Fox Attacks Obama Over Routinely Used Practice Of Executive Orders


On Fox News' Fox & Friends, Peter Johnson Jr. attacked President Obama's use of executive orders as "an abdication or giving up in terms" of trying to reach a consensus. But presidents have routinely issued executive orders; in fact, nearly 8,000 have been issued since 1933.

Fox's Johnson Attacks Obama's Use Of Executive Orders

Johnson Attacks Obama's Use Of Executive Orders As An "Abdication Or Giving Up In Terms Of This Notion Of Consensus." During the January 3 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. claimed that the "subtext" of Obama's use of executive orders is "an abdication or giving up in terms of this notion of consensus." From the broadcast:

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Welcome back. We told you about the president's plan to spend 2012 governing without Congress. It's all part of Barack Obama's re-election strategy. But presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says that's not only a bad strategy, it's unconstitutional.

NEWT GINGRICH (GOP presidential candidate) [video clip]: As a citizen, I am insulted that a president of the United States would think that he could pretend to govern for a year without the Congress. And if he intends to try to do that, it would be totally unconstitutional, and I think would represent a fundamental breach in our system.

DOOCY: So can a president really govern without Congress? Let's talk to Fox News legal analyst, America's lawyer, Peter Johnson Jr.

JOHNSON: Hey, Steve. Thank you. Thanks, Steve. No, a president cannot govern without Congress, and Newt Gingrich is absolutely right. In fact, he's gone a step further and said that the president should not take a salary in 2012 if that's what he's going to do.

DOOCY: Right.

JOHNSON: But we've heard it from the deputy press secretary of the White House, basically saying, well, you know, if Congress is going to be involved, that's fine. But we're going to be putting out two to three executive orders a week. Actions by the president that don't require congressional approval.

DOOCY: They're going to go around? An end run.

JOHNSON: Right. These executive actions obviously are not going to create, you know -- solve an unemployment problem or solve other issues that we're facing in this country. But Newt Gingrich is right -- absolutely right -- on that issue.

DOOCY: But I think to a number of people who voted for him three years ago, they remember, wait a minute, I thought he was going to go there to change things, and now he's pretty much thrown up his hands saying, 'I went to Washington to change Washington. I can't. I'm going to go it alone.'

JOHNSON: I think what the subtext is kind of an abdication or giving up in terms of this notion of consensus. We look to leaders in this country to bring people of disparate beliefs together -- Republicans, Democrats, independents, conservatives, liberals -- and we say [to] our president, listen, this is a great melting pot. This is a place where all kinds of people come with a diversity of opinion. What can you do to forge consensus? What can you do to bring people to the middle?

And so when you say, I'm going to ignore the Congress. I'm not going to deal with the Congress, then you're saying, well, listen, my plans and my promises for the past three years about bringing people together have, in fact, failed. What gets better in 2013, if, in fact, the president is re-elected? Where, then, is there a consensus? If there is not a consensus in 2012 at the beginning, what changes in the year 2013, when we don't have the excitement of hope and change that we had almost four years ago? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/3/12]

In Fact, Presidents Routinely Issue Executive Orders, Including Nearly 8,000 Since 1933

National Archives: Since 1933, Presidents Have Issued 7,793 Executive Orders. According to the National Archives, presidents have issued 7,793 executive orders since 1933. In his eight-year tenure as president, George W. Bush issued 291 executive orders. President Clinton issued 364 executive orders in eight years. During his one term, President George H. W. Bush issued 166 executive orders. So far, Obama has issued 108 executive orders. Obama's 108 executive orders account for 1.3 percent of all executive orders issued since 1933.

Below is a list of presidents since 1933, how many executive orders they issued while in office, and how many years they were in office:


Number of Executive Orders

Number of Years in Office

Barack Obama



George W. Bush



Bill Clinton



George H. W. Bush



Ronald Reagan



Jimmy Carter



Gerald Ford



Richard Nixon



Lyndon Johnson



John F. Kennedy



Dwight D. Eisenhower



Harry Truman



Franklin D. Roosevelt



[, accessed 1/3/12]

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Government, The Presidency & White House
Fox News Channel
Peter Johnson Jr.
FOX & Friends
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