Huckabee misrepresented Biden, Bush remarks about inheriting struggling economy


On Fox & Friends, Mike Huckabee falsely suggested that Vice President Biden disclaimed responsibility for the economy and that George Bush did not claim to have "inherited" a weakening economy.

While discussing comments Vice President Biden made on the July 5 edition of ABC's This Week, Fox News host Mike Huckabee falsely suggested during the July 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends that Biden had refused to acknowledge that he and President Obama "own" the current struggling economy. In fact, Biden specifically stated on This Week that while the Obama administration "inherited" the economic downturn, "it's now our responsibility." As Think Progress has noted, Huckabee also falsely suggested during his Fox & Friends appearance that then-President Bush did not blame the Clinton administration for the weakening economy, which Bush said he "inherited."

While arguing that Obama and Biden need to "quit blaming George Bush" for current economic conditions, Huckabee asserted in reference to the economic downturn: "Then the recession started -- wasn't totally [Bush's] fault, for sure -- and all you hear from Joe Biden and President Obama is how terrible it was, what they inherited, how it wasn't their fault. No, look, you own it now. You got elected; you wanted the job." However, in his comments on This Week, Biden specifically stated that the economy is "now our responsibility":

BIDEN: And so the truth is, there was a misreading of just how bad an economy we inherited. Now, that doesn't -- I'm not -- it's now our responsibility. So the second question becomes, did the economic package we put in place, including the Recovery Act, is it the right package given the circumstances we're in? And we believe it is the right package given the circumstances we're in.

We misread how bad the economy was, but we are now only about 120 days into the recovery package. The truth of the matter was, no one anticipated, no one expected that that recovery package would in fact be in a position at this point of having to distribute the bulk of money.

Huckabee also asserted that Bush "inherited an economy ... in 2001 that was already beginning to show real signs of the stress from the breaking of the technology bubble" but that he "didn't go out whining and complaining every day. He stood up like the president of the United States, and he worked on trying to get it fixed." However, contrary to Huckabee's suggestion that Bush did not argue that he had "inherited" a struggling economy, Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney repeatedly did so after taking office:

  • From an August 23, 2001, Q&A at Crawford Elementary School:

BUSH: I tell you what the numbers are showing. They're showing that we've inherited an economic slowdown and the country is in an economic slowdown. And so what a President should ask and what the Congress should ask is what can we do to stimulate economic growth. And we responded with tax relief.

  • From an August 7, 2002, speech in Madison, Mississippi:

BUSH: When I took office, our economy was beginning a recession. That's what the facts have shown. Then our economy was hit by terrorists. Then our economy was hit by corporate scandals. But I'm certain of this, we won't let fear undermine our economy and we're not going to led fraud undermine it either.

  • From a September 23, 2002, speech in Trenton, New Jersey:

BUSH: Listen, I come from the school of thought that says, if you've got an economic problem -- and remember, for the first three quarters of my administration we were in negative growth; the stock market started to decline in March of 2000; economic growth started to slow down in the summer of 2000; we were in recession in the first three quarters of 2001.

  • From a January 10, 2003, speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

CHENEY: The President's policies, complemented by 12 interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve to ease deflationary pressures, are succeeding. Despite the recession we inherited and despite 9/11 and the corporate scandals, this economy is growing. America has now entered its second year of economic growth.

  • From a June 17, 2003, speech at the Washington Hilton Hotel:

BUSH: Two-and-a-half years ago, we inherited an economy in recession. Then the attacks on our country, scandals in corporate America, and war affected people's confidence. And that hurt our economy. But we acted. We passed tough new laws to hold corporate criminals to account. We got the economy going again because we worked with the United States Congress to pass historic tax relief, not once, but twice.

REPORTER: -- and were running a $455 billion deficit, as are you, all other things being equal, wouldn't you be upset about it?

BUSH: Let me tell you something, the deficit was caused by a recession which we inherited and did something about. The deficit was caused because we spent more money on fighting a war, and the American people expect a President to do what is necessary to win a war. So I look forward to taking this debate on. I really do. We did the right thing when it came to tax relief. We inherited a tough situation.

REPORTER: Mr. President, a survey of economists that we published yesterday found that -- it was between 40 and 50 of them -- and they think that the growth rate over the next year may only be in the low 3 percent range, and that's below the 4 percent range that you and your economic advisors have said will be needed to create the kind of jobs that will really keep the growth going. Does that concern you? Do you think those predictions are accurate?

