September 13, 014 | 1:55pm
If past presidents are remembered for their signature achievements, Obama will be remembered for his signature lie: “If you like your health care plan, blah, blah, blah.” The reader knows the rest. Although the most consequential of Obama’s lies — it got him re-elected — it’s far from his only prevarication.
I’ve counted 75 significant lies since his campaign for president began, but that doesn’t begin to tally the casual fibs and hyperbole he spouts seemingly every day. Here are five that illustrate just how much Obama’s presidency is built on falsehoods.
- “My father left my family when I was 2 years old.”
Obama made this claim in September 2009, when addressing the nation’s schoolkids. By then, the blogosphere knew that baby Obama had never spent a night under the same roof as his father, let alone two years.
For years, Obama and his advisers invested enormous political capital in what biographer David Remnick called Obama’s “signature appeal: the use of the details of his own life as a reflection of a kind of multicultural ideal.”
Remnick called Obama’s autobiography “a mixture of verifiable fact, recollection, recreation, invention and artful shaping.” In other words, the truth is never good enough.
- “The Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration.”
Obama spun this fiction at a September 2012 Univision forum knowing it was false. In fact, the bizarre, deadly idea to let American guns “walk” into Mexico, where they were used by drug cartels to kill dozens, began in October 2009.
Three months earlier, White House press secretary Jay Carney had made the same bogus claim virtually word for word at a press conference and got shot down on national TV. “It began in fall 2009,” corrected White House correspondent Jake Tapper, then with ABC.
Carney refused to acknowledge he lied, and the president continued to lie weeks later. It’s all part of Obama’s ducking of responsibility — it’s always someone else’s fault.
- “Not even a smidgen of corruption.”
Obama said this in response to Bill O’Reilly’s question about the IRS scandal: “You’re saying no corruption?”
If there were not even a “smidgen of corruption,” as Obama insisted, it is hard to understand what outraged him, or at least seemed to, when news of the IRS scandal first broke. “It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it,” Obama said in May 2013. Obama routinely expressed anger when some new scandal erupted on his watch — IRS, the failed ObamaCare website, the VA scandal, Fast and Furious — but never before had he shoved a scandal down the memory hole so quickly.
And how could Obama know there wasn’t a smidgen of corruption before the investigation was even over? Perhaps because the administration knew that any proof of that was gone with deleted emails and destroyed hard drives?
- “We revealed to the American people exactly what we understood at the time.”
During that same Super Bowl Sunday interview, Obama made this claim in response to O’Reilly’s inquiry about the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. Obama continued to dissemble: “The notion that we would hide the ball for political purposes when a week later we all said, in fact, there was a terrorist attack taking place and the day after I said it was an act of terror, that wouldn’t be a very good coverup.”
In fact, it was exactly a week after the attack, on Sept. 18, that Obama took his first questions about Benghazi. Bizarrely, he did so to David Letterman. “Here’s what happened,” Obama said.
“You had a video that was released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy character who — who made an extremely offensive video directed at — at Mohammed and Islam.”
We know now that the administration knew this wasn’t true. Not a week later; not even the very night of the attacks.
On many levels, this was Obama’s most telling lie. He only deals with the world as he sees it, not as it is.
- “Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
Obama told this whopper to his assembled staff on his first day in office. He promised it to the press. Instead, his administration refuses to hand over documents and Obama refuses to answer questions. As liberal constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley assessed the presidency, “Barack Obama is really the president Richard Nixon always wanted to be.”
What do these lies, just a sample of many, tell us? Obama never stopped “artfully shaping” his life.
The scary thing is he might actually believe these lies. He believes that posting a shot from his personal photographer online is “transparent.” That targeting conservative groups for audits isn’t corrupt. That everything that has gone wrong with his presidency is Bush’s fault.
Knowing that, how can we believe anything that he says?