ABC Catches Obama Misleading Americans on Fast and Furious During Univision Forum
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It did not. In fact, the program began nine months into the Obama administration, in October 2009, and the network's online website "Political Punch" was the first to check the president's statement and set the record straight.
Obama made the bogus claim during last Thursday's Univision forum in Coral Gables, a two-night event giving presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Obama a chance to woo Hispanic voters.
Obama told interviewers Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas this:
“I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration. When Eric Holder found out about it, he discontinued it. We assigned an inspector general to do a thorough report that was just issued, confirming that in fact Eric Holder did not know about this, that he took prompt action and the people who did initiate this were held accountable.”
It's true, the G.W. Bush administration did run programs involving ATF agents allowing guns to “walk” across the border "so as to trace them," ABC reported. But it did not do so with the “field-initiated program” known as Fast and Furious.
Luis Sanchez, a Miamian outspoken in his criticism of Fast and Furious, told Sunshine State News, "In the Bush administration programs, which were not run like Obama's, no American citizen ever was killed."
White House Spokesman Eric Schultz later tried to explain the president's statement to ABC: “The president was referring to the flawed tactic of gun-walking, which despite Republicans' efforts to politicize this issue, began under the previous administration and it was our attorney general (Eric Holder) who ended it.
"In fact, this week’s IG report affirms this and if Republicans still have any legitimate questions about Fast and Furious, the 450-page report answers them. In light of this thorough report and Congress’s 16-month-long investigation, Republicans have no excuse to keep wasting time and taxpayer resources on politically-motivated, election-year attacks.”
Read the Office of the Inspector General's Report here.
Other news sources have since produced investigations and stories similar to ABC News' -- notably the Washington Post's "The Fact Checker." TFC slapped the president with three Pinocchios for his comments. But, according to one conservative media analyst, ABC was the first and deserves credit for it.
"It's been interesting to see how quickly the mainstream media dissect Romney's every word. Yet, they don't hesitate to give President Obama a pass," Gerald T. Akers told Sunshine State News. Akers is a former executive vice president of now-defunct United Press International. "I was proud of ABC for having the guts and especially the scruples to call the president out for what really is an egregious misstatement.
"And, as soon as ABC broke the ice, other news organizations -- not all, but some -- followed with stories of their own," Akers said.
Unfortunately, Akers said, PolitiFact, the fact-checker vehicle of The Tampa Bay Times, "apparently did not give the president's misstatement a second thought."
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