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Food Stamp Presidents

Nothing is more infuriating than someone who is smug, condescending and wrong. A couple of examples come to mind. The people who made fun of Christine O'Donnell for not being able to name any Democratic senators (she wasn't asked to) are one example. Newsweeks Jonathan Darman, in debunking the "myth" that Obama went to a Muslim school, is another (he did).

The latest offenders are Martin Bashir and Soledad O'Brien who purportedly debunked Newt Gingrich's claim that  Obama was the "food stamp president". According to Noel Sheppard of Newsbusters, Bashir said that "Gingrich lies repeatedly"  and that "more people were collecting food stamps under George W. Bush than are under President Obama".

The article goes on to explain that while the percentage increase under Bush was greater, the actual number of people (and percentage of the population) collecting food stamps is greater under Obama. Bashir confused the increase  (which was greater under Bush) with the actual number (greater under Obama).

Perhaps it's an easy mistake to make, but if you are going to say that someone "lies repeatedly", you should do more work in checking your facts.

Soledad O'Brien also tried to pin the "food stamp president" on Bush during an interview with Allen West. According to Media Research center, she said 

Newt Gingrich... called President Obama the food stamp president. And then you have said also that he has increased food stamps 41 percent...But it went up 65 percent under President Bush. So explain to me why the food stamp president thing is a strategy when really the percentagewise is bigger increase -- no one calls President Bush the food stamp president, right? 

To her credit, O'Brien does not confuse the increase with the actual number. But there are still more people collecting food stamps under Obama than under Bush.

Allen West correctly pointed out that it is "apropos...to say that we have seen an increase in the food stamp recipients". I wish he had gone further. Bush was president for two terms, and Obama has only served one term. 65 percent for two terms amounts to a geometric average of 28% per term, which is less than Obama's increase in his first term. Likewise, Obama's 41 percent increase, if it is repeated for his next term, will amount to a total increase of 98%.