Barack Obama’s extension of Bush-Era tax cuts for the wealthy is a complete contradiction to promises made during his campaign. But Presidential lies are a right of passage for some of the great U.S. leaders from history. Find out which presidents flip-flopped on key issues, or just flat-out lied, plus pictures and video below!
From JFK to George Bush, almost every U.S. leader has reneged on a promise, or completely falsified a statement for one reason or another. According to PolitiFact, Obama has broken just under 5% of campaign promises he made in 2008. But how does this stack up against his predecessors?
Presidential lies have almost become a right of passage, especially during campaigns. Almost every candidate promises, at some point, lower taxes, more social programs, and a balanced budget, and almost always fails on at least one front. For instance, George W. Bush promised all three, but failed on the third. But it’s not just campaign promises that U.S. leaders are famous for breaking.
There is a long list of statements made by U.S. leaders that have proven to be complete fabrications, and here’s some highlights:
In 1945, President Harry S. Truman assured Americans that “The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, in so far as possible, the killing of civilians.” Hiroshima, in fact, was almost entirely non-military, and 140,000 innocent civilians died as a result.
President JFK said in 1961, “I have previously stated and I repeat now that the United States intends no military intervention in Cuba.” It turned out the Bay of Pigs was organized and funded by the CIA, and American pilots had flown some bombing missions.
In 1973, Richard Nixon said on a nationally televised speech “I have earned every cent. And in all of my years of public life I have never obstructed justice. People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.” That speech was in response to Watergate, possibly the biggest scandal in U.S. history. Nixon eventually resigned rather than face impeachment.
Of the Iran Hostage Crisis, Ronald Reagan said in 1986 “We did not — repeat — did not trade weapons or anything else for hostages — nor will we.” Yes, they did. In fact, over 2,000 anti-tank weapons were sold to Iran in exchange for hostages.
Speaking to the nation in 1998, Bill Clinton assured voters, saying “I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” We all know how that turned out!
In his 2008 campaign, Obama said “The problem we have right now is not that the wealthy don’t have enough tax breaks. The problem is ordinary Americans don’t have spending power.” However, he balanced that statement by saying “I want to monitor the situation. I never want to project a year from now and say, no matter what happens, I’m determined to do what I said a year or a year and a half ago.” In the end, Obama has decided to compromise with Republicans, and extend the tax-cuts for the wealthy for two years. In retrospect, not that big of a deal.
While Presidential lies look scandalous in retrospect, it has to be said that some of these statements were made during pivotal times in U.S. history. Therefore it’s tough to get a grasp on the individual circumstances from the modern perspective. What do you think of our list? Do you have more to add? Let me know in the comment section after you check out pictures and video on the story below!
Photos: www.wenn.com/ Carrie Devorah