Associated Press Fact Checks Obama's SOTU Speech.
FACT CHECK: Obama and a toothless commission
By CALVIN WOODWARD
The Associated Press
Updated: 2:21 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010
Published: 8:36 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama told Americans the bipartisan deficit commission he will appoint won't just be "one of those Washington gimmicks." Left unspoken in that assurance was the fact that the commission won't have any teeth.
Obama confronted some tough realities in his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, chief among them that Americans are continuing to lose their health insurance as Congress struggles to pass an overhaul.
Yet some of his ideas for moving ahead skirted the complex political circumstances standing in his way.
A look at some of Obama's claims and how they compare with the facts:
OBAMA: "Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't."
THE FACTS: The anticipated savings from this proposal would amount to less than 1 percent of the deficit — and that's if the president can persuade Congress to go along.
Obama is a convert to the cause of broad spending freezes. In the presidential campaign, he criticized Republican opponent John McCain for suggesting one. "The problem with a spending freeze is you're using a hatchet where you need a scalpel," he said a month before the election. Now, Obama wants domestic spending held steady in most areas where the government can control year-to-year costs. The proposal is similar to McCain's...