BUSH: Well, one thing is certain, that the growth rate is going to be positive, as opposed to the negative growth rate we inherited. In other words, we came into office and dealt with a recession, then dealt with attacks, then dealt with corporate scandals, dealt with the march to war, all of which affected the confidence of the people. And we put forth a very aggressive tax plan, because we believe that that is the best way to help this country grow out of recession.

  • From an October 24, 2003, speech in New York:

CHENEY: Making sure that our nation is secure has been a principal concern of this administration. And so has the economic well-being of our nation. By the time we took office, the economy was sliding into recession, and to get it growing again, we've delivered significant tax relief. And we have done this because we believe that when families and small businesses are hurting, the best way to help them is to let them keep more of what they earn.

  • From the March 2, 2004, edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

HUME: On the economy, the Democrats led by John Kerry, are saying that the tax cuts manifestly haven't worked. The economy has failed to recover in a way that would generate job creation of the kind that everybody obviously wants. What's your answer to that?

CHENEY: I think the economy is significantly improved. I think all of the data point in that direction. We inherited a recession, a recession that began either shortly before or about the same time that we got into office. We had the economy complicated by the attacks on 9-11 and all the disruption that put in.

  • From a 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign ad:

January 2001: The challenge: An economy in recession. A stock market in decline. A dot-com boom ... gone bust. Then ... a day of tragedy. A test for all Americans.

Today, America is turning the corner. Rising to the challenge. Safer, stronger.

President Bush. Steady Leadership in times of change.

  • From a September 1, 2004, speech at the Republican National Convention:

CHENEY: Opportunity also depends on a vibrant, growing economy. As President Bush and I were sworn into office, our nation was sliding into recession, and American workers were overburdened with federal taxes. Then came the events of September 11th, which hit our economy very hard. So President Bush delivered the greatest tax reduction in a generation, and the results are clear to see.

  • From a December 14, 2004, speech at the White House Conference on the Economy:

CHENEY: Four years ago, when President Bush and I were sworn into office, our economy was sliding into recession. Then terrorists struck on 9/11 and shook the economy once again.

BUSH: In terms of the economy, look, I inherited a recession, I am ending on a recession. In the meantime there were 52 months of uninterrupted job growth. And I defended tax cuts when I campaigned, I helped implement tax cuts when I was President, and I will defend them after my presidency as the right course of action. And there's a fundamental philosophical debate about tax cuts. Who best can spend your money, the government or you? And I have always sided with the people on that issue.

Now, obviously these are very difficult economic times. When people analyze the situation, there will be -- this problem started before my presidency, it obviously took place during my presidency. The question facing a President is not when the problem started, but what did you do about it when you recognized the problem. And I readily concede I chunked aside some of my free market principles when I was told by chief economic advisors that the situation we were facing could be worse than the Great Depression.

From the July 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

CARLSON: Maybe we need to send somebody to Washington to do a little cleanup, Gov., because now we have Vice President Biden, who's -- I don't know, some might deem this a bit of a gaffe -- he said that they just misread this whole economy thing. What do you make of that? That unemployment they never expected to get to 9.5 percent. They were garnering on the fact that it was only going to stay at 8 percent -- still not a good number.

HUCKABEE: Well, that giant sucking sound was the gasping in the White House as Joe Biden made yet one more statement that I'm sure the Obama people wished he hadn't. It's kind of like win one for the gaffer. But here goes Biden again and he says something that is really, in this case, true. They didn't realize how bad things were, but what they also don't realize is they're not fixing it by spending this ridiculous amount of money in a stimulus plan.

There's one thing, though, that Biden and President Obama have got to get under control, and that is quit blaming George Bush. George Bush inherited an economy when he became president back in 2001 that was already beginning to show real signs of the stress from the breaking of the technology bubble. George Bush didn't go out whining and complaining every day. He stood up like a president of the United States, and he worked on trying to get it fixed.

Then, 2001, 9-11 came. Things really went tough, but he worked on the economy, and it was in much better shape for most of his presidency. Then the recession started -- wasn't totally his fault, for sure -- and all you hear from Joe Biden and President Obama is how terrible it was, what they inherited, how it wasn't their fault. No, look, you own it now. You got elected; you wanted the job; stand up and take it and get this thing rolling, but quit spending money.

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