CNN's Velshi Bullies National Review Contributor for Factual Statement, Offers No Factual Rebuttal

When National Review's Jim Geraghty noted on CNN Thursday that the national unemployment rate has been higher through Obama's two years in office than at any time during Bush's two terms, and that the news could hurt Obama in the upcoming election, CNN's Ali Velshi would have none of it.

Velshi interrupted Geraghty and sternly rebuked his premise, decreeing that "with all due respect, that's just a silly thing to say." Velshi, however, could not offer anything other than ridicule to oppose Geraghty's statement which is factually correct.

[Click here for audio. Video below the break.]

 

During President Bush's time in office, the national unemployment rose to 6.3 percent in the summer of 2003 before falling, and did not rise above that mark until the fall of 2008. During Bush's tenure, unemployment never rose above 7.5 percent.

After rising for most of 2008, unemployment kept going up after Obama took office in January 2009. The unemployment rate reached its apex at 10.1 percent in the late fall of 2009. The unemployment rate has never dipped below 8 percent since February 2009 – just after Obama took office.

American Morning co-host Kiran Chetry kicked off the exchange by noting that no American president since World War II has been re-elected to office with the unemployment rate exceeding 7.2 percent on the day of election. Geraghty built upon that fact.

"Another kind of interesting way of putting it is, you know, my understanding is that barring some dramatic change in the unemployment rate between now and Election Day 2012, the unemployment rate for every month in the Obama administration will be higher than it has been for every month of the two terms of George W. Bush."

Velshi trashed his argument, however. "We didn't have the Great Recession under George W. Bush. That kind of talking point doesn't make sense, Jim," he retorted. Co-host Christine Romans agreed.

"The Republican case will argue are you better off now than you were four years ago?" Geraghty pointed out. To which Velshi quickly responded "Well, they better come up with a more sophisticated argument than that, or they're not going to get voters. That's just a – that's a very, very easy-to-refute, weak, weak argument."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on June 2 at 7:17 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

KIRAN CHETRY: And Jim, let me ask you about this, the whole situation with housing, jobs, the markets, all of them slumping. And this interesting fact pointed out by the New York Times that no American president since FDR has won a second term in office when the unemployment rate on Election Day topped 7.2 percent. Last week it was as if the president could slide into office –

CHRISTINE ROMANS: Do no wrong.

CHETRY: – yeah, do no wrong because of the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, and now these numbers.

JIM GERAGHTY, National Review: Yeah, it's one of those things where some of us were a little bit skeptical during that bump, knowing that at some point, probably Americans are celebrating with good reason that Osama bin Laden is dead, but at the end of the day it'll still be jobs.

Another kind of interesting way of putting it is, you know, my understanding is that barring some dramatic change in the unemployment rate between now and Election Day 2012, the unemployment rate for every month in the Obama administration will be higher than it has been for every month of the two terms of George W. Bush. And there are plenty of quotes from Democrats –

ALI VELSHI: Jim – Jim – Jim, with all due respect, that's just a silly thing to say. The unemployment rate under Obama has been higher for all but what of the, of George W. Bush? We didn't have the Great Recession under George W. Bush. That kind of talking point doesn't make sense, Jim.

GERAGHTY: I'm going to strongly disagree with that, because it's one of those things where there are many quotes from Democrats talking about the Bush years as the bad old days, as that was what we needed to fix, that we needed to get better.

VELSHI: If that talking point comes up, it's going to be very easy for Democrats to refute that one.

GERAGHTY: They're going to argue – the Republican case will argue are you better off now than you were four years ago?

VELSHI: Well, they better come up with a more sophisticated argument than that, or they're not going to get voters. That's just a – that's a very, very easy-to-refute, weak, weak argument.

GERAGHTY: I disagree. Sorry.

VELSHI: Alright.

GERAGHTY: Sorry Ali, I mean it's one of those things where the argument will be are you better off?

VELSHI: You gotta come better armed than that if Republicans are going to use that argument.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014