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RNC Communications - December 14, 2011

With voters souring on his economic performance, Obama is pushing a new excuse for the repeated underperformance of his policies: that they worked just fine but the economic crisis was larger than anyone expected. Unfortunately, Obama himself, along with economists and newspapers across the country, knew exactly how bad the situation was in 2008 and early 2009. The Obama campaign may want to rewrite history, but their words from the time betray their new narrative. As Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard asks: “Why would Obama say something so easily refuted?”

The Obama Administration Has Tried To Rewrite History With Their Claims That No One Expected Such A Deep Economic Crisis

President Obama Now Claims “We Understood That It Was Bad, But We Didn’t Know How Bad It Was.” “President Barack Obama said Tuesday he wishes he knew the full extent of the economic crisis when he took office, if only so he could have let Americans know just how tough the coming years would be. ‘I think we understood that it was bad, but we didn’t know how bad it was,” Obama said in an interview with KIRO in Seattle. ‘I think I could have prepared the American people for how bad this was going to be, had we had a sense of that.’” (Jennifer Epstein, “Barack Obama On Economic Crisis: ‘We Didn’t Know How Bad It Was,” Politico’s 44, 12/13/11)

  • Obama Chief Of Staff Bill Daley Said No One In 2009 “Had Any Idea Of The Depth Of The Economic Crisis We Would Stumble Into.” DALEY: “No one at that time of that interview [Obama in 2009] had any idea of the depth of the economic crisis we would stumble into. We had already lost 4 million jobs before he even became president of the United States. It has been much worse than anyone thought.” (NBC’s “The Today Show,” 9/8/11)
  • White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Claimed No One Realized How Bad The Economic Situation Was In 2009. “Carney's implication seemed to be that no one realized the severity of the situation in early 2009, and that the White House acted as best it could with the information it had. ‘We were in an economic free-fall, and we know now that the hole that was dug by the recession was much deeper than we understood at the time,’ Carney told Scarborough and Brzezinski.” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

But Obama Clearly Understood The Crisis He Faced When He Said In 2008 “We Are Going Through The Worst Financial Crisis Since The Great Depression”

September 2008: Obama: “We Are Going Through The Worst Financial Crisis Since The Great Depression.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks During First Presidential Debate, Oxford, MS, 9/26/08)

October 2008: Obama: “We Meet Here At A Time Of Great Uncertainty. Our Economy Is In Crisis.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks, La Crosse, WI, 10/1/08)

November 2008: Obama: “We Are Facing An Economic Crisis Of Historic Proportions.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks Announcing Members Of The Economic Team, Chicago, IL, 11/24/08)

The Consensus Among Economists At The Time Was Clear …

The Evidence Doesn’t Support The White House’s Claim That No One Knew How Bad The Economy Was In 2009. “White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made a surprising assertion on MSNBC Wednesday, saying that in early 2009, as Barack Obama was taking office, there weren't any major economists who understood just how bad the recession was. The problem is that the evidence doesn't support his claim.” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

  • “In Reality, Though, Well-Respected Analysts And Economists From All Corners Were Sounding Alarms About The State Of The Economy -- In Early 2009, And Even Before.” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

In January 2009, 78 Percent Of Economists Expected GDP To Continue Its Decline. “And a January 2009 survey of more than 100 economists, conducted by the National Association for Business Economics, found that that business conditions overall were the worst in the survey's 27-year history. At the time, 78 percent of the economists said they expected GDP to keep falling.” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf Predicted Unemployment Above 9 Percent. “For example, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, testified before the House Budget Committee on January 27, 2009, that without immediate action, the economy would sag below its potential by nearly 7 percent for the next two years, and that unemployment would exceed 9 percent by early 2010 -- something that actually happened four months later, in May 2009.” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

  • “Describing This Projected Gap Between Potential And Actual Economic Output, Elmendorf Called It The Largest Shortfall ‘In Terms Of Both Length And Depth ... Since The Depression Of The 1930s.’” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

Martin Feldstein: “This Recession Is Likely To Last Longer And Be More Damaging” Than The Great Depression.  “Martin Feldstein, Harvard professor and former economic adviser to Ronald Reagan, wrote in January 2009 that ‘this recession is likely to last longer and be more damaging than any since the depression of the 1930's.’” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

James Galbraith Compared America’s Condition To “A True Financial Crisis Of The Type In The 1930s.” “And James Galbraith, a left-leaning economist and former executive director of the Joint Economic Committee said, ‘there are many good reasons to think’ that America is in ‘a true financial crisis of the type in the 1930s.’” (Alexander Eichler, “Jay Carney, Despite Evidence, Says Economists Didn’t Know How Bad The Recession Would Get,” The Huffington Post, 12/8/11)

Newspapers, Columnists And Editorial Boards Across The Country Knew How Bad It Was …

The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman: “If We Don't Stimulate The Global Economy Fast Enough And Big Enough, Some Of Obama's Inaugural Balls Might Be Held In Soup Kitchens.” (Tom Friedman, Op-Ed, “Gonna Need A Bigger Boat,” The New York Times, 11/18/08)

The Orlando Sentinel: “The United States Is Facing Its Worst Slump Since The Great Depression.” “The United States is facing its worst slump since the Great Depression. Mr. Obama will inherit responsibility for the $700 billion financial-rescue plan Congress passed last month. While working with lawmakers to restore confidence in the banking system and put a floor under plunging housing prices, he needs to make sure taxpayers have a shot at getting their money back.” (Editorial, “Dear Mr. President-Elect,” The Orlando Sentinel, 11/5/08)

The New York Times’ Paul Krugman: “Recent Economic Numbers Have Been Terrifying.” “The fact is that recent economic numbers have been terrifying, not just in the United States but around the world. Manufacturing, in particular, is plunging everywhere. Banks aren't lending; businesses and consumers aren't spending. Let's not mince words: This looks an awful lot like the beginning of a second Great Depression.” (Paul Krugman, Op-Ed, “Fighting Off Depression,” The New York Times, 1/6/09)

The Grand Rapids Press: “The Economy Is In A Precipitous Downturn.” “The economy is in a precipitous downturn and no one, on the left or right, is advocating tax increases that would jeopardize a recovery. In the meantime, we're spending money as fast as we can: the Troubled Asset Relief Program ($700 billion and counting); Obama's proposed stimulus program ($800 billion and counting); and important initiatives still to come, like an overhaul of the way we pay for health care.” (Editorial, “Revenue Needs To Be Raised For Stimulus,” The Grand Rapid Press, 1/16/09)

The Charleston Gazette: “The Nation Hasn't Suffered Such A Drastic Blow Since Just After World War II.” “America lost 524,000 more jobs in December, bringing 2008's employment wipeout to 2.6 million. The nation hasn't suffered such a drastic blow since just after World War II. Every one of those 2.6 million lost jobs represents pain and trauma for some family. Nobody knows when work opportunities will begin growing again.” (Editorial, “Jobless; America’s Nightmare,” Charleston Gazette, 1/15/09)


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