Daley falsely claims Obama ignored his own fiscal commission because of Republicans 

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley falsely claimed that President Obama ignored the recommendations of his own fiscal commission due to a lack of Republican support.

Pressed by David Gregory on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday morning about why Obama had waited so long to take seriously the GOP effort to link the debt ceiling vote to deficit reduction, Daley started to respond, “First of all, the President created the fiscal commission last year.”

Then Gregory interjected, noting that Obama didn't accept any of the commission's recommendations.

“No Republicans would vote for any piece of it on the committee," Daley responded. "So he set that process in place. After that failed, he then began a process in the spring, with the Republican leadership.”

This is false on several levels.

First, it's factually untrue that no Republicans on the commission supported its recommendations. In reality, three Republicans did. One was retiring Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. The other two are still in office -- Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.

Even if we were to interpret Daley's comments less literally to mean that not enough Republicans would have supported the recommendations to ensure passage, his claim still doesn't stand up to much scrutiny. Obama has never shied away from endorsing policies that don't have the support of Republicans, and it wasn't the case this time.

The reality is this. All throughout 2010, liberals were worried that the fiscal commission was being used by Obama as a pretext to slash entitlements. On top of this, they were more generally against the idea of reducing deficits during a weak economy, because they believe in Keynesian theory that the government needs to keep spending money and running up deficits to stimulate the economy. And they believe deficit reduction is devastating to the economy. 

Last November, before the commission even officially released its report, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, "The deficit commission should be told to fold its tents and go away." The liberal campaign against the fiscal commission continued unabated for months, until Obama effectively rejected the proposal in his State of the Union Address and with the release of his 2012 budget.

Obama may be regretting having rejected the proposal now, but Daley cannot rewrite history to blame Republicans. The reality is he didn't endorse the fiscal commission's recommendations because he was afraid to stand up to his own party.

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Philip Klein

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