Washington Post columnist George Will jabbed at President Obama on Sunday for his boasts about the most recent U.S. economic numbers.
Obama took something of a victory lap with his public remarks last week after the Labor Department released employment data showing that unemployment fell to 8.2 percent. In those remarks, Obama bragged that the economy added 600,000 jobs in the last three months and erroneously quoted President Rutherford B. Hayes in an attempt to paint the GOP as a backward party.
Will said the president’s remarks illuminated his lack of historical perspective.
“What struck me this week is our president is not a great student of American history, as he showed in his uninformed preposterous remarks about Rutherford B. Hayes,” Will said during the online “Green Room” segment of ABC’s “This Week.”
“But leave that aside, if he knew even recent American history he would know better than to come out and brag as he did this week when he said we created 600,000 jobs in three months.”
Will explained that while Ronald Reagan was president, he was able to add that many jobs in a single month, despite having entered office in 1981 in a deeper hole than Obama inherited in 2009.
“During the Reagan recovery of ’83-’84, they created 600,000 jobs in one month and in another month more than 700,000 jobs,” Will said. “So, Obama is really underscoring the weakness of his recovery.”
“The fact is, under the Reagan recession, unemployment hit 10.8 percent,” Will added. “So he was starting from a more difficult position.”
Thomson Reuters digital editor Chrystia Freeland said Obama was in a more difficult spot because he entered office after a financial crisis.
But Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan suggested that the president’s “incorrect or ill-thought-through” remarks were tarnishing his professorial reputation.
“Can I tell you something that I think is hurting the president’s reputation right now?” Noonan said.
“He has this reputation — he has for four years now that he has been famous in America as a really smart man. But he has said things lately that are so incorrect or ill-thought-through that people think, ‘He’s really smart. He must be being mischievous. He must be being deliberately provocative.’”