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Cavuto And Huckabee Use False GOP Talking Point To Attack Obama Over Unemployment Numbers

Reported by Guest Blogger - October 6, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Brian

On Friday’s (10/2/09) Your World, Mike Huckabee came by to attack discuss Obama’s record on unemployment. Host Neil Cavuto began by noting that the jobless rate reached 9.8% last month, “much worse than expected.” Huckabee started by repeating a false Republican talking point that Obama had promised that the stimulus would prevent unemployment from rising about 8%. In fact, Obama did not make that promise. But Cavuto never corrected the record. With video.

Cavuto asked Huckabee, “Is this officially (Obama’s) mess?"

"It's been his mess for a long time, but he just won't own it. It's in the trunk of his car, it's in the back seat, it's sittin’ up beside him in the drivers seat, and he doesn't quite fully yet recognize that he said, …’Give me this incredible porkulous bill, although he called it a stimulus, and we'll never see unemployment go above 8%'.”

No, Obama did not promise that. As Politifact has reported,

"We can rule on... whether the Obama administration 'promised' that unemployment rates would not rise above 8 percent if the stimulus were passed. We could find no instance of anyone in the administration directly making such a public pledge... What we saw from the administration in January was a projection, not a promise. And it was a projection that came with heavy disclaimers."

Huckabee continued, “Since that time, and we've spent this money or committed at least.... fact is, unemployment has continued to go to record highs. It has been an abject failure because you can not manipulate the economy by a bunch of government spending and borrowing that scares the heck out of investors who know that there's not going to be any capital out there."

Cavuto pointed out that the rate of job loss had been decreasing until last month. “What’s going on here?”

Huckabee, who seems to have no credentials in economics or business, would seem an odd choice as a guest for this kind of analysis – unless someone was looking to make it political. But he didn’t seem to mind playing an expert on TV. “Part of it is, is that the confidence of the consumer is simply not coming back yet.” Huckabee claimed he wanted to “take this out of the context of the politics of ‘Did Obama inherit this or did he exacerbate it?’ (even though Huckabee had just engaged in exactly that kind of politicization, himself, moments before), he added that it was not just economics but also “the emotional downturn, the spiritual downturn in this country.”

Cavuto, however, went back to politics. "How long do you think he can get away, even with his most ardent supporters saying, ‘Be patient, be patient, be patient?’"

Huckabee said, "Well given the love affair that the press had with him, they're going to let him have more time than most Presidents would Democrat or Republican. Let's be fair, they wouldn't have given Bill Clinton this much time, and they didn't give him this much time… They uniquely have given Obama a favor that no President in my lifetime has ever had." Huckabee predicted the free ride would end "the day after the November elections in New Jersey and Virginia when Republicans win both of those Governor's seats and there will be blood in the water."

Cavuto did offer the caveat that Huckabee was assuming both races would go that way. He pointed out, "The one in New Jersey I'm familiar, cause it’s my home state. That’s a draw right now because of this third party candidate." The polls bear Cavuto out on that.

Huckabee said that it would be a big loss if the Democrats lose those seats but that there's an “expectation” for the incumbent to win. But there is no incumbent in Virginia, though the seat is currently held by a Democrat. The Republican candidate currently leads in the polls.