it’s $14.3 trillion today.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had then proposed to Double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

Partly true. Obama's proposed 2012 budget would double the public debt over the next decade, from $9 trillion in fiscal 2010 to $18.4 trillion in 2019, according to projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The total debt would take a little longer to double; CBO's projection shows that happening by 2021. But since the debt didn't double in Obama's first year, he's not proposing to double it "again" as claimed.

For the record, the debt nearly doubled under President George W. Bush. Only in that sense could Obama accurately be accused of proposing to double the debt "again."

Claim: If any other of our presidents had criticized a State Law that he admitted he never even read, would you think that he is just an ignorant hot Head?

Undetermined. This is a reference to the controversial Arizona immigration law, enacted in April 2010. The law, among other provisions, required police to check the immigration status of anyone lawfully stopped and also cracked down on the hiring of day laborers by making it illegal to get into someone's car for the purpose of being hired and to stop your car to hire someone if it impedes traffic. Obama criticized it, saying that it wouldn't solve the problem, as early as late April, a week after it was signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. We could not find an instance in which he said he never read it, though it's certainly a possibility given the sequence of events.

His press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said in a May 17, 2010, press conference that he would check with the president, adding that: "I believe in the very — when we were first discussing this, he asked counsel to provide him some information on that." At that point, Attorney General Eric Holder already had admitted that he hadn't read the law, prompting the reporter's question to Gibbs. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also said that she had not read it.

Three days later, on May 20, Gibbs told reporters that the president had read the law. It's unclear from the exchange whether the president had read it before first criticizing it, or after.

Q: You said you’d asked for information about it.

Gibbs: I said ask for information about that. He did in a meeting that we had before that, and he has read the law, yes.

Q: He read the law, okay.

As for Holder and Napolitano, a Justice Department spokesman said that Holder "has been thoroughly briefed on the law," and Napolitano, former Arizona governor, said in a Senate hearing: "I have not reviewed it in detail. I certainly know of it."

Claim: If any other of our presidents joined the country of Mexico and sued a State in the United States to force that State to continue to allow Illegal Immigration, would you question his patriotism and wonder who's side he was on?

Partly true. This is another reference to the Arizona immigration law, which both Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon had criticized, including in a joint appearance at the White House in May 2010. Obama didn't actually "join" Mexico in filing a lawsuit, however. The suits are separate.

Mexico first joined another lawsuit, one filed initially by the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups, citing concerns that Mexicans would be discriminated against and "afraid to visit Arizona for work or pleasure." A few weeks later, in July 2010, the Obama administration filed its own suit making some of the same arguments, and seeking to block the law from taking effect. The courts did agree in the Obama administration's suit to block some provisions of the law, and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer plans to take the case to the Supreme Court, if the justices will hear it.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had pronounced the Marine Corps as if it were the Marine Corpse, would you think him an Idiot?

Partly true. Obama didn't say "Marine Corpse," as the anonymous author claims. Instead, he pronounced "Navy [hospital] corpsman" just as it looks, with a "p" and an "s." Hospital corpsmen are enlisted Navy medical specialists, and also serve with the Marines, who do not have their own medics. Dictionaries list two different pronunciations of "corpsman," one with an "s" or "z" sound (Merriam-Webster) and one without (Dictionary.com and Oxford Dictionaries), but neither includes the "p."

Claim: If any other of our presidents had put 87,000 workers out of work by arbitrarily placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling on companies that have one of the best safety records of any industry because one foreign company had an accident, would you have agreed?

Exaggerated. The moratorium on offshore drilling that was put in place after the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico did not "put 87,000 workers out of work."

It's true that some early estimates projected a "worst case" estimate that the effect on both current and future jobs would be that high, or even higher. But the worst did not happen. The source of the 87,000 estimate is Eric N. Smith, a professor at Tulane University and associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute. He based that estimate on an assumption that all 34 deep-water drilling rigs in operation (plus eight more not even completed or in operation at the time) would eventually leave the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the moratorium. So many of those 87,000 would not have been current workers put "out of work," but would be future jobs that failed to materialize.

