President Obama has inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and has frequently noted this fact publicly. “By any measure,” he said in March, “my administration has inherited a fiscal disaster.” “We are like a relief pitcher stepping into the ninth inning and we can’t just redo the whole game,” Budget Director Peter Orszag said. Indeed, 84 percent of Americans believe Obama inherited the crisis.
Yesterday, on Sean Hannity’s show, former Florida governor Jeb Bush implored Obama to stop criticizing his brother’s legacy. “If I had one humble criticism of President Obama, it would be to stop this notion of somehow framing everything in the context of, ‘Everything was bad before I got here,’” Jeb said. Today, Fox News’s Bill Hemmer hosted a discussion about the subject with Juan Williams. As Williams noted, the Bush administration like to blame President Clinton for 9/11:
WILLIAMS: And you saw the same thing from the Bush administration. When they were the crisis of 9/11, what’d they do? They pointed at Bill Clinton and said, “why didn’t he do more about catching Bin Laden when he had the chance? Why didn’t he take further steps to prevent this eventuality, this possibility?
Fox News’s Bill Hemmer objected, saying, “I don’t believe President Bush ever said that.” “Oh gosh, their administration was saying that all along,” Williams responded. Watch it:
Indeed, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “claimed that Clinton did not leave them a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda,” ABC reported. But the 9/11 Commission report “described Rice receiving a ‘comprehensive paper in January 2001 called ‘Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Networks of al Qaeda.’”
It wasn’t just terrorism; the Bush administration loved to blame the Clinton administration for the 2001 recession. Bush did so up until his last days in office:
“When I took office, our economy was beginning a recession.” — Bush, 8/7/02
“The president inherited a Clinton recession and turned it into the early stages of Bush prosperity.” — Secretary of Commerce Don Evans, 9/2/04
“In terms of the economy, look, I inherited a recession, I am ending on a recession.” — Bush, 1/12/09
The National Bureau of Economic Research, which gives the government’s official dictum on recessions, said the “recession” began under President Bush: the economic “expansion that began in March 1991 ended in March 2001 and a recession began.” In fact, before it entered office, the Bush administration was blaming its predecessor for a recession that had not yet begun. “Do you think we’re on the front edge of a recession?” asked Tim Russert. “I think so,” said Dick Cheney in December 2000.