Let’s not let the factual be the enemy of the necessary

Those pesky facts. The Associated Press, of all organizations, takes President Obama to task for his elegant twisting of the truth during yesterday’s town hall meeting and press conference.

Some highlights:

OBAMA: “Not a single pet project,” he told the news conference. “Not a single earmark.”

THE FACTS: There are no “earmarks,” as they are usually defined, inserted by lawmakers in the bill. Still, some of the projects bear the prime characteristics of pork — tailored to benefit specific interests or to have thinly disguised links to local projects. …

OBAMA: “My bottom line is, are we creating 4 million jobs?” he told the news conference. …

THE FACTS: Job creation projections are uncertain even in stable times, and some of the economists relied on by Obama in making his forecast acknowledge a great deal of uncertainty in their numbers. …

OBAMA: “We also inherited the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression.”

THE FACTS: This could turn out to be the case. But as bad as the economic numbers are, the unemployment figures have not reached the levels of the early 1980s, let alone the 1930s — yet. A total of 598,000 payroll jobs vanished in January — the most in nearly 35 years — and the unemployment rate jumped to 7.6 from 7.2 percent the month before. The most recent high was 7.8 percent in June 1992.

And the jobless rate was 10.8 percent in November and December 1982. Unemployment in the Great Depression ranged for several years from 25 percent to close to 30 percent.

SNAP!

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