First, the president said "the Taliban's momentum has been broken" in Afghanistan. This is not true. Targeted assassinations continue and at least one foreign policy expert says the enemy may just be waiting until the U.S. leaves.
Second, the president took credit for putting "more boots on the border than ever before" which is true, but the biggest increase was made under George W. Bush. And the decrease in illegal border crossings is due mainly to the lack of jobs in the U.S.
Third, he said a tougher tariff on tire imports from China saved more than 1,000 U.S. jobs. But industry officials say Chinese imports have simply been replaced by imports from other countries.
Examples of where he spoke the truth, but left out the rest of the story, were more numerous. For example, the president claimed that President Bush issued more regulations than Obama at the same point in their presidencies; however, he didn't mention that his own regulations cost much more.
He pointed to increased U.S. oil production and declining dependence on imports, but failed to mention chronically high gas prices which hit a record last year.
Even though he boasted about creating millions of jobs, he chose not to mention that the number is still 1.7 million fewer than when he took office.
Perhaps the biggest boondoggle of the night was the reference to Warren Buffet's secretary who pays more taxes than her multi-billionaire boss. What the president didn't mention is that Buffet deliberately games the system in order to get that low rate - such as taking a very low salary, just enough to cover Social Security tax so he can avoid paying any excess Medicare tax.
The president's focus on "economic fairness" is also questionable. He said we can “either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while more Americans barely get by. Or we can build a nation where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.”
But what he doesn't say is that America has always been a land of opportunity, and people have always played by the rules - until recently.
"There’s no better proof of this than the fact that 80 percent of America’s millionaires made it to the top on their own, not by inheriting their wealth," writes Jonathan Karl of ABC News. "The middle class had thrived, with living standards on a steady rise up until 2009. In the last three years, the top 1 percent lost a lot more than the rest of us, but their being poorer doesn’t make anyone else better off."
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council also pointed out a glaring ommission in last night's speech.
"The President speaks about 'returning to American values' but neglects to mention the very core of American values - the family. The family is the economic engine that drives the country. The President's agenda does not reflect the values of faith, family and freedom. It is not an 'American value' to force Americans to pay for the aborting of unborn children. It is not an 'American value' to trample on religious freedom by forcing all insurance plans to carry abortaficient drugs and contraceptives even if employers are morally opposed. This touches a very fundamental understanding of our freedom in this country."
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