Bush Campaign Lies

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #4: Bush Inherited a Recession 

In the barrage of campaign ads which launched immediately after John Kerry's Super Tuesday wins, the Bush campaign produced an ad called 'Safer, Stronger'. After the required 'I approve of this message' intro, the ad displays the following captions, in consecutive order:

This ad mirrors comments by a number of Bush's surrogates who want to pin the 2001 recession on Clinton by claiming that it started in late 2000. But the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonpartisan group which has set beginning and end dates for U.S. recessions for almost 150 years, and has been the recognized authority on economic cycles for nearly 75 years, says that the recession began in March 2001 and ended in November 2001. When this ad went public, the NBER was thinking about revising the start date, but since they hadn't, the claim that Bush inherited a recession is a cynical campaign ploy and a lie.

There well may be legitimate arguments Bush supporters can make to assign some of the responsibility for the recession to Clinton; it certainly makes no sense to blame a president for a recession which began two months after he took office. On the other hand, Bush may bear some responsibility for the economic downturn by 'talking down' the economy in late 2000 in an effort to build support for his $1.3 trillion tax cut package.

The Bush campaign will be lying every day that they run this ad, until the NBER actually changes the date, if they do.

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