Following President Obama's April 20 Facebook town hall meeting, Fox News jumped on his remarks, accusing Obama of "class warfare" while again deceptively editing portions of Obama's speech to accuse him of calling Republicans "selfish."
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Obama Cited His Past Personal "Benefit" From Social Programs To Contrast His Budget To GOP Plan
Obama: "I've Benefited From All These Investments," But Republicans Believe I "Have No Real Obligation To People Who Are Less Fortunate." During the April 20 Facebook town hall, Obama held a question-and-answer session with audience members. From the town hall:
THE PRESIDENT: Hey, Leo.
Q: Hi, hey. I'm from -- originally from San Jose, California. My question is: The 2012 budget plan proposed by Paul Ryan has been praised by many in the media as bold or brave. Do you see this as a time that calls for boldness, and do you think that the plan you outlined last week demonstrated sufficient boldness, or is this just a media creation?
THE PRESIDENT: No, it's a great question. Look, here is what I'd say. The Republican budget that was put forward I would say is fairly radical. I wouldn't call it particularly courageous. I do think Mr. Ryan is sincere. I think he's a patriot. I think he wants to solve a real problem, which is our long-term deficit. But I think that what he and the other Republicans in the House of Representatives also want to do is change our social compact in a pretty fundamental way.
Their basic view is that no matter how successful I am, no matter how much I've taken from this country -- I wasn't born wealthy; I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. I went to college on scholarships. There was a time when my mom was trying to get her PhD, where for a short time she had to take food stamps. My grandparents relied on Medicare and Social Security to help supplement their income when they got old.
So their notion is, despite the fact that I've benefited from all these investments -- my grandfather benefited from the GI Bill after he fought in World War II -- that somehow I now have no obligation to people who are less fortunate than me and I have no real obligation to future generations to make investments so that they have a better [future]. [WhiteHouse.gov, 4/20/11]
Fox Edits Obama's Remarks, Accuses Obama Of "Calling The Rich Selfish"
Fox & Friends Repeatedly Airs Edited Video Of Obama's Remarks, Omitting His Discussion Of How He "Benefited" From Social Services. On April 21, Fox & Friends repeatedly aired an edited version of Obama's comments, which was truncated to remove his comments about his personal experience with social programs. Instead, Fox & Friends aired Obama only as saying: "Their basic view is that no matter how successful I am, no matter how much I've taken from this country ... that somehow, I now have no obligation to people who are less fortunate than me, and I have no real obligation to future generations to make investments so they have a better future." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/21/11]
Carlson: Is Obama "Using Class Warfare ... Calling The Rich Selfish Instead Of Successful." During the April 21 Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson began the broadcast by asking: "Is the president using class warfare to sell his latest agenda? Well, check out his latest speech. Calling the rich selfish instead of successful, and it doesn't stop there." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/21/11]
Doocy: "Is He Drawing Up This Class Warfare? ... Absolutely." Also during the April 21 Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy stated, "So, is he drawing up this class warfare, where he's talking about changing -- they're trying to change -- absolutely." Doocy went on to reference Obama's plan to roll back the Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000 and said: "They're trying to change ... the social compact with, you know, millionaires and billionaires, they can pay more. But it's not millionaires and billionaires. It's people making as little as $200,000, which is still a lot of money, but they're not millionaires and billionaires." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/21/11]
Johnson: Obama Is Saying Of The Rich, "If They're Successful, They're Taking From The United States." Later in the same segment, co-host Peter Johnson Jr. stated: "We have this lower third, Obama on defensive. I think it's very offensive to a lot of Americans who say that they're disturbed by a president who says that if they're successful, they're taking from the United States. And he's painting this hard-hearted picture of half the American public that somehow that they've taken -- the GOP members -- and they don't want to give back. And, is that class warfare? Pretty close." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/21/11]
Carlson: "Looks Like [Obama's] Going To Be Talking A Lot About Class Warfare." Carlson later stated: "Just in case you didn't know what President Obama's campaign slogan and message is going to be in the coming months as he tries to become re-elected, we have it for you today. It looks like he's going to be talking a lot about class warfare. And here's just a snippet of how he plans on attacking the GOP's point of view." Carlson then aired a truncated portion of Obama's Facebook town hall appearance, which omits that he was directly talking about his own personal experiences. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/21/11]
Johnson: Obama's "Message Is That Republicans Are Irresponsible, Uncaring, Unethical." Johnson continued: "Well, the message is that Republicans are irresponsible, uncaring, unethical, lack a Judeo-Christian ethic, have taken from this country and will not return, that they believe that God helps only those whom God has helped, and it's really a return to a lot of the Democratic criticisms, going back to the '80s, of the Reagan administration. It's come to the same kind of class-splitting rhetoric, and it's kind of surprising at this point to come so early. I guess the presidential campaign has, in fact, begun." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/21/11]
Fox Nation: "Obama Launches Sickening Class War Assault Against Republicans." On April 21, Fox Nation posted an item on Obama's speech titled, "Obama Launches Sickening Class War Assault Against Republicans." Although the video clip of the president's remarks appeared in its entirety, the body of the post included a transcript which truncated Obama's statement to read: "Their basic view is that no matter how successful I am, no matter how much I've taken from this country... I now have no obligation to people who are less fortunate than me, and I have no real obligation to future generations to make investments so they have a better future." [Fox Nation, 4/21/11]