Since when does a "few" mean thirteen? The answer appears to be: "When Barack Obama says it does, and when the press won't call him in it."
Rush Limbaugh today talked about a January 25 speech President Barack Obama made at Conveyor Engineering and Manufacturing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and pointed to a particular segment demonstrating in his view that Obama was deliberately "downsizing the American Dream." When I went to the actual speech at the White House's web site, I found a statement the President made about his administration's jobs record which was quite problematic (i.e., false), and which, despite the press's rips at Republican candidates who dare question the specifics of Obama's economic performance or the legitimacy of the economic recovery in general, received no press coverage I could locate:
Now, today, three years after the worst economic storm in three generations, we are making progress. Our businesses have created more than 3 million jobs over the last 22 months. If you look at a job chart, if you look at a chart of what’s happened in terms of jobs in America, we lost 4 million jobs before I took office, another 4 million in the few months right after I took office, before our economic policies had a chance to take effect, and we’ve been growing and increasing jobs ever since -- 3 million over the last 22 months. Last year, we created the most jobs since 2005. And today, American manufacturers like this one are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the 1990s. And that’s good news.
"In the few months"?
My research on the meaning of "a few" indicates that though there is no hard and fast rule, most people believe that "a couple" is two and "a few" involves three. Even after bending the meaning curve upward a bit, there's no support for the idea that "a few" is thirteen, which is the actual time period to which the President deceptively referred where uninterrupted seasonally adjusted job losses continued, both overall and in the private sector:
Further, no one in the White House was claiming at the time the stimulus became law in mid-February 2009 that it would take a full 13 months to begin "to take effect."
Beyond that, the fall in full-time employment was worse, and its recovery has been weaker. Overall, that the current "recovery" is the worst since World War II -- by miles -- is indisputable.
At the Associated Press that day, Jim Kuhnhenn's coverage was headlined "Upbeat and on a roll, Obama showing some swagger," and didn't mention Obama's mischaracterization of his jobs performance. Neither did Helene Cooper's coverage at the New York Times. Speaking of mischaracterizing, the Kuhnhenn's case for "swagger" is pretty weak in light of the following sentence from his dispatch: "Arriving in Iowa on Wednesday, he jogged, grinning, to a rope line of a couple of dozen supporters." Wow, a whole couple of dozen.
Bigger picture, a Google News search on "Obama Cedar Rapids" (not in quotes, for January 25-29, sorted by date) returned 129 items in a 3:30 p.m. search. Add the word "chart," and it dropped down to one -- a full transcript posted at a local newspaper's web site.
But let any GOP candidate say anything harsh -- often completely truthful -- about where Obama's economy is, and you'll see swarms of "fact check" items get unleashed by the protective press.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.