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9:20 p.m.
"We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy. Yet we import more oil today than ever before."

According to the Energy Information Administration, the official keeper of energy stats for the U.S. Department of Energy, oil imports to the U.S. fell through 2008 and demand is projected to continue to fall through 2009. --Frank Ahrens

9:23 p.m.
"Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs."

That was the estimate for the size of the stimulus package President Obama asked for of more than $830 billion. But as the package was whittled down in Congress to $787 billion, Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Economy.com, and other outside analysts have lowered their projections to just more than 2 million jobs saved or created.
--Frank Ahrens

9:27 p.m.
"You should also know that the money you've deposited in banks across the country is safe; your insurance is secure; and you can rely on the continued operation of our financial system."

If you have more than $250,000 in a bank, it is not necessarily covered by federal insurance. Further, insurance companies are struggling and state guarantee pools have only limited coverage. --Frank Ahrens

9:27 p.m.
"Too many bad loans from the housing crisis have made their way onto the books of too many banks."

Banks actually created pools of loans or bought loans for profit. Bad loans did not wander onto balance sheets by themselves. --Frank Ahrens


President Obama addresses a Joint Session of Congress, February 24, 2009. (The Washington Post)

9:41 p.m.
"As for our auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad decision-making and a global recession have pushed our automakers to the brink. We should not, and will not, protect them from their own bad practices."

This is part of the story. The other part is trade barriers set up by foreign nations to limit the import of U.S. vehicles. South Korea, for instance, has until recently been a market largely closed to Detroit automakers, thanks to high tariffs, while Americans bought Hyundais and Kias by the thousands. --Frank Ahrens

"And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it."

It's doubtful that President Obama is referring here to Germany, home of Karl Friedrich Benz, inventor of the first true, four-wheel, gasoline-powered, internal-combustion-engine auto, or his contemporary, Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler, who did same. America -- Henry Ford -- invented mass production of the auto. --Frank Ahrens

From earlier in the speech
"A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway."

By pairing it with the Bush tax cuts and housing boom, Obama here casts financial deregulation as something that happened only this decade, under Bush. It is true that several key deregulatory moves occurred this decade, including a little-noticed 2004 SEC decision that allowed investment banks to greatly increase their debt levels, which helped drive their move into mortgage securities. But other key actions occurred during the 1990s, such as the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which took down the wall between commercial and investment banks and was supported by many Democrats in Congress and by Robert Rubin, mentor to many Obama economic advisers. Rubin also fought attempts to regulate credit default swaps, which played a big role in the current crisis. --Alec MacGillis

From earlier
"Yesterday, I held a fiscal summit where I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office."

That's going to be a tough one. President Obama wants to halve the national deficit over the next four years, largely by cutting spending in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and raising taxes. But Dave Walker, the former Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office, warns that tax hikes and slashing war spending will barely make a dent in the deficit and debt without serious reform to government entitlement programs -- Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Without these reforms, Walker argues the debt will grow to 2.5 times the gross domestic product over the next 30 years, as the Baby Boomers enter the entitlement system. --Frank Ahrens

9:54 p.m.
"In this budget, we will end education programs that don't work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don't need them."

We won't know the details backing up this claim until the budget is released. But it is doubtful that Obama will be able to save very much in cutting education programs, given that the bulk of the federal education budget goes into supplementary programs such as Title I, for schools with high levels of low-income students, and IDEA, for students with special needs. In fact, his stimulus plan increased funding in both of those areas.

Secondly, Obama's promise to attack subsidies for big agribusiness is undermined by the fact that he voted for the $290 billion farm bill in 2008, which, as critics like John McCain noted, continued big corporate subsidies. --Alec MacGillis

By Washington Post Editors  |  February 24, 2009; 9:01 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

To all those who have responded that Republicans/Jindal also got their facts wrong, let's agree that all Republicans are ignorant,lying child-molesters. But it's the Democrats who are NOW running the show. And Obama is the President now. His errors, if they indeed are such, are the only thing that matters.

Posted by: melk1 | February 26, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Obama didn't talk about the bipartisan, two-decade cause of the economic cluster**** because he wasn't about to do anything to throw his own "economic czar," Larry Summers,under the bus.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly | February 25, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Great job Ahrens. Facts are facts whether large, small, or minute and should be stated accurately.

BHO engages in politically convenient speach like any good politician. Nice to have someone brushing with a fine tooth comb.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | February 25, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Selims:

Did you also think Obama was referring to Ford inventing the automobile?

