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FactCheck Mailbag, Week of June 5-11

This week, readers sent us letters about President Obama’s role in federal government spending in 2009, and Mitt Romney’s performance as governor of Massachusetts.

In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the email we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.


More on Obama’s Spending

Just read your very interesting article [“Obama’s Spending: ‘Inferno’ or Not?,” June 4].

It raises a question that wasn’t addressed: You refer to 2009 spending as being due to appropriations of the past. Isn’t it true that the last two years of [George W.] Bush’s reign, he had a Congress that was veto-proof with Democrats in control? That would make Obama a real part of the spending that occurred in 2009, correct?

Jaclyn Fleming
Urbandale, Iowa

FactCheck.org responds: Democrats controlled the House and Senate beginning in January 2007, but their majorities were nowhere close to “veto-proof” in either chamber.

In the Senate, the split was effectively 51-49 (counting two independents who typically voted with Democrats), and in the House, the split was 233-202. It requires a two-thirds majority in both houses to override a veto. See Article I, Section 7.

More important, the massive appropriations bill under which the government was operating when Obama took office was passed by large bipartisan majorities in both the House (370 to 58) and in the Senate (78 to 12). Obama was not present for that vote.

The TARP legislation that Bush signed also passed by large bipartisan majorities. In the Senate, the vote was 74 to 25, with a majority of Republicans in favor. This time, Obama was present and voted in favor. In the House, the vote was 263 to 171, with Republicans divided 91 for and 108 against.

That’s why we said “Bush (and Congress)” were mostly responsible for the very high level of spending that President Obama inherited and has done little to restrain. Both parties share responsibility.

Where’s the Beef?

I am truly disappointed with this FactCheck analysis [“Obama Twists Romney’s Economic Record,” June 7] as its attempt to say that [Mitt] Romney’s performance was not as bad as previous and future governors misses the point.

The shadings of this article that are supportive of Romney does not negate the overall  accuracy of the ad. I think that FactCheck should disprove rather than develop strained qualifications. I expect beef from FactCheck.

Chet Avery
Alexandria, Va.


I live in Massachusetts and you are leaving out key things in your claims. Many of us had to find jobs in surrounding states, thus paying two state income taxes.

Romney raised fees that greatly affected middle-class and lower-class people living in Massachusetts. Plus, Romney did not stay in Massachusetts his one and only term, he ran off to run for [president], and if that wasn’t bad enough, he was slamming our state.

We weren’t good enough for him to bother with. He wanted that brass ring, so he left things for [former Lt. Gov.] Kerry Healey who didn’t do a very good job, and she was soundly beaten by Deval Patrick.

I suggest that whoever did the research in this article take a closer look the next time. Better yet, ask the people of Massachusetts.

Judy Walsh
Springfield, Mass.

FactCheck.org responds: Romney didn’t formally announce that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee until Jan. 3, 2007, the day before his term as governor of Massachusetts was over. And he didn’t formally announce that he was running for president until Feb. 13, 2007.