Mary Matalin, Liar

December 28, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

This wasn’t one of the big headlines from yesterday’s talk shows, but it’s fun to catch a lie in action. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” GOP strategist Mary Matalin said this:

We inherited a recession from President Clinton and we inherited the most tragic attack on our own soil in our nation’s history. And President Bush dealt with it. And within a year of his presidency at this comparable time, unemployment was at 5 percent. And we were creating jobs.

Not actually true! Leaving aside the claim that George W. Bush “inherited” the 9/11 terrorist attacks from Clinton, the unemployment rate in January 2001, when Bush took office, was 4.2 percent–a 0.2 point increase over December 2000, but not a recession number. The unemployment rate in December 2001, at the point in Bush’s presidency where Obama is now, was 5.8 percent, up 0.2 points from November. The unemployment rate did not actually hit 5 percent until May 2005. Unemployment never actually fell back to the Clinton-era rate during Bush’s presidency, coming closest in October 2006, when it hit 4.4 percent.

So, Mary Matalin is a liar. Expect to see her on TV again soon.