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DNC chair Wasserman Schultz stumbles on Obama unemployment stat

Broward Rep. and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz sounded as if she flubbed an unemployment stat this morning during an exchange with Fox & Friends’ host Gretchen Carlson, who exaggerated somewhat by saying the “unemployment has gone up precipitously since he took office.”

When Wasserman Schultz tried to cut off Carlson, the congresswoman at one point denied that unemployment "has been going up" under Obama. But it has "gone up." True, the rate is going down now. True, the rate was increasing before he got in office. But the rate also increased while Obama was president.

It was a little slip up by Wasserman Schultz, who didn't repeat the error when pressed. But this is campaign season. Republicans have pounced. And little phrases matter. Just ask Wasserman Schultz, who said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was "out of touch" for offering a $10,000 bet to Republican Rick Perry at Saturday night's debate.

The “precipitously” comment by Carlson is debatable. The jobless rate was 8.2 percent in Obama’s first full month in office, February 2009. It is now 8.6 percent. In between, in October of 2009, it was 10.1 percent.

From trough to peak, that means the unemployment rate rose 1.9 percentage points (technically a 23 percentage increase) under Obama. But from where we stand now, the increase is .4 percentage points (a 5 percent swing). And the rate is decreasing (albeit thanks to the holidays, the contraction of the workforce and some improvement in the upper-reaches of the economy).

But Carlson might have been playing loose with the figures. In saying the unemployment rate increased “precipitously,” it sounded as if she was talking about the rate in the fall of 2009. But then, during the exchange, she said she was talking about “where the unemployment numbers are.” That’s the present tense. And, in the present, the unemployment rate has ticked up just .4 percent -- 5 percentage points --- under Obama.

Carlson: Unemployment has gone up precipitously since he took office.

Wasserman Schultz: That is simply not true

Carlson: Yes it is

Wasserman Schultz: In fact unemployment has dropped below 9 percent. It’s continuing to drop

Carlson: That’s higher than when they promised that the stimulus would lower to 8 percent

Wasserman Schultz: See, that narrative doesn’t work for you anymore, though, because when…

Carlson: That’s not my narrative. I’m just talking about facts, where the unemployment numbers are…

Wasserman Schultz: You just said that the unemployment rate has been going up since he took office and it hasn’t.

Carlson: Is unemployment higher now than when President Obama first took office?

Wasserman Schultz: What’s happened since President Obama first took office….

Carlson: Is unemployment higher?

Wasserman Schultz: Unemployment is nearing right around where it was when President Obama took office. And it’s dropping. You just said that it’s increasing and that’s not true.

Comments

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n8whit

I am not a fan of Fox News, but I saw the exchange and the writer of this blog said Carlson was "exaggerating" when she said unemployment has gone up under Obama. Fact is, Obama took office at 7.8% unemployment. Promised if "stimulus" passed it would never be 8%. October 2010, it hit 10.1% and because so many have given up, it has now gone down to 8.6%.

mike

Shut up, Debbie! I can't stand hearing you go over the Dem talking points endlessly.

Dan

Debbie Wasserman Schultz seems to be a bit confused about the unemployment rate under President Obama's watch.

The Facts are that under President Bush the Annual Average Unemployment Rate in 2008 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics was 5.8%!!!

Under Obama the Annual Average Unemployment Rate in 2009 shot up to 9.3%!!! This increase of 3.5% is the single HIGHEST INCREASE from one year to the next going back as far as 1948!!!

Did the Annual Average Unemployment Rate improve after a second full year under the Obama administration and the Democrats holding a Super Majority during this time frame???..........Nope............The Annual Average Unemployment Rate in 2010 increased for a second straight year to 9.6%!!!

Feel free to forward the following link to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and if you get a chance ask her if she ever thinks Obama will be able to do as well as President Bush did in reference to the Unemployment Rate in this country.

Source: http://www.bls.gov/cps/prev_yrs.htm

heidilevy


Unemployment numbers are comprised of those that are in the job market for the past 30 days. It does not include those that have not been in the job market in the last 30 days: people who have given up looking; those that have gone off unemployment because it has run out. One solution to unemployment is High Speed Universities check it out

Scooter Van Neuter

This woman has the IQ of a swim fin - the perfect spokesperson for the DNC :)

David

heidi, having your unemployment benefits "run out" does not remove you from the job market or from the unemployment rate.

Dan, that is a ridiculous stat clearly designed to do nothing but obscure the obvious fact that the unemployment rate was skyrocketing towards the end of 2008. To suggest that somehow everything was hunky-dory when Obama took office is nothing but revisionist history. Why not actually discuss the problem and possible solutions, rather than toss partisan hackery around?

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