In any event, the worst didn't happen and fewer than 87,000 have been idled. "In actual fact, so far, only 7 rigs have left the gulf," Professor Smith told us in an e-mail message. In a telephone interview, Smith told us he believes the job cost may yet prove to be as high as that several years from now, but so far it is lower.

In fact, other estimates put the loss of jobs far lower than 87,000. The U.S. Department of the Interior initially figured the moratorium would cost 23,000 jobs. Later, administration economists estimated in a report that the moratorium had cost 2,000 jobs of oil rig workers and 6,000 to 10,000 more jobs in related industries. That's roughly in line with an independent analysis by a Louisiana development organization, GNO Inc. It originally estimated that the moratorium would cost 12,500 to 21,900 jobs, but later said that that estimate had been too high, without giving any new figure.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had used a forged document as the basis of the moratorium that would render 87000 American workers unemployed, would you support him?

Partly true. No document was "forged," but it was edited in a misleading way.

The administration misrepresented the views of a panel of seven experts, implying in a May 27, 2010, report that the experts had endorsed a six-month moratorium on all drilling in water deeper than 500 feet, when they hadn't done that. They had actually reviewed safety recommendations that included a temporary ban on new drilling in 1,000-foot waters and above. Five of the seven experts, plus three others with whom the administration had consulted, then wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar saying that the administration report "includes some important recommendations which we support." But they stopped short of supporting a blanket moratorium.

Letter to Salazar: [T]he scope of the moratorium on drilling which is in the executive summary differs in important ways from the recommendation in the draft which we reviewed.The Secretary should be free to recommend whatever he thinks is correct, but he should not be free to use our names to justify his political decisions.

The inspector general of the Department of the Interior investigated the controversy and found that White House editing of Interior's draft report had created "the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer reviewed." The original report's executive summary included information on the moratorium first, followed on a second page by information on the peer review and a list of safety recommendations that were part of that review. The White House reordered the information so that the expert review portion came immediately after the moratorium recommendation. Interior had apologized to its panel of experts.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had been the first President to need a teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

Partly true. Obama is not the first president to use a teleprompter, and he does not use the device to "get through" questioning by reporters. But he's much more of a fan of the device than some of his predecessors, and does use it even during his opening remarks at news conferences.

As the New York Times wrote in early 2009: "Presidents have been using teleprompters for more than half a century, but none relied on them as extensively as Obama has so far." CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller, who has been covering the presidency since Gerald Ford, wrote that it's not all that easy to successfully use a teleprompter. "It's definitely a finely honed skill to deliver a speech from a teleprompter," Knoller said. "It takes as much if not more focus or concentration than reading a paper copy."

Claim: If any other of our presidents had spent hundreds of thousands of Dollars to Take his First Lady to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

Exaggerated. This claim refers to a date night the Obamas took May 30, 2009, flying from Washington to New York City for dinner and a play. As is often the case for presidential trips, the White House didn't release security costs, but it's highly unlikely the cost was anywhere near "hundreds of thousands of Dollars," as claimed by this e-mail. One unnamed White House official told U.S. News & World Report that the cost was probably in the tens of thousands of dollars, roughly matching another estimate by The New York Post.

The New York date was a fulfillment of the president's promise to the first lady that after the campaign he would take her to a Broadway show. The Obamas took a Gulfstream 500 jet, with two smaller planes for press and staff accompanying them, according to multiple news reports. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined to disclose the cost of security for the trip — a cost covered by taxpayers — in a June 1 press conference. He said Obama "would have taken the shuttle" if he could have, but he has to accommodate the Secret Service. Gibbs said that "the costs are proportionate with travel for presidents." The New York Post estimated that it was "a total of at least $24,000 for the three aircraft used." As we've written before, the president personally footed the bill for the dinner and theater tickets ($96.50 each, according to the Post). Even with additional security costs, a helicopter ride from the airport to Manhattan, and possible local law enforcement costs, it's hard to see how this could have added up to "hundreds of thousands" of dollars. But regardless of the exact dollar figure, Republicans criticized the trip as too pricey and extravagant at a time of high national unemployment.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had reduced your retirement plan Holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, Would you have Approved?

