O'Reilly Erases Bush's Debt To Launch False Attack On Obama

Bill O'Reilly deleted almost the entire tenure of George W. Bush to falsely allege that President Obama has borrowed more money than all past presidents combined.

During his Fox News program, O'Reilly criticized Obama over the size of the national debt and claimed, “It is hard to believe, but in the last four years, the Obama administration has borrowed more money than every other president combined.” Yet O'Reilly then described that time frame as being “from George Washington through the first five months of Bush the younger's administration.”

Perhaps O'Reilly chose to exclude the majority of Bush's presidency to avoid acknowledging that the national debt nearly doubled during Bush's two terms. According to the Treasury Department's daily debt calculator, when Bush took office on January 20, 2001, total debt stood at $5.728 trillion. The national debt on January 20, 2009, Bush's last day in office, was $10.627 trillion.

O'Reilly claims Obama “borrowed more money than every other president combined”; if this were true, Obama would have added more than $10.627 trillion to the debt during his tenure. But as of publishing, the Treasury Department calculator states the debt is $16.338 trillion -- which means it increased less than six trillion dollars under Obama.

O'Reilly also aired an exchange with Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer that distorted how federal money is being spent. Krauthammer claimed that the government is spending money, in part, on “giving Sandra Fluke free contraceptives that she can't afford.” He added, “The fact that Obama's own HHS is trying to loosen the rules, the work rules for welfare, so we go back to the old system of people living forever on the dole -- that's where they want to spend the money.”

Krauthammer's claims are disingenuous. Women's health advocate Sandra Fluke did not ask the government to give women free contraceptives; the Affordable Care Act provision for which she advocated requires private health insurance policies, for which most women already pay a premium, to cover women's preventive health care services. While Krauthammer suggested the administration wants people to “live forever on the dole,” most food stamp recipients participate in the SNAP program for less than one year. And Health and Human Services did not loosen welfare work requirements, but instead granted states more flexibility in complying with existing rules.