In the wake of Paul Ryan’s convention remarks last night, there’s been no shortage of fact-checking about some words in a speech then-candidate Barack Obama made at Janesville, Wisconsin in February 2008. Did Obama break a promise? Did he even make one? Is Ryan a liar? Exaggerating? Telling the hard truths?
So I read the Janesville speech, where I found all kinds of interesting stuff, not just some airy wish that, with government help, a GM plant would last another century. Consider these immortal words: “And I won’t wait another ten years to raise the minimum wage – I’ll guarantee that it keeps pace with inflation every single year so that it’s not just a minimum wage, but a living wage,” candidate Obama said. “Because that’s the change that working Americans need.”
Didn’t happen. As of December 2009, when Democrats controlled Congress with a 60-vote majority in the Senate, PolitiFact couldn’t find much evidence that Obama had done anything to raise the minimum wage, or any pending bills in Congress that would do so.
Oh, candidate Obama also said this: “And the main difference between my plan and Senator Clinton’s plan is that she’d require the government to force you to buy health insurance, and she said she’d ‘go after’ your wages if you don’t. Well I believe the reason people don’t have health care isn’t because no one’s forced them to buy it, it’s because no one’s made it affordable – and that’s what we’ll do when I am President.”
Bare-faced falsehoods? Well-intentioned but unrealistic promises? Politics as usual? Let the fact-checking begin!