False. Unions never had a "majority stake" in the "new" General Motors that emerged from the bankruptcy of the "old" GM.

The restructuring of General Motors occurred in 2009 when the company declared bankruptcy and received billions of dollars from the government to keep the reorganized company afloat. The U.S. government became the majority owner of GM, with a 60 percent stake, in exchange for loan forgiveness of billions the government had lent the company. The Canadian government also picked up a 12 percent stake in lieu of forgiving several billions in loans. The union, meanwhile, got 17.5 percent equity — far short of a "majority stake" — in lieu of $20 billion that GM had promised to give to start a new medical benefits plan.

Furthermore, Obama can't rightly be blamed for "reduc[ing] your retirement plan holdings of GM stock." The value of stock in the old GM had fallen dramatically well before Obama took office, and some analysts were saying it was worth nothing even then. In November 2008, Republican Mitt Romney called for Washington to "Let Detroit go bankrupt," opposing any government attempts to prop up GM or the other U.S. automakers. Eventually, the Obama administration did not prop up the old GM, and did insist on a bankruptcy. And as in any bankruptcy, that wiped out existing stockholders — including the value of "old" GM stock held in pension funds and personal retirement accounts.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

True. In a March 2009 appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Obama joked that his bowling skills were so bad, "[i]t's like the Special Olympics or something." Even Obama didn't approve of his own joke. He apologized to Timothy Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics, before that episode had aired.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had given Gordon Brown a set of Inexpensive And incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given Him a thoughtful And historically significant gift, would you have approved?

True. London newspapers in particular disapproved of the gift exchange between Prime Minister Brown and Obama when Brown visited the White House in 2009. It's true that Obama gave Brown a set of 25 American classic movies — that later turned out to work only on DVD players on this side of the Atlantic — and that Brown gave Obama a pen holder that was made from wood from a Royal Navy ship that conducted anti-slavery missions — wood from a sister ship was used to make the Oval Office desk.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had given the Queen of England an IPod Containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought it a proud Moment For America?

Partly true. It's true that the president and first lady gave Queen Elizabeth II a video iPod when they visited Buckingham Palace in 2009. But there was more uploaded to the device than the president's 2009 inauguration speech and his 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention when he was a state senator. ABC News' Jake Tapper reported that dozens of well-known musical show tunes were uploaded on the iPod given to the queen, as well as photos and video from the queen's visits to the United States in 1957 and 2007. There were also photos from the 2009 presidential inauguration. Tapper reported that the Obamas also gave the queen "a rare musical songbook signed by Richard Rodgers."

The White House said the queen had requested the iPod, according to a report from Fox News' Major Garrett. While the queen reportedly already had an audio-only version of the iPod, she did not have one capable of playing video. The queen's gift to Obama? A signed photo of herself, and the Duke of Edinburgh, in a silver frame.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, Would You have approved?

Reader's choice: In a video from a meeting of the G-20 nations in London in 2009, Obama is shown bending deeply from the waist while shaking hands with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who remains erect. The White House denied that the president's greeting constituted a "bow," saying he merely "bent over" because he is taller than the king. It looks like a "bow" to us, but since we can't tell what Obama was thinking at the time, we'll leave it to readers to make their own call on this one.

There have been similar kerfuffles with earlier presidents. President George W. Bush also "bowed" to King Abdullah in 2008. Bush dipped his head slightly when Abdullah placed the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit around his neck. Bush was also criticized for holding hands with then-Crown Prince Abdullah while they walked together in 2005.

And the New York Times criticized President Bill Clinton in 1994 for a near bow — not to the Saudi king — but to the Emperor of Japan. "It wasn't a bow, exactly. But Mr. Clinton came close," the Times said. "He inclined his head and shoulders forward, he pressed his hands together. It lasted no longer than a snapshot, but the image on the South Lawn was indelible: an obsequent President, and the Emperor of Japan." Obama found himself in a similar situation when he also met Japanese Emperor Akihito in November 2009.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had visited Austria and made Reference to the Nonexistent "Austrian language," would you have brushed It off as a minor slip?

