FACTCHECK: State of the Union

How accurate is the president's big speech? Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald is on live truth patrol

Topics: State of the Union, State of the union 2013, State of the Union factcheck, Barack Obama,

FACTCHECK: State of the Union (Credit: AP/Charles Dharapak)

Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald will be here at 9 p.m. eastern this evening to offer a live fact-check of the president’s assertions during the State of the Union address.

9:20: A smorgasbord of accomplishments – Obama goes through a whole bunch of them right off the bat, so we’ll go through them one by one: ”After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home”

– Mostly true, Obama has pledged to pull out troops by 2014, but whether that will be a full withdrawal is a bit unclear as some officials have expressed the desire to leave troops in the country beyond the pull out date.

“After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over 6 million new jobs.”

– Yes, but that measure starts from a point that makes the number more flattering for Obama and probably  includes only private sector jobs, not government ones, which have been destroyed under Obama. FactCheck.org has more on a similar claim from the campaign.

“We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in 20.  Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.”

– All very true. Just this week, the Dow came close to an all-time high and oil exports did hit record  levels. The housing market is still weak, however, and most of Obama’s plans have proven impotent.

9:30: Tax reform pipe dream – “A tax code that lowers incentives to move jobs overseas, and lowers tax rates for businesses and manufacturers that create jobs right here in America.  That’s what tax reform can deliver.  That’s what we can do together.”

– A similar call has appeared in every one of Obama’s State of the Union addresses every year, and so far gone nowhere.

9:35: — Sorry, Steve Jobs – Obama touted the fact that Apple will soon be making Macs in the U.S. again.



– Yes, but. As Salon’s Andrew Leonard noted, the move is little more than window dressing.  The $100 million that Apple is investing “isn’t even a rounding error on the balance sheet of global tech manufacturing. The cost of building a new, state-of-the-art microchip fabrication plant, for example, is around $5 billion and rising.” He continued: “Apple itself currently has around $123 billion in cash sitting around, waiting for someone to figure out what to do with it. $100 million, in the context of Apple making a significant dent in bringing the manufacturing of its products back to the United States, is a joke.”

 9:40: — Genome bucks:  “Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy.”

– True. Some estimates had it even higher, for instance, one organization estimated the $3.8 billion federal investment led to $796 billion in economic impact, for a return of investment of almost $210 per dollar invested.

9:43: — Preschool: “Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America.”

– A laudable goal, but President Clinton proposed it over a decade ago. “That means quality preschool and after-school, the best trained teachers in the classroom, and college opportunities for all our children,” he said in his eighth State of the Union address.

10:00 — Counterterror transparency: Obama said of his efforts to fight terrorism, “Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts.  I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way.”

– False. The administration has repeatedly refused requests from Congress for specific information about the legal justification for drone strikes, among other tactics, such as FISA courts. Marcy Wheeler tabulated 15 instances where members of Congress requested information and were rebuffed on drones.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>