Politics

FactCheck: Obama achievements film

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The president's new campaign film is not a documentary. The 17-minute long movie is narrated by actor Tom Hanks and it focuses on the president's first-term achievements. It came out last Thursday and now we've got a FactCheck on it.

This film not only has Hanks doing the narration, it was directed by Davis Guggenheim, the same guy who produced the documentaries "Waiting For Superman" and an "Inconvenient Truth." This time around Hanks and Guggenheim ignored some inconvenient truths that would have at least muddied their message.

The film begins with a look back at the financial crisis the president inherited.

The film says, "The country had been hemorrhaging jobs. More than 3.5 million lost in the six months before he took office. He acted quickly with the Recovery Act."

In less than a minute it covers the stimulus spending and much more time is spent examining the auto bailout.

The film says, "He decided to intervene, but in exchange for help the president would demand action. The Bush administration had given the car companies $13 billion and the money was now gone."

FactCheck: It's true the president demanded action from the automakers, but so did the Bush administration. In fact the Republican administration required automakers to produce a viable long term business plan, reduce debt, open their financial records -- none of that gets a mention. Instead, we hear about the industry comeback.

The film says, "With business booming, they repaid their loans."

FactCheck: The U.S. has not recovered all of its loans and investments. About half of the $80 billion in federal aid to the auto industry, from the Bush and Obama administrations, remains unpaid. On health care, the film correctly documents the rising cost of insurance premiums.

The film says, "Health care costs had been rising at three times the rate of inflation, crushing family budgets and choking business."

But the film neglects to point out that in 2011, health care premiums were still rising at three times the rate of inflation and that experts say the president's Affordable Health Care Act is responsible for at least 1 percent of that growth, in part because the law requires more generous coverage.

The film says, "2.5 million young adults now have coverage&17 million kids can no longer be denied for pre-existing conditions."

FactCheck: The narration suggests 17 million kids were being denied coverage and that's not true.17 million is the total number of children under the age of 18 who have some sort of medical condition. With or without the health care law, many of those kids would be covered on their parents plans and not in danger of being denied.

In the face of opposition, the film says the president refused to settle on the health care issue.

The film says, "Some advised him to settle, he could still claim victory if he accepted less."

Now that leaves the impression the president refused to settle, but do you remember the public option? The president did settle on that, giving it up to appease Senate Democrats.

Thanks to our partners at FactCheck.org for fact-checking the film. To read their full analysis, you can go to FactCheck.org.

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Tags:
barack obama, health care, health insurance, politics, mark matthews
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