Fact Check: Ad Takes Obama to Task Over Economy

By Steve Kanigher

Published 07/31 2012 04:28PM

Updated 08/03 2012 10:06AM

CLAIM: A new advertisement endorsed by Republican-leaning issue advocacy group Crossroads GPS that is airing on KLAS-TV Channel 8 leads off with CBS network news anchor Scott Pelley stating: "Good evening. This is the worst economic recovery America has ever had." A narrator then states: "Forty-one straight months of unemployment over 8 percent. Almost 4 million fewer jobs than President Obama predicted. Twenty-three million Americans without full-time work. The results of President Obama's failed stimulus policies."

VERDICT: Partly true and partly misleading. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that unemployment nationally exceeded 8 percent for the 41-month stretch from February 2009 -- the first full month President Barack Obama served in the White House -- through June. It is also true, according to the bureau, that there are more than 23 million Americans without full-time jobs. As for the claim that there are almost 4 million fewer jobs than Democrat Obama predicted, this is where the numbers get dicey. It's true that his economic advisors predicted shortly before he took office that the economic stimulus package Obama and congressional Democrats approved early in his term would create 3 million to 4 million new jobs by the end of 2010. Not only did that prediction turn out to be false, but seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment declined by nearly 2.6 million from February 2009 to December 2010, according to bureau data. Yet nonfarm employment from February 2010 to last December grew by nearly 3 million jobs. While Obama's advisors were off target, job growth eventually kicked in. What is particularly misleading, though, is to suggest that the continued high unemployment is simply the result of Obama's failed policies. His administration inherited a deep recession that officially began in December 2007 when Republican predecessor President George W. Bush was still in office. That recession, the deepest economic quagmire the United States has faced since the Great Depression, also included a housing market collapse that was rooted in policies approved by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers prior to the Obama presidency.

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