Factchecking Obama's speech to Congress

February 25, 2009 7:45:55 PM PST
President Barack Obama did not give a lot of facts and figures in his speech last night, but he did set some bench marks and make some promises that caught people's attention.

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In talking about his plan to help struggling families, the president denied that money would go to the undeserving.

"It's a plan that won't help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford," Obama said.

But non partisan political Web site FactCheck.org says it is unrealistic that billions of dollars are going to go only to the truly deserving. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says it is much more realistic to think of putting out a fire that was caused by someone smoking in bed.

"We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy, yet we import more oil today than ever before," Obama said.

FactCheck says that is not accurate. The U.S. Department of Energy reports oil imports peaked three years ago and have declined since then.

"In this budget we will end education programs that don't work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don't need them; we'll eliminate the no bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq and reform our defense budget so that we're not paying for Cold War era weapons systems we don't us," Obama said.

FactCheck says that is not accurate. The president can propose those measures in his budget, but it is congress that decides how much to spend and where to spend it. And in the past, Congress has not been big on cutting.

"Historically, what happens is it gets modified substantially and usually increased in ways that the president may not want," ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain said. Cain says what he noticed in the president's speech was how high Obama set the bar for himself.

"We will double the nations supply of renewable energy in the next three years," Obama said. Obama also pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term in office at a fiscal summit.

And while he did not mention it last night, he has said he will get combat troops out of Iraq in the next year and a half.

"If he makes those goals we can probably cancel the election in three years, but if he doesn't make those goals it could come back to haunt him," Cain said.

For more, read the Back Story: Debunking stimulus myths

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