True. Obama's reference to the "Austrian" language came during a news conference he gave in Strasbourg, France, on April 4, 2009. Obama was commenting on the similarities of politics in Europe and in the U.S. Senate, when he said: "There's a lot of — I don't know what the term is in Austrian — wheeling and dealing — and, you know, people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics." Of course, "Austrian" is not a language. The people of Austria mainly speak German, but they also speak Turkish, Serbian, Croatian and a few other languages.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had filled his Cabinet and circle of Advisers With people who cannot seem to keep current on their income Taxes, would you Have approved?

Exaggerated. A few of the president's nominees for Cabinet and other administration positions were found to have been negligent in paying taxes. But he has not "filled" his cabinet or administration with such people.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was one of the first Obama nominees to face questions after it was discovered that he failed to pay thousands of dollars in payroll taxes over several years while he worked for the International Monetary Fund.

Former Sen. Tom Daschle, who was Obama's original nominee to be secretary of Heath and Human services, was also found to have not paid more than $100,000 in taxes on unreported income and other things. Daschle later withdrew his name from consideration. Daschle's replacement, Kathleen Sebelius, who was later confirmed, also had to pay back taxes after amending previously filed tax forms.

Nancy Killefer, who was Obama's nominee to be deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget, withdrew her name for not paying taxes related to household help, according to reports. Ron Kirk, who was confirmed to be the U.S. trade representative, also had issues with unreported honoraria income that he donated to a college. And Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was confirmed after being questioned about her husband's failure to pay back taxes.

But as the Washington Times editorialized in April 2009, "Presidential nominee troubles are nothing new, particularly related to taxes." The paper noted that Paul O'Neil, who was George W. Bush's first Treasury secretary, ended up having to pay back taxes. And Bernard Kerik, a former police commissioner from New York, whom Bush nominated to be the head of Homeland Security in 2004, withdrew his name from consideration because he had not paid payroll taxes for a housekeeper who may have been in the country illegally.

President Clinton faced a similar situation in 1993, when it was reported that his nominee for attorney general, Zoe Baird, had not paid Social Security taxes for an illegal immigrant couple she employed. And Clinton's Commerce secretary, Ronald Brown, also disclosed that he had failed to pay payroll taxes for a part-time housekeeper.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had stated that there were 57 states in the United States, wouldn't you have had second thoughts about his capabilities?

True. Obama made the mistake of saying that he had visited 57 U.S. states during a presidential campaign appearance in Oregon in 2008. He clearly meant to say 47, but slipped up.

According to a Los Angeles Times blog item that highlighted the future president's error, he said: "Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it."

Claim: If any other of our presidents would have flown all the way to Denmark to make a five minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit him walking out his front door in his home town, would you not have thought he was a self-important, conceited, egotistical jerk?

Misleading. The president and first lady both traveled to Copenhagen in October 2009 to make a case for Chicago to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Chicago was competing against Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, which was eventually awarded hosting duties. The Associated Press reported that Obama's presentation marked "the first time a U.S. president has appeared before the International Olympic Committee to lobby for an Olympics." In his speech, the president didn't talk about how the Olympics "would benefit him walking out his front door in his home town," as the author of this e-mail claims. Obama said that Chicago wanted to host the Olympics because the city embodied the "American Dream" and "Olympic spirit" that "no matter who we are, where we come from; no matter what we look like or what hand life has dealt us; with hard work, and discipline, and dedication, we can make it if we try."

Claim: If any other of our presidents had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was "The 5th of May" (Cinco de Mayo), and then continue to flub it when he tried again, wouldn't you have winced in embarrassment?

Partly true. Obama did say "[w]elcome to Cinco de Cuatro" in his opening remarks at a 2009 White House event held on May 4. But he made the mistake only once. He correctly referred to "Cinco de Mayo" seven times during his speech.

The 2009 ceremony, which Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan attended, was held the day before the actual holiday, which commemorates Mexico's victory over France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. We presume the president may have meant to say "Cuatro de Mayo," or "fourth of May," instead of "Cuatro de Cinco." Whether that makes him "Spanish illiterate," we'll leave to our readers to judge, but it's a fact that the words didn't come out right.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel To go Plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a Hypocrite?

