Fact Check: Ad Wants Obama's Answers on Jobs, Debt

By Steve Kanigher

Published 10/22 2012 03:57PM

Updated 05/25 2015 02:49AM

Claim: A new advertisement endorsed by Republican-leaning super political action committee American Crossroads that is airing on KLAS-TV Channel 8 features a woman in a kitchen who posed the following questions to President Barack Obama: "Where are the jobs you promised? The trillions you spent, where did it all go? What's there to show for all that new debt? And if we're in a recovery, why are we making less?"

Verdict: Partially true and partially misleading. The jobs question is vague, particularly since the ad cites no sources. Many critics have argued that Democrat Obama and congressional Democrats made certain promises when the economic stimulus package was approved in 2009. But Obama never promised that the stimulus would drive down the unemployment rate to a certain point. Before he took office, Christina Romer, his incoming chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers, co-authored a report predicting that a stimulus package would lower unemployment to 7 percent by the fourth quarter of 2010 and below 6 percent this year. Unemployment never fell below 8 percent until it dipped to 7.8 percent in September. On the employment front, there were an estimated 133.5 million nonfarm jobs in the United States in September, roughly 61,000 fewer than when Obama took office in January 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But more than 4.2 million new jobs were added since employment hit its low point in February 2010.

The question about trillions spent also is vague. The economic stimulus package cost an estimated $840 billion. The website Recovery.gov, which tracks stimulus spending, indicates that more than $2.9 billion has been awarded to recipients in Nevada, including $1.1 billion for energy and environmental projects and $620 million for education. The stimulus produced 751 jobs in Nevada in the second quarter of 2012.

The nation's debt climbed from $10.6 trillion when Obama took office to nearly $16.2 trillion as of Friday. Part of this increase is tied to the stimulus. But much of the increase was driven by events that began before Obama's tenure, including the recession, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and tax cuts pushed by President George W. Bush.

The Census Bureau reported last month that median household income in the U.S. last year was $50,054, 1.5 percent less than in 2010 and 8.1 percent lower than in 2007. The recession officially ran from December 2007 through June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. A recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters -- or six months -- of negative economic growth, which hasn't occurred since mid-2009. But the recovery has differed from state to state and Nevada, which hasn't climbed out of double-digit unemployment, has had one of the nation's slowest recoveries.

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