LAMBRO: Warping the presidential record

Obama alters facts to suit his re-election narrative

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Presidents are identified in the history books by their accomplishments, if they have any.

Abraham Lincoln is remembered for saving the union and ending slavery. Franklin D. Roosevelt crafted the New Deal in the Great Depression and led the nation in World War II.

Barack Obama is still writing the last chapters of his presidency, though there’s a growing list of reasons why it may well be known in the end as the “me presidency” that is all about him.

Someone recently dug up a number of examples in which the White House staff has been inserting President Obama into the biographies of past presidents as part of the White House historical narrative. Among them:

“While Calvin Coolidge was the first chief executive to give a public radio address, Mr. Obama is the first to be on LinkedIn.” Really.

“FDR presided over the enactment of Social Security, but Mr. Obama is presiding over its preservation.” How about its deepening insolvency?

This is a president who has an exalted view of himself, and he frequently reminds Americans of how truly great he sees himself. He’s fond of the pronoun “I” when describing his exploits and isn’t shy about comparing himself to our greatest presidents.

He told CBS’ “60 Minutes,” “I would put our legislative and foreign-policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president - with the possible exceptions of [Lyndon] Johnson, FDR and Lincoln - just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history.”

But Mr. Obama really reached for the stars by comparing his empty record on tax reform to President Reagan’s sweeping overhaul of the tax code in 1986.

“In a June 28, 1985, speech, Reagan called for a fairer tax code, one where a multimillionaire did not have a lower tax rate than his secretary. Today, President Obama is calling for the same with the Buffett Rule,” the White House misstated for the record.

But as Rory Cooper of the Heritage Foundation writes in an excoriating piece he titles “President Me,” this is “a complete fabrication” of what Reagan said and did on taxes.

Mr. Obama tried to wrap himself in Reagan’s mantle in a speech about his scheme to raise taxes on the rich, an idea he claimed he got from Reagan himself.

“Some years ago, one of my predecessors traveled across the country pushing for the same concept. … That wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan,” Mr. Obama said on April 11.

But Reagan did no such thing. He came into office with a plan he signed into law that cut federal income tax rates across the board for every income bracket - a policy that lifted the economy out of a steep recession.

In his second term, Reagan got rid of a number of tax exemptions, loopholes and corporate welfare, and he further lowered tax rates - cutting the top tax rate to 28 percent.

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