Monday, June 11, 2012

PolitiFlub: No credit or blame for Bill Clinton?

Rookie mistake?

Close on the heels of a hard-to-explain discrepancy involving call-and-response claims from the Obama and Romney campaigns, PolitiFact New Jersey sheds one of PolitiFact's principles like newly adult cicadas shed old exoskeletons .

Recall PolitiFact editor Bill Adair's edict that the fact checkers would start taking credit and blame consistently into account:
About a year ago, we realized we were ducking the underlying point of blame or credit, which was the crucial message. So we began rating those types of claims as compound statements.
Now watch PolitiFact New Jersey duck blame or credit as Bill Clinton claims credit for balancing the budget and partially paying down the national debt:
Our ruling

At a June 1 campaign event, Clinton touted his fiscal record in the final years of his presidency. "Then I gave you four surplus budgets for the first time in more than 70 years, paid $600 billion down on the national debt," Clinton told the crowd.

Clinton delivered four consecutive surplus budgets for the first time in more than seven decades, but the former president misstated the level of debt reduction. During those four fiscal years, the debt held by the public dropped by nearly $453 billion, but total debt jumped by about $400 billion.

We rate the statement Mostly True.
Who says the executive branch doesn't control the purse strings of the federal government?

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