WashPost Fact Check: Biden's Jobless Claims Exaggerated

Thursday, 27 Oct 2011 12:16 PM

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Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that President Barack Obama started out with “an 8 million job deficit that wasn’t of our making” is a close-enough claim if you live in “Bidenland,” The Washington Post concluded in a fact check.
Biden, who recently took heat for his debunked claim linking police layoffs to massive increases in rape and murder, made his comments about jobs during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

In the Sunday interview he said in the “six months before we took office, the bottom fell out. There were 5 million jobs lost. Before we got the first bill passed, another 3 million jobs lost. So we started off with an 8 million job deficit that wasn’t of our making.”

In an analysis, the Post found that in the six months before Obama took office, there were 1.2 million jobs lost — not 5 million — and in the period before passing a bill, another 1.5 million jobs were lost — not 3 million — for a total of 2.7 million jobs lost.

White House officials conceded that Biden “slightly misspoke,” explaining he meant to say there were 3.5 million jobs lost in the six months before taking office not 5 million and, instead of before the “first bill passed,” meant to say before “the first bill had an impact,” the Post reported.

“That’s another 3.4 million lost jobs,” the Post said. “Adding the two figures brings you to 7 million jobs — not quite 8 million, but apparently close enough in Bidenland. You almost need to footnote every aspect of Biden’s statement.”

“Biden’s overall point — the economy was in deep trouble just before and after Obama became president — is valid,” the Post concluded. “But he would have been on safer ground if he had simply asserted: ‘6.5 million jobs were lost in the six months before we took office and before the end of the recession.’ That would have been correct.”

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