Did anyone else watch Gov. Jindal's response on MSNBC, or the Today Show this morning?

Posted by: JakeD | February 25, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, I don't know what happened to checking the rest of the speach; but, the items that were mentioned were just plain picky. So, checking the remainder is irrelevent. You won't find a fact check of Jindal's rebuttal because he didn't say anything you could check. Typical GOP. But, he mentions saving/creting jobs with tax cuts in La., I would like to know a figure of jobs saved/created in his state. His repeated mentions of Katrina, were a big mistake. He never explained why, the GOP rubber stamped Bush; even though it was away from their basic principles? Why Bobby?

Posted by: linda_521 | February 25, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

This "fact check" should be removed from the Washington Post site immediately - the 'fact-checker' is obviously 'winging it' and writing the first thing that comes into his head. This is not journalism and the level of information and insight that it provides is way below the standards - I hope - of the Washington Post. A high school student, even without 'google,' could do better.

Right from the first 'fact check' the author sets the tone:
1. "We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy. Yet we import more oil today than ever before."

According to the Energy Information Administration, the official keeper of energy stats for the U.S. Department of Energy, oil imports to the U.S. fell through 2008 and demand is projected to continue to fall through 2009. --Frank Ahrens

President Obama gave the the time frame "for decades," and Mr. Ahrens choses to look at oil imports for last year (a year in which the economy was in, or approaching, recession ... during a recession demand for all products fall). Whereas using "for decades" as the relative time frame our imports of oil have increased dramatically.

Then we move onto:
2. "Too many bad loans from the housing crisis have made their way onto the books of too many banks."

Banks actually created pools of loans or bought loans for profit. Bad loans did not wander onto balance sheets by themselves.--Frank Ahrens

What on earth does this mean, what information does this 'fact check' convey? That banks willingly create bad debts? That the author believes that President Obama thinks that bad debts are animate? What a pointless and inane comment.

3. The author quotes moodys.com as an authority on the economy. a) Moodys were the company that gave AAA ratings to the derivatives created from prime loan securites. b) It is very difficult to predict how a stimulus will affect job growth and if you, or anyone, cannot say with certainty how a stimulus affects job growth then this cannot be referred to as a 'fact check.'

4. "You should also know that the money you've deposited in banks across the country is safe; your insurance is secure; and you can rely on the continued operation of our financial system."

If you have more than $250,000 in a bank, it is not necessarily covered by federal insurance. Further, insurance companies are struggling and state guarantee pools have only limited coverage.--Frank Ahrens

Again, this is a 'fact-check'? Yes, when we reach Armageddon the banking system will not have the resources to fund their insurance programs ... Until Armageddon your deposits are safe.

You cannot expect us to take this seriously!!! Please remove it.

Selims

Posted by: Selims | February 25, 2009 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Nobody tricked these people. They simply didn't think things through like an adult is supposed to.

And now I'm expected to pay more taxes so that they get a subsidy if they pay their mortgage, or if they don't pay their mortgage.

Meanwhile people like me who bust our butt every day get screwed so that loafers get a free pass. It's disgusting.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 24, 2009 10:12 PM

What about those of us whose salaries have gone from 120K to 45K in the past decade? In case you haven't noticed, companies are shedding jobs at the rate of about 1/2 million a month.

Yes, there were some who over extended, but the economic situation at this point goes way beyond those individuals and is well into the overall economy. If you haven't been affected, then good on you, but please cut the crap about the ne'er do wells living on the public dole. There are far more hard working individuals caught in the middle of this cycle of greed and irresponsiblity than those that created the situation.

Posted by: vmi98mom | February 25, 2009 5:01 AM | Report abuse

If the WaPo wants to run a Fact Chaeck story, they ought to hire people who check facts.

Many of the items cited in this story were about the future.

Obama forecasts 3.5 million jobs saved or created. Since we are talking future, its IMPOSSIBLE to fact check. But not only is there a 'fact check' comment in there, they source is Moody's. Yes Moody's -- the same firm that gave AAA credit ratings to bundles of subprime loans sold off to unwitting investors. You know, the loans that are worthless now.

Further Ahrens makes a comment that bad loans didn't wander onto bank balance sheets on their own. But Obama NEVER said anything close to that.

WAPO mgmt needs to either kill the fact check concept or get people who are willing to check facts. But having snarky opinions titled 'fact check' is just, well, not factual

Posted by: zcezcest1 | February 25, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

kenonwenu,

I guess you're another quibbler too.

Everyone knows Obama was talking about Henry Ford inventing the production line, which then enabled the middle class to afford cars.

Our president. You can have in in any color you want, just so long as it's black.

Get used to it!

Posted by: kevinschmidt | February 25, 2009 1:53 AM | Report abuse

What I find odd is that most educated people, on hearing that America invented the car, would immediately say "what?" But Congress all jumped up and started clapping and cheering wildly.

Fear of looking less patriotic than the guy in the next chair?

Posted by: kenonwenu | February 25, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Frank Ahrens is a quibbler!

Posted by: kevinschmidt | February 25, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

"How is this SPINNING when everything Obama said was challenged?"

Everything? This list is all he said?

Can someone fact check the fact check comments please?

As for me being a schmuck, well I guess with your intellect or lack thereof, name calling is the best you can do.

Posted by: DanD1 | February 25, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Wow, does eight "facts checked" imply this hour-long speech had only eight facts? If so, that means the speech was mostly just rhetoric. It follows then that the post-speech polls which should 8 out of 10 viewers approved of the speech must have based their approval on rhetoric rather than substance, since no real details were provided. Could it be that once the details reveal themselves, approval for the president's sharp left turn of government will not be nearly as enthusiastic?

Posted by: bbahler | February 25, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

What about fact-checking the GOP garbage about $8 billion for a high-speed train between Las Vegas and Disneyland? Jindal brings it up again tonight even though it's completely false.

In fact, the stimulus bill designates $8 billion for high-speed rail service throughout the country and it seems unlikely that the LV to Anaheim route will prevail over the Northeast corridor, the midwest link between Cleveland and Chicago and many others. Only GEORGE W. BUSH has given money directly to the LV/Anaheim project - $45 million last year just for a feasability study. That was the boondoggle. The construction of high-speed rail systems throughout the country will not only create jobs [read "stimulus"], it will also help the environment and reduce our dependence on fossil fuel.

Posted by: carol58 | February 25, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

i agree with a previous post, where is the fact checking on jindal's rebuttal? since we have not seen one yet, i will begin:

bobby jindal said (with a straight face, mind you):
"Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us.

Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts."

you have your doubts because a republican president refused to do what presidents do during times of crisis and that is act. our president, duly elected by the american people tonight did something that for eight years we all waited and wished for: intelligent, thoughtful action to deal with big issues of the day.

the fact that bobby jindal as the GOP's shining light could think to utter the statement above with a straight face i hope shows everyone who heard it just how painfully deluded the party is and how far it has fallen from the party of lincoln, the party of teddy roosevelt, the party of buckley and company.

Posted by: tumbleweedhips | February 25, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

"And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it."

Don't worry, Mr Obama: Germany will keep making excellent cars.

In fact, as President of the United States, you should make every effort so that middle-class Americans stop buying the crap that comes out of Detroit, and were able to drive BMWs and Mercedes instead, as middle-class Germans do.

Posted by: tropicalfolk | February 24, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

As the current electricity output of solar and wind power remain to be quite small compared with the total power output in U.S., the targeted doubling of output of solar and wind power in three years can not be considered to be a great achievement or worth the total spending for solving the nation's energy problem .

Posted by: ypcchiu | February 24, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree that some of the points mentioned in the article have a bit of a 'gotcha' element. I was wondering about "we passed a stimulus package free of earmarks". According to the Economist magazine, the biggest flaw in the stimulus package is that, since it was drafted by Congress rather than by the executive branch, it is not 'clean'. But I don't know whether the extra stuff is earmarks, exactly, or not. Is it?

Posted by: elizh1 | February 24, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

This collection of wisdom from staff reporters appears to be nothing more than an elaborate game of "gotcha." Pure waste of time!

Posted by: marmac5 | February 24, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

How is this SPINNING when everything Obama said was challenged?
The schmuck who posted that obviously doesn't know what the term means.

Posted by: charlesalmon | February 24, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

He's all talk, no substance and it seemed to me after all he talked about we'll be a whole bunch more that $800B in debt that he already threw around. this is a disaster...

Posted by: Hoops44 | February 24, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for providing this fact check service - I found it to be fair, interesting, and in a good spirit of keeping the president (whoever it is at the time) accountable for exactly what he says.

Keep it up!


Posted by: mindkiller1 | February 24, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

David Walker is a man who makes a living shouting "the sky is falling!!!" The projections (not predictions) of the failure of Social Security in 30 years or so have are no more accurate than reading the entrails of a goat. We can solve our health care problems in the medium term by simply adopting a more efficient insurance program as all the rest of the developed world has. Other wealthy countries get better health care as measured by all the bottom line public health statistics and they do it at less than half the cost per person. We could give a Super Medicare (no co-pays or deductibles, few limitations and complete drug coverage) to everybody and because of the vast waste in our system (overhead of private insurance companies, thousands of different forms for physicians, etc.) it would not cost any more than we are now paying.

You need to check your facts, not just quote some "authority."

Posted by: lensch | February 24, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

This isn't fact checking, it's spinning.

Posted by: DanD1 | February 24, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the gentleman down below.

People bought houses they thought they knew they couldn't afford because they wanted to believe. Its the same reason some half-wit making $40K per year runs up $15K in credit card debt.

Some of you will claim "he was tricked into doing it". No, the truth is, he spent not thinking of the consequences.

Nobody tricked these people. They simply didn't think things through like an adult is supposed to.

And now I'm expected to pay more taxes so that they get a subsidy if they pay their mortgage, or if they don't pay their mortgage.

Meanwhile people like me who bust our butt every day get screwed so that loafers get a free pass. It's disgusting.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 24, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Just a footnote: A sense of history and appropriate crediting of accomplishments of others -- including other countries -- would not diminish pride in the U.S. Contrary to what was said: this is not "the country that invented the automobile"; Henry Ford is credited with mass production of the automobile. But other countries, including Germany, France, Scotland, can more appropriately claim credit for invention of the automobile.

Posted by: Truth27 | February 24, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Most of your comments are either specious, inane, or just plain wrong. I could write a book about the factual errors.

The WaPo is letting me down with this kind of journalism - if that is what it is.

.

Posted by: swanieaz | February 24, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to the fact checking of Jindal's GOP gibberish.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 24, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

The article states: "Too many bad loans from the housing crisis have made their way onto the books of too many banks."

Your answer : "Banks actually created pools of loans or bought loans for profit. Bad loans did not wander onto balance sheets by themselves.--Frank Ahrens"

TOTALLY INANE. IT IS LIKE YOU ARE WRITING "STUFF" JUST TO WRITE SOMETHING. WHAT HE SAID IS TECHNICALLY CORRECT, AND YOU TRY TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE IT IS WRONG.

WHO IN THE HELL REVIEWS YOUR CONDESCENDING COMMENTS?

.

Posted by: swanieaz | February 24, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that much of ANYONE actually bought a house that they "knew they couldn't afford." No, what actually happened, is people bought homes that they THOUGHT THEY COULD AFFORD, and likely were MISLED INTO THINKING THEY COULD AFFORD. Many home buyers, who weren't experts, assumed that lenders would NOT lend to them if the LENDERS KNEW THEY COULDN'T AFFORD IT. And many lenders ENCOURAGED borrowers to believe this, because they were making big money selling the loans to the aggregators-- they made money WHETHER OR NOT the borrower could afford the loan.

Show me someone who KNEW they couldn't afford a house that they bought anyway. If any such people exist, I suspect they are in a VERY SMALL minority. But if you repeat a lie often enough...

Posted by: jointhe21stcentury | February 24, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

The article states: "We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy. Yet we import more oil today than ever before."

Your response said: "According to the Energy Information Administration, the official keeper of energy stats for the U.S. Department of Energy, oil imports to the U.S. fell through 2008 and demand is projected to continue to fall through 2009. --Frank Ahrens"

YOU DID NOT DISAGREE WITH HIS POSITION ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF OIL WE IMPORT.

.

Posted by: swanieaz | February 24, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Who told the auto industry they weren't allowed to make products that could compete with the Hyundais and Kias that Americans bought by the thousands?

Posted by: miscsub | February 24, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Can't help but notice the optimistic shift in every bit of his rhetoric. He pays attention to the papers...

http://political-buzz.com/2009/02/24/obamas-speech-live-twitter-feed/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 24, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Obama still hasn't made the case why he just spent one TRILLION dollars with deficit spending and then turns around and says we've spent too much and must raise taxes on the most productive people in society.

He's either dumb or thinks the rest of us are dumb.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 24, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

what you said, infuse! :)

Posted by: saracooper | February 24, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Your 9:27 comment is just silly. A cheap shot if ever there was one! "made their way" is easily interpreted as to being part of purchased pools. You're looking like a radical right-wing nut when you make comments like you did here.

Posted by: infuse | February 24, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

the 9:27 point of Ahrens seems silly-- it's a matter of eloquesnt word choice on Obama's part, not inaccuracy.

Posted by: saracooper | February 24, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

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