Hannity advances false comparison of inauguration costs

››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

Ignoring the additional costs of security, transportation, and other expenses incurred by federal, state, and local governments in conjunction with former President Bush's 2005 inauguration, Fox News' Sean Hannity allowed former Gov. Mitt Romney to claim that "[President] Barack Obama spen[t] three times" what Bush spent on his 2005 inauguration. In doing so, Hannity allowed his show to become the latest media outlet to promote the false comparison between the costs of Obama's inauguration and Bush's 2005 inauguration.

During the January 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity allowed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) -- who Hannity asserted has "an incredible background in economics" -- to claim that "[President] Barack Obama spen[t] three times" what former President Bush spent on his inauguration. In doing so, Hannity allowed his show to become the latest media outlet to promote the false comparison between the costs of Obama's January 20 inauguration and Bush's 2005 inauguration. In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, in claiming that Bush's second inaugural cost about $40 million, media ignore the additional costs of security, transportation, and other expenses incurred by federal, state, and local governments in conjunction with the events in 2005 -- which reportedly reached $115.5 million -- while including them in the projections for the 2009 events. When the costs incurred by the federal government and the District of Columbia are factored in, the total cost of Bush's 2005 inauguration was reportedly around $157 million, as Media Matters senior fellow Eric Boehlert noted. Many media outlets have failed to show any evidence to support their estimates, as Boehlert has also noted.

The Washington Post reported in January 2005 that the cost of Bush's second inauguration, which the Post reported to be $40 million, "does not include the cost of a web of security, including everything from 7,000 troops to volunteer police officers from far away, to some of the most sophisticated detection and protection equipment." Further, The New York Times reported on January 5 that in 2005, "the federal government and the District of Columbia spent a combined $115.5 million, most of it for security, the swearing-in ceremony, cleanup and for a holiday for federal workers."

From the January 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: Well, why do I doubt that if it were a Republican nominee, Governor, that they would be as forgiving as they are, meaning the Democrats? Now, we also have an illegal immigrant problem, and every other nominee in the past has had to withdraw their nomination, but not this time.

ROMNEY: Well, there's no question but that the Democrats are of course going to stand by the choice of their president, and for that matter, most members of the media that represent a more liberal viewpoint are going to look the other way. I mean, you have no question about the bias that exists in some newspapers. I saw some headlines from President Bush's inauguration -- they were sent to me today -- talking about how he was spending approximately $40 million, an outrageous amount of money in the inauguration. Barack Obama spends three times that much, and no one ushers [sic] a word.

HANNITY: Yeah.

ROMNEY: You're going to have the same issue with regards to the nominations that come forward from his administration.

HANNITY: Governor, you have an incredible background in economics. The number one concern every American, rightly so, has is about the state of the economy.

Posted In
Government, The Presidency & White House
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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