Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)– Echoing a falsehood advanced by numerous media figures, Fox News Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson falsely claimed on the March 9 edition of the show that President Obama “pledged that he was going to get rid of all these earmarks.” Discussing the omnibus appropriations bill, Carlson also stated: “If [Obama] wanted to make a statement, he would be like a relief pitcher, and he would win the game, and he would veto this thing, and he would live up to his word.” Similarly, the Associated Press falsely suggested in a March 8 article that Obama pledged to end earmark spending, reporting that the “$410 billion spending bill includes the kinds of lawmakers’ pet projects that Obama pledged as a candidate to eliminate. His top aides say Obama would overlook for now the time-tested tradition that allows lawmakers to divert millions at a time to pet projects, called ‘earmarks,’ in the hopes of moving on.”
As Media Matters for America has documented, The New York Times, as well as several media figures — including Times columnist Maureen Dowd, CNN’s Campbell Brown and Kitty Pilgrim, and Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Neil Cavuto, and Bill O’Reilly — have advanced the false claim that Obama promised during his campaign to stop earmark spending and is breaking that promise by signing the omnibus spending bill. In fact, Obama actually promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending.
From the March 8 AP article:
“This is like your relief pitcher coming in into the ninth inning and wanting to redo the whole game,” he said. “Next year, we will be the starting pitcher and the game is going to be completely different.”
The $410 billion spending bill includes the kinds of lawmakers’ pet projects that Obama pledged as a candidate to eliminate. His top aides say Obama would overlook for now the time-tested tradition that allows lawmakers to divert millions at a time to pet projects in their districts or states, called “earmarks,” in the hopes of moving on.
The measure expected to be voted on by the Senate this week keeps the government open for business through Sept. 30, when the federal budget year ends. Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group, identified almost 8,600 earmarks totaling $7.7 billion; Democrats say the number is $3.8 billion and that just under half of the projects come from Republican lawmakers.
Orszag also pleaded for patience as the 6-week-old administration looks for solutions: “Well, I think fundamentally, the economy is weak. Job losses began in January of 2008. The stock market started declining October 2007. This has been, you know, eight years in the making, and again, it’s going to take some time to work our way out of it.”
Republicans weren’t swayed by Orszag’s arguments, saying the Democratic spending bill doesn’t address the problems or keep Obama’s campaign pledges.
“First of all, if you make a promise, people expect that you live up to it. And that’s why this administration’s refusal to go in and change this bill, I think, is a false position,” said Rep. Eric Cantor, the GOP’s No. 2 official.
“There is no way anyone could take what Mr. Orszag has said with any credibility,” Cantor said. “Of course they’re negotiating on this bill in the Senate right now. To say that ‘we would have drawn it differently’ but leave $430 billion-plus dollars on the table like this? No way.”
From the March 9 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
CARLSON: I think the most amazing thing, though, is what this budget director continues to say every time he goes on TV. I think he needs a little PR training.
Here was his line yesterday — you know, taking blame or not taking blame for this omnibus bill, the Obama administration: “This is like your relief pitcher coming into the ninth inning and wanting to redo the whole game. Next year, we’re going to be the starting pitcher and the game’s going to be completely different.”
Oh, yeah? So when you come in as the relief pitcher in the ninth inning and you’re trying to win the game, do you just forget about all those earmarks that happened in the first eight innings? I don’t get that, because Obama pledged that he was going to get rid of all these earmarks, and now he’s placing the blame completely on the Bush administration for this omnibus bill.
If he wanted to make a statement, he would be like a relief pitcher, and he would win the game, and he would veto this thing, and he would live up to his word.