Thursday, March 22, 2012

'The Road We've Traveled'

From Karl Rove, at Wall Street Journal, "Three dismal years are spun into 17 minutes of fact-challenged campaign film":

This month, Barack Obama's re-election campaign released a 17-minute film, "The Road We've Traveled," that previews the Democratic general election narrative. Directed by Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim and narrated by actor Tom Hanks, the film explores Mr. Obama's most important decisions.

Viewers are told Mr. Obama deserves re-election for restoring America to prosperity after a recession "as deep as anything . . . since the Great Depression." He accomplished this in part, so the film says, by bailing out the auto companies—deciding not to just "give the car companies" or "the UAW the money" but to force them to "work together" and "modernize the automobile industry." The president, we're told, also confronted "one of the most worrisome problems facing America . . . the cost of health care."

Abroad, Mr. Obama ended the Iraq war and, in the "ultimate test of leadership," Osama bin Laden was killed on his watch. The film heralds Mr. Obama as a leader committed to "tough decisions" and as someone who "would not dwell in blame" in the Oval Office.

Where to begin? Perhaps with the last statement: Mr. Obama has spent three years wallowing in blame. His culprits have ranged from his predecessor, to tsunamis and earthquakes, to ATMs, to Fox News, to yours truly. If you Google "Obama, Blame, Bush" and "Obama, Inherited," you'll get tens of millions of hits.

As for inheriting the worst economy since the Great Depression: Perhaps Mr. Obama has forgotten the Carter presidency, which featured double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates, and high unemployment.

The film is riddled with other inaccuracies and misleading claims. For example, the United Auto Workers may not have gotten "money" in the bailout, but as an unsecured creditor, the union received a 17.5% ownership interest in General Motors and 55% of Chrysler, while the companies' bondholders got hosed.

The film asserts that the auto companies "repaid their loans." But they still owe taxpayers $26.5 billion, and the Treasury Department's latest report to Congress noted that nearly $24 billion of the bailout money is gone forever.

The film includes Mr. Obama's 2008 claim that the death of his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, from cancer "could have been prevented" if only she "had good, consistent insurance." But earlier this year, a biography of Dunham by Janny Scott, "A Singular Woman," revealed that she had health insurance that covered most all her medical bills, leaving only a few hundred dollars a month in deductibles and uncovered costs. For misleading viewers, the Washington Post fact checker awarded this segment of the film "Three Pinocchios" ...
 More at the link.