Bachmann lies, Maryland edition

Michele Bachmann recently spoke at the Frederick County, MD Republican Party’s annual fundraising dinner. Because, um, that helps Minnesota’s Sixth District, we guess. Anyway, the Frederick News-Post did a short piece on what she said, and we managed to spot several outright lies just by scanning it and eating pretzels. Lie #1:

“You’re at the point where you almost feel sorry for Barack Obama,” she said. “No president in the history of polling has fallen faster or farther than Barack Obama, and it couldn’t have happened to a better candidate as far as I’m concerned.”

This is blatantly untrue. Obama’s approval rating was around 44% about a month ago, which CBS says is his personal low, but not the lowest approval rating ever and not the biggest fall from an all-time high. We don’t have time to do an exhaustive study, but we don’t have to — Obama’s immediate predecessor, Mr. George W. Bush, holds the dubious distinction of having left office with the lowest final approval rating of any president ever: 22%. His personal low was 20%. He also had the highest approval rating of any president ever, 90%, just after September 11. (Note: We were not among those who approved of him that month, or any month.) So for Bush, that’s a 70% drop. Obama cannot possibly have had a 70% drop, because 100-44=56. So, Bachmann is lying. We wouldn’t expect the Frederick County Republican Party to actually care, but we submit that the local paper, and indeed Minnesota papers, might care.

Next lie:

She also criticized calls for a new international currency, rather than the U.S. dollar remaining as the international reserve currency.”Do we really want the dollar’s value intermingled with that of Zimbabwe?” she asked. “Well at the rate that Barack Obama’s going, our currency will be worth about as much as Zimbabwe’s if we don’t get a hold on it.”

This is both a lie and misleading as to what the lie is about. In fact, the president specifically told a press conference that he does not support an international reserve currency. This is not an international day-to-day currency like the Euro; it’s for trading and international commodities purchases and is thus far entirely theoretical. Two of his advisors, in response to direct questioning from Bachmann herself, apparently said they supported such an international reserve currency, but Obama doesn’t think we need it. (As well he might; the U.S. gets a discount when borrowing as long as the dollar is being used.) Bachmann must have known very well that she was taking the statement out of context and attributing it to the wrong person. She also knew very well that a sympathetic audience and a small-town news reporter would probably let her get away with it. (BTW, this was rated outright false by

Finally, this:

She said Obama has been spending the country into a “debtor’s prison,” and that the national debt accumulation under his presidency is more than all of the spending of all other presidents combined.

There is no such thing as debtors’ prison in the United States, much to the disappointment of credit card companies. Leaving that issue alone, let’s go back to “more national debt accumulation than the spending of all other presidents combined.” That presumably is a paraphrase, which may explain the weird comparison of national debt to spending. Or maybe she actually said it that way, who knows. In any case, it’s a lie. As Talking Points Memo noted in February, debt accumulation under Obama went up by about $1.7 trillion as of that month. The costs of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone are more than $900 billion, and it’s a short step from there to guessing that other spending during every other presidency makes up for the rest.

You know, all we do here is use Google. Any reporter in the Twin Cities could do the same.


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