Saturday, September 08, 2012

Michelle Obama's DNC Speech Fact Checked

I'm going to be honest. I didn't watch any of the Democratic National Convention speakers. It had more to do with the fact that I had a morning project I'm working on that had me in bed early, although I was grateful for that excuse. From what I understand Bill Clinton's long speech was dynamic, but sounded more like he was campaigning for himself. Rush Limbaugh felt Obama channeled Jimmy Carter.  And from all the oohs and ahhs on Facebook, Michelle Obama rocked it out of the park.

Apparently, in speaking about her husband, she emphasized their humble, modest upbringing both as a couple and while growing up. However, did some fact checking and this isn't quite true.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s pitch to voters last night relied on the premise that she and her husband understand what it is to struggle to make ends meet. She spoke movingly about their early years--about how a young Barack Obama drove a car that was “rusted out" and found his furniture “in a dumpster,” how they both came from families that had to “scrape by.” Her fairy tale--however well-delivered--was one great, big, colorful lie.

Both Michelle Robinson and Barack Obama began their adult lives with a leg up on the rest of America. They attended elite schools: Michelle went to Whitney Young, the public magnet school for Chicago’s upper class, while Barack attended Punahou, the private prep school for the top stratum of Hawaiian society. They were accepted to Ivy League schools despite undistinguished credentials, and both attended Harvard Law School.

“[B]elieve it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage,” Michelle said. That sounds like a raw deal--but in fact reflects their fortunate circumstances. They had both just graduated from a very expensive law school, and their combined income from cushy law firm jobs dwarfed the repayments. Barack also soon enjoyed a second salary from the University of Chicago.

They had expensive tastes, reflected in the $277,500 two-bedroom condo they bought in 1993--a high price even by today’s standards. Several years later, they moved into their $1.65 million mansion in Hyde Park--with the help of fraudster Tony Rezko. Barack often told a story of hardship on the campaign trail in 2008 about having his credit card declined--once. The fact that he thought this counted as real hardship speaks volumes.

Read the rest here.

Then from Huffpo, no less, comes this:

During her speech at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, first lady Michelle Obama painted her husband as a president who has created jobs like those held by her father and his grandmother, jobs they used to give their families greater opportunities. “He brought our economy from the brink of collapse to creating jobs again -- jobs you can raise a family on, good jobs right here in the United States of America,” Obama said Tuesday night.
The only problem: that’s not exactly true.
The unfortunate reality is that most of the jobs created under President Barack Obama’s administration pay low wages. About three-fifths of the jobs created during the economic recovery are low-wage, while most of the jobs lost during the recession paid middle-wages, according to a recent study from the National Employment Law Project. More than 40 percent of the jobs created during the economic recovery have been in low-paying sectors like retail, food and employment services.

Unfortunately, embellishing and outright lying has become commonplace in politics, and on both sides of the fence.  It's sad to even need to fact check politicians, but that's how it goes; although it's hard to tell sometimes if you can even trust the fact checkers.

No comments: