FactCheck – This was the president’s first State of the Union address, but not his first speech to a joint session of Congress. We found a number of errors in his first one on Feb. 24, 2009, and also in his health care speech Sept. 9 (when a GOP House member shouted “you lie”).
This time Republicans merely scoffed and grumbled at some of Obama’s statements. And while we found Obama strained the facts or cited uncertain statistics at times, we uncovered nothing we could show to be false.
President Obama peppered his State of the Union address to Congress and the nation with facts, which were mostly right but sometimes cherry-picked, strained or otherwise misleading.
He said “there are about 2 million Americans working right now” because of last year’s stimulus bill. But his own economic advisers say the total could be as little as 1.5 million, and independent estimates range down to as low as 800,000.
He quoted the Congressional Budget Office as saying health care legislation could “bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion” over the next 20 years. But CBO has made clear that’s a soft and uncertain estimate.
He said that when he took office, the deficit already was projected to total $8 trillion over the next 10 years. But the estimate is from his own Office of Management and Budget; the CBO put the figure at trillions less.
He said he believes a Supreme Court decision will allow foreign corporations to spend in U.S. elections. Perhaps so, but it actually did not address a law still on the books forbidding any foreign-based corporation from spending on electioneering here.
We also scoured the Republican response delivered by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. He doctored a Thomas Jefferson quote — omitting Jefferson’s endorsement of government action to protect people from injury. McDonnell also overstated the speed with which the national debt is growing.
For a full analysis via FactCheck.org click here.