A man named Chuck Smith recently offered up a $10,000 wager to Mitt Romney if he could show one instance of President Obama actually saying that the stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent. On video.
Remember the bet Mitt Romney made Rick Perry for $10,000? The one the Texas governor refused to take and many got annoyed with the Massachusetts governor for acting like he'd just made a $10 bet? With that wager in mind, Washington Post reader Chuck Smith took to video (which can be seen at the end of the article) to bet the former governor of Massachusetts about a claim being made by Romney's campaign that might not actually be accurate. In fact, Smith says that Romney has made a couple of speech claims (and another claim on his election website) that President Obama said that passage of the stimulus package in 2009 would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent. Smith says that that just is not so. The president never said any such thing.
And Smith, who lives in a trailer, is willing to sell a few things if he must to cover the bet he was bold enough to post to the Internet.
The Washington Post notes that it had debunked the common conservative claim in early 2011 that Obama once said he would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent. In fact, like Smith, the Post could find no public record of the president ever making such a claim, not as president or even as a senator.
Where the popular Republican assertion seems to have originated is in a 14-page report issued on January 2009 by a couple of Obama aides attempting to estimate the economic impact of the stimulus package as opposed to doing nothing at all. The estimate also noted that the actual outcome and ramifications of the stimulus package (a proposed $775 billion) could be different than what was projected in the report. The report was never part of any legislation, never part of a bill, never mentioned in a speech made by then president-elect Obama, and never stated by President Obama.
And yet, over time, like many an oft-told tale, parts of the story got altered and the altered story was then repeated as if true.
Smith is so certain after doing research on the subject that he had no problem calling Romney out on the claim and then writing a check for $10,000. He noted that no politician, regardless of political party, should be making false claims against another. Smith also, after rolling his sources like credits at the end of the video, appended a disclaimer noting that the bet was off if later the wager was found to be a violation of state and federal law.
Nor is this the first time Romney has been accused of making assertions that were patently untrue concerning the president. Back in November, his campaign ran an ad targeting President Obama as being afraid to talk about the economy going into the 2012 election.
"If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose," Obama was seen saying at a political rally.
And although it was true that Obama said it, he did so during his run for president against Sen. John McCain in 2008. In fact, he was quoting John McCain's own words. What the Romney ad conveniently left out of the ad was the attribution to Sen. McCain preceding the quote.
The Romney camp acknowledged that they knew that the ad was intentionally misleading. They continued to run the ad anyway.
As for Smith's $10,000 offered wager with Romney and his claims that Obama never said that the stimulus package, a piece of legislation that ultimately topped out at $787 billion and became the focus of much derision by conservatives, would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent.
Not that that has stopped Republican politicians from using it to bash Obama's economic policies -- and some say rightfully so -- for three years.
Be that as it may, Smith wants Romney to take his bet.
Thus far, the Romney campaign has made no comment on the matter.
(photo credit: JaumeBG, Creative Commons)
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