WASHINGTON – Here we go again.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, long-time fund-raising pal of ex-President Clinton, told a whopper Sunday about his old boss on ABC’s “This Week,” while attacking President Bush as part of a GOP-bashing campaign before the midterm elections.
McAuliffe maintained that, unlike Bush, Clinton took the high ground and didn’t “blame his predecessors” for the economic woes he inherited in 1993.
DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe
“There are 1.6 million Americans today who have lost their jobs since George Bush became president. And what does this administration do? All they do is blame others,” he told ABC’s Sam Donaldson.
“When Bill Clinton became president, he had a 7 percent unemployment rate. We were in a recession (and) he had the largest budget deficit in the history of our country,” McAuliffe went on.
“Did he blame his predecessors?” he said. “No, he got to work. He brought Democrats, Republicans together.”
His statement is demonstrably untrue, yet Donaldson left it unchallenged and quickly moved on to the next question (“Let’s talk about your party, the Democratic Party. Joe Lieberman …”).
Lexis-Nexis – the database that archives old media articles and transcripts of speeches and press conferences going back decades – doesn’t have as short a memory as Donaldson or McAuliffe.
Here are just a few of the many complaints that Clinton, as both president and candidate, made about what he called the “failed” economic policies of his Republican predecessors, Presidents Bush and Reagan (who, it should be noted, implemented markedly different fiscal policies during their terms, despite Clinton’s attempt to link them together as one seamless policy over their combined 12 years).
- “Twenty-one months ago, I moved to Washington. Remember the challenges we faced when I went there? We’d had four years of the slowest economic growth since the Great Depression, four years in which Pennsylvania lost 8,300 jobs,” Clinton reminded party faithful at an Oct. 31, 1994, fund-raiser for Pennsylvanian Democratic candidates.
“We were dealing with 12 years of trickle-down Reaganomics, which exploded our deficits and sent our jobs overseas, and divided our people,” Clinton added.
- Clinton piled it on a month later in a Dec. 2, 1994, speech to the National League of Cities: “We’ve worked too hard to build an economic recovery and a job strategy, and to reduce this deficit that 12 years of irresponsible, explosive spending left us.”
- Clinton had kicked off the year with the same negative theme, lecturing Republicans in Congress in his Jan. 25, 1994, State of the Union speech: “For the 12 years of trickle-down economics, we built a false prosperity on a hollow basis.
“Our national debt quadrupled,” he added. “From 1989 to 1992, we experienced the slowest growth in a half-century.”
- On July 28, 1993, Clinton told reporters gathered at the White House: “For 12 years, we have followed a path that worked in the short run, but caused us great grief in the long time – and that is supply-side economics, which basically says we’re going to cut taxes and increase spending.
“It took us from a $1 (trillion) to a $4 trillion debt (and) a huge deficit,” he added.
- On July 17, 1992, candidate Clinton told a crowd outside his hotel in York, Pa.: “We are in the grip of a failed economic program.”
“Trickle-down has had 12 years,” he added. “I’m tired of it. We’re not going to do the same thing for four more years.”
- In announcing his candidacy in Little Rock, Ark., on Oct. 3, 1991, Clinton said: “For 12 years, the Republicans have been telling us at the national level that America’s problems are not their problems. They have washed their hands of responsibility for the economy.”
- Then there’s Clinton’s statements in his “Putting People First” campaign pamphlet: “For twelve years, the driving idea behind American economic policy has been cutting taxes on the richest individuals and corporations and hoping that their new wealth would ‘trickle down’ to the rest of us.
“This policy has failed,” he said. “The Republicans in Washington have compiled the worst economic record in 50 years.”
Of course, the 1990-91 recession was one of the mildest on record. In fact, Clinton inherited an economy that was rebounding at a brisk 5.4 percent
pace in the last quarter of 1992.
Moreover, the large deficit he inherited was actually an overly pessimistic Bush administration projection
based on estimated slower revenues from the recession and estimated higher spending from the savings-and-loan bailout. Clinton benefited from
positive surprises on both fronts (although he conveniently kept his predecessor’s unrealistic budget
projections as a yardstick).
Referring to other incendiary statements McAuliffe made about Bush in a DNC speech over the weekend,
Republican National Committee Chairman Marc Racicot said his counterpart is prone to “hyperbole,” but stopped short of calling him dishonest.
“He is incredibly inaccurate,” he told the Sean Hannity radio show Monday, “and sometimes almost reckless.”