Buchanan falsely claimed stock market is at an "all-time high"April 24, 2006 9:42 AM EDT ››› JOE BROWN
On the April 20 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan falsely claimed that "the Dow Jones [Industrial Average] hit a record today" and that "the stock market is at an all-time high." In fact, none of the three major U.S. stock market indices reached record highs April 20.
Buchanan made his remarks during a discussion with host Chris Matthews and Roll Call staff writer Mary Ann Akers, regarding the recent personnel changes at the Bush White House. After Matthews suggested that Vice President Dick Cheney was a "problem" for the Bush administration, Buchanan commented that Bush's problem was "not the vice president" but the Iraq war. He added: "[T]he Dow Jones hit a record today also, and the president ... is at 33 percent on doing well on the economy when the stock market is at an all-time high?"*
But contrary to Buchanan's claims, the Dow did not "hit a record" on April 20, and the other two major U.S. stock market indices -- the Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) and the Nasdaq composite index -- also failed to reach "an all-time high." The Dow reached an intraday high of 11,429.25 before closing at 11,342.89. Although the Associated Press noted that this was the Dow's "highest close since Jan. 20, 2000," it was well short of the Dow's record high close of 11,722.98 on January 14, 2000. The S&P 500 closed at 1,311.46, below its record high close of 1,527.46 on March 24, 2000. The Nasdaq composite index closed at 2,362.55, far short of its record closing of 5,048.62 on March 10, 2000.
From the April 20 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: OK, wait a minute. The vice president involved with that shooting, that weird incident where he didn't even call the boss. Why can't they deal with that problem? Why doesn't the president make a move on the vice president, squeeze him out? Isn't he the problem?
BUCHANAN: Squeeze out the vice president of the United States?
MATTHEWS: You can't do that?
BUCHANAN: You would dynamite his whole administration. Cheney wouldn't go.
BUCHANAN: That's a constitutional office --
MATTHEWS: Right. I know that.
BUCHANAN: You can't fire him.
MATTHEWS: I'm just asking an open question, Mary Ann. The problems seem to be related to Cheney over and over again, and yet Cheney sits there, immutable.
AKERS: Well, I have to say one of the biggest problems was sending [White House press secretary Scott] McClellan out to a pack of wolves completely uninformed, and I think that removing him from the situation is going to help tremendously. And it looks --
MATTHEWS: And all it would have taken was one call from the vice president's office --
MATTHEWS: -- and they would warned off McClellan and say, "Don't deny any involvement in the leaking, we know more than you know."
BUCHANAN: Chris, the problem is not the vice president. The problem is the president of the United States who has listened to counsel of the vice president, and the counsel of [Secretary of Defense Donald H.] Rumsfeld and the counsel of others. He has taken it. He is the decider, Chris. He's the decision maker, and he's the one that made the final decision. The big problem with this administration is Iraq. You're right about $3 a gallon for gasoline, but the Dow Jones hit a record today also, and the president, what, is at 33 percent on doing well on the economy when the stock market's at an all-time high?
MATTHEWS: Why do you explain that? How do you explain that?
BUCHANAN: Iraq pervades everything. It's on everybody's mind. You get up in the morning, you look at it, four more Marines dead, another explosion in a mosque, and the president can't get away from it. There's no way to get out of it and there's no way to end it, and I think it's just dragging everything down in this administration.
*Although it is not clear which poll Buchanan was referencing, the most recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll showed Bush's overall job approval rating at 33 percent.