Move aside Paul Ryan, it looks like even the most widely-praised of speeches can be called out a few times.
To wit, Matt Apuzzo, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press reporter, took a thorough look at former President Bill Clinton’s fiery address last night and said certain segments were “wishful thinking at best” and “either cherry-picked facts or mischaracterized” the Republican position. The wire service even brought up Mr. Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal and compared that to him calling out Mitt Romney’s campaign for its own lack of honesty.
Here is a sampling of the AP’s arguments:
CLINTON: “When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better. …Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is the enemy and compromise is weakness. One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation.”
THE FACTS: From Clinton’s speech, voters would have no idea that the inflexibility of both parties is to blame for much of the gridlock.
CLINTON: “For the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4 percent, for the first time in 50 years. So, are we all better off because President Obama fought for it and passed it? You bet we are.”
THE FACTS: That’s wishful thinking at best. The nation’s total health care tab has been growing at historically low rates, but most experts attribute that to continued uncertainty over the economy, not to Obama’s health care law.
CLINTON: “I know many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy. … I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995. Our policies were working but most people didn’t feel it yet. By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history.”
THE FACTS: Clinton is counting on voters to recall the 1990s wistfully and to cast a vote for Obama in hopes of replicating those days in a second term. But Clinton leaves out the abrupt downward turn the economy took near the end of his own second term and the role his policies played in the setting the stage for the historic financial meltdown of 2008.