Obama Inflates Role in Creation of Stimulus Package

Sep 16, 2008 7:04pm

In Golden, Colo., today, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., took credit for the stimulus package that passed earlier this year.

"In January, I outlined a plan to help revive our faltering economy," Obama said, "which formed the basis for a bipartisan stimulus package that passed the Congress."

Is that true?

Democrats on Capitol Hill who support Obama say no.

Wanting Obama to win, however, none will say so on the record.

But media accounts from the time make it clear that even though Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., all offered legislation to provide stimulus to the economy, congressional leaders looped them and their legislation out of negotiations.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson worked with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent.

"Pelosi and Reid seemed to be ignoring the detailed policy solutions being put out by her party’s White House hopefuls," wrote the Washington Post on January 23.

"Among Reid’s toughest tasks will be keeping Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill. who are on the campaign trail touting proposals laden with ideas Republicans detest sidelined in the talks while Democrats seek broader agreement with the GOP," wrote the Associated Press the same day.

The bill passed 81-16 on February 7, 2008.

The Obama campaign argues that in January 2008, Obama "was the only candidate to propose a fiscal stimulus plan centered on tax rebate checks for the broad majority of Americans. The bipartisan bill that passed less than a month later was centered on rebate checks to the broad middle class along the lines of what Obama proposed."

That is true.

Obama proposed a tax rebate aimed at middle class families. Clinton’s approach, conversely, focused on specific programs targeted at individuak problems, such as home-heating and mortgage subsidies.

But though the bill that eventually passed more closely resembled Obama’s than either Clinton’s or McCain’s, those involved in the drafting of the legislation say it was more a matter of agreeing on a good idea and was not a matter of, as Obama claimed, his proposal having "formed the basis for a bipartisan stimulus package that passed the Congress."

In Vienna, Ohio, this afternoon, McCain said that Obama today "claimed that the Congressional stimulus package was his idea. That’s news to those of us in Congress who supported it. Senator Obama didn’t even show up to vote."

That’s true. (McCain was there, and he voted for it.)

Moreover, Obama today was guilty of inflating his role in the creation of that bill.

– jpt

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