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FACT CHECK: Obama’s incomplete history lesson
Question of the Day
Republicans have not abandoned the notion of environmental protection, although the presidential primary rhetoric — all geared to more drilling and energy production — could lead one to think so.
OBAMA: “There is a reason why there’s a little bit of confusion in the Republican primary about health care and the individual mandate, since it originated as a conservative idea to preserve the private marketplace in health care while still assuring that everybody got coverage, in contrast to a single-payer plan. Now suddenly this is some socialist overreach.”
THE FACTS: Again, true. But not the whole story.
Many Republicans into the 1990s, and in some cases beyond, supported the idea of requiring people to have health insurance, even if they disagreed with Democrats on how universal coverage should work. Now that idea is decidedly purged from the GOP mainstream.
But until he became president, Obama, too, thought a mandate was a bad idea. In the 2008 campaign, it was his “core belief” that everyone would get health insurance, without the coercion of a mandate, if only high-quality coverage were affordable.
He relentlessly criticized his primary opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton in debates, speeches, ads and mailers for proposing a mandate, taking it so far that she waved one of his mailers in the air and barked, “Shame on you, Barack Obama,” slamming “your tactics and your behavior in this campaign.”
OBAMA: “At the beginning of the last decade, the wealthiest Americans received a huge tax cut in 2001 and another huge tax cut in 2003. We were promised that these tax cuts would lead to faster job growth. They did not. The wealthy got wealthier. We would expect that. The income of the top 1 percent has grown by more than 275 percent over the last few decades to an average of $1.3 million a year. But prosperity sure didn’t trickle down.”
THE FACTS: You wouldn’t know from his statement that taxes in 2001 and 2003 were cut across the board, not just for the wealthy. President George W. Bush’s package trimmed rates for all taxable income levels, doubled the child tax credit and substantially raised the amount of money people can put in individual retirement accounts. The political fight these days is over whether to keep extending the tax cuts for the wealthiest. Obama supports keeping the lower rates for the rest and has pushed similar tax cuts of his own — excluding the wealthiest, however.
Associated Press writers Dina Cappiello and Tom Raum contributed to this report.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
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