True. In 2009, Mark Knoller of CBS News reported that about 9,000 gallons of fuel were used to transport Obama from Washington to Des Moines, Iowa, and back, to deliver a speech on Earth Day that year. Knoller couldn't get the press office for Andrews Air Force Base to give him the figures for fuel consumption, so he did the calculations himself. "But Boeing says its 747 burns about 5 gallons of fuel per mile," he wrote. "It's 895 miles from Washington to Des Moines, so a round trip brings the fuel consumption for the fixed-wing portion of the President's trip to 8,950 gallons." However, Knoller, who has covered multiple presidencies, noted that this is nothing new. "It happens every time a president leaves town to make an Earth Day speech. Reporters scramble to point out how much fuel was expended so the President could talk about conserving energy and using alternative fuels," he wrote.

Indeed, Bush made an Earth Day speech in Wells, Maine, in 2004, and the next year he was in Knoxville, Tenn., just to pick two examples from the previous administration. So, the e-mail's implication that other presidents didn't do this sort of thing is wrong.

Claim: If any other of our presidents' administrations had okayed Air Force One Flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in Downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they Actually get what happened on 9-11?

True. White House Military Office Director Louis Caldera issued a statement on April 27, 2009, taking responsibility for having approved the mission. A military aircraft sometimes used as Air Force One and two F-16 fighters were flown over Lower Manhattan In New York City for a photo shoot. While Caldera said in his statement that "state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey" were notified in advance, the public was not, which caused many to panic at the sight of the aircraft flying low over the city. Obama, who was not aboard the plane at the time, was also reportedly not aware of the flyover, and was said to have been "furious" over the incident.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had failed to send relief aid to Flood Victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made Homeless than In New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing Political issue With claims of racism and incompetence?

False. Bad as they were, no recent floods have caused anything close to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. When that hurricane hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, so many people died that the final toll is still a matter of dispute. But the State of Louisiana reported a year after the storm that "[t]here have been 1,464 deceased victims of Hurricane Katrina from Louisiana." A National Hurricane Center publication put the body count from all states at "approximately 1,500." Some others have put the total even higher. Deaths from recent floods have been a fraction of the Katrina carnage. There were 160 flood fatalities in 2009 and 2010 combined, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That's counting floods in the Midwest and other regions of the U.S. as well.

It's also not true that Obama "failed to send relief" to Midwestern victims. For example, he ordered a federal response to floods in the Midwestern states of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota in 2009. In his weekly radio address on March 28 that year, Obama said that he "granted a major disaster declaration request for the State of North Dakota and ordered federal support into the region to help state and local officials respond to the flooding." That was followed by similar declarations for Minnesota and South Dakota. FEMA said later that year that North Dakota alone had received $150 million in state and federal grants and loans.

Claim: If any other of our presidents had created the positions of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America, would you have approved?

False. Obama did not create "the positions of 32 Czars who report directly to him." We reported in September 2009 that 15 out of the 32 "czars" listed by conservative talk show host Glenn Beck were actually positions created by previous administrations. Furthermore, only eight of the so-called czars we counted in the Obama administration were new positions directly appointed by the president and not subject to Senate confirmation. Besides, no one in the administration has the official title of "czar." That is shorthand used by members of the media when describing employees of the administration who sometimes have cumbersome titles. For example, the director of White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy is sometimes referred to as just the "energy czar."

Claim: If any other of our presidents had ordered the firing of the CEO of A major Corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do So, would You have approved?

Misleading. The author refers to the fact that the Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the former General Motors chairman and chief executive officer, to step down in March 2009. That was a condition set by the administration for providing billions of dollars more in federal assistance to the "new" GM. Under Wagoner, GM had lost about $82 billion in the four years prior to the government stepping in with the bailout money, and, as previously mentioned, its stock was being declared worthless by some Wall Street analysts. The Bush administration had already given GM more than $9 billion through the Troubled Asset Relief Program before Obama announced a deal that required that GM go through bankruptcy and emerge under new leadership, in return for additional federal aid. 

— Lori Robertson and D'Angelo Gore, with Melissa Siegel

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