Are all of these Firsts by President Obama True?
This chain mail and social media post has been going around for a while, claiming all of these negative “firsts” for an American President and claiming that they were done by Obama. Some of them go right along with the birther conspiracies, some of them we rank false, some are true, and a few others are completely unknown and possibly just made up out of thin air.
First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.
Obama never applied for college aid an a foreigner, the “supposed” aid he applied for while a student at Occidental college, which was the Fulbright Scholarship, required you to be a post-graduate student, Obama was an undergraduate at Occidental. Occidental College spokesperson Jim Tranquada says that President Obama’s records are still private and no such transcripts have been released. When asked if the future President used the Obama or Soetoro name at the college, the spokesperson said that although he had not seen the transcripts he had seen a 1981 photo book that was handed out to students and faculty at the beginning of the college year with student photos, names and hometown information. The 1981 photo book had “Barack Obama” under the student’s photo and indicated a home state as Hawaii.
First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.
Probably true, but meaningless since Social Security cards aren’t issued based on the state you were born in. Rumors about Obama’s Social Security Number began circulating in 2010 alleging that the number belonged to a deceased man who immigrated to the U.S. from France and resided in Hawaii. That proved to be fiction. This sparked additional inquires as to why the President’s Social Security Number began with 042, the three digit classification for Connecticut. According to the Social Security Administration, “The Area Number is assigned by the geographical region. Prior to 1972, cards were issued in local Social Security offices around the country and the Area Number represented the State in which the card was issued. This did not necessarily have to be the State where the applicant lived, since a person could apply for their card in any Social Security office.” Honolulu’s zip code is 96814 and Connecticut is 06814, which one can suppose was a simple typo (0 for 9) on the application.
First President to preside over a cut to the credit rating of the United States.
Moody’s and Fitch did not lower our credit rating, and S&P laid blame directly on Congress:
The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy. Despite this year’s wide-ranging debate, in our view, the differences between political parties have proven to be extraordinarily difficult to bridge, and, as we see it, the resulting agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently. Republicans and Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee decisions on more comprehensive measures. It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options. In addition, the plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability.”
“Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.”
First President to violate the War Powers Act.
The War Powers Resolution was First disregarded by President Clinton in 1999, during the bombing campaign in Kosovo.
First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
Technically, It was the interior department held in contempt. Also, the judge that held the interior department in contempt has now disclosed that he owned Exxon stock, which could be considered a conflict.
First President to defy a Federal Judges court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law.
The ruling to cease implementing the law completely was thrown out by the U.S. Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit
First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.
The Militia acts of 1792 signed by George Washington required everyone to own a Musket
First President to spend a trillion dollars on shovel-ready jobs and later admit there was no such thing as shovel-ready jobs.
President Obama did use the term “Shovel Ready Jobs” in a plan to fund $50 billion in improvements to highways, transit systems, railways and aviation. The idea was to put Americans back to work by construction upgrades to 150,000 miles of road, 4,000 miles of train tracks, 150 miles of airport runways and the nation’s air traffic control system. Political reported that experts did not see the jobs being as shovel ready as one would think as ” A tremendous amount of money and time is needed to get a project through a detailed design process, permitting, environmental hurdles, public hearings and land acquisition.
Obama did not spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure. This number appears to come from reports on how much should be spent on infrastructure. “The Society of Civil Engineers (Failure to Act Studies) gives its price tag for restoring a first-world infrastructure. It would take $1.7T to correct our current infrastructure deficit and an extra $160 billion a year – or $1.1T — to meet our infrastructure needs through 2020.”
First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.
This is referring to Chrysler. Chrysler did file for bankruptcy as part of TARP restructuring, but I don’t know what is implied by turning over control to his union supporters.
First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat.
It’s called an executive order and he is not the first president to use one, Additionally, the president’s executive order falls very short of the full Dream Act
First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S. , including those with criminal convictions.
Obama has deported a record number of people, focusing on criminals and there was nothing secret about this:
“The Obama administration announced a major change in policy for thousands of illegal immigrants going through deportation proceedings. They now may be able to stay in the country. There are currently 300,000 deportation cases making their way through the federal immigration courts, but under the new policy immigrants classified as low-priority cases could be granted a stay and a chance to apply for a work permit.”
First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.
The penalty is not being “handed over to a political appointee” This is referring to the BP Oil victim’s fund. Kenneth Feinberg, who administered the fund, has been responsible for the most high profile victims funds in recent history, including the 9/11 victims compensation fund and the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund after the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. BP chose to set up the fund to minimize law suits. It was not demanded by Obama, though Obama did meet with BP before hand
First President to terminate Americas ability to put a man in space.
The United States had no ability to launch astronauts into space from 1975 — the year of the Apollo Soyuz Test Project — until 1981, when the space shuttle program went live.
“One could blame (President Richard) Nixon, who ended Apollo and approved the shuttle, or (President Gerald) Ford, who didn’t disagree with Nixon, though by 1974 it might have been too late to rescue Apollo,” Smith said. “Usually it’s Nixon who is ‘blamed’ for that. By the time Carter came into office, Apollo had already ended and shuttle couldn’t be accelerated. It actually was supposed to be ready by 1979, but NASA couldn’t pull it off.”
“Richard Nixon, perhaps in conjunction with Gerald Ford, would be the one to qualify for the unwanted title of “First president to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space” – not Obama.” The Apollo program ended in 1975 and had a five year gap in space launches until the Space Shuttle program was in full operation
This doesn’t even take into consideration that the NASA Program was canceled by Bush, not Obama, or the fact that America still has the ability of commercial space flight.
First President to encourage racial discrimination and intimidation at polling places.
Show me some proof where he actually encouraged this?
First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present.
Obama wasn’t the first president to use an autopen, but he was the first to sign a law with one.
President Harry Truman is believed to be the first sitting president to use the modern autopen regularly. eBay even had a Truman signed thank-you-note for sale, as Gawker noted. But Time Magazