Fact Check: Jeb Hensarling vs. Obama

Dave Mann

If you’re going to publicly attack the president, it helps to get your facts straight.

Late last week, Texas Congressman Jeb Hensarling ran down President Obama for ballooning the federal deficit.

The dispute began when Obama showed up at a GOP congressional retreat in Baltimore last week for an extended give-and-take. In a rambling question to the president, Hensarling acknowledged that Republicans had run up large deficits when they were in charge, but he claimed, as the Hill newspaper put it, “yearly deficits Democrats complained about under George W. Bush had now become ‘monthly’ deficits” under Obama. In other words, he contended Obama had multiplied the deficit by a factor of 12.

Here was Obama’s response: “That’s factually just not true. And you know it’s not true.”

I recommend you watch the entire video of the exchange here.

Later, Hensarling sent out a press release that altered his numbers a little. Citing Congressional Budget Office figures, Hensarling now says Obama is equaling the annual Bush deficit every fiscal quarter. In other words, Obama has quadrupled the annual deficit.

So who’s right?

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Dave Mann is a former editor of the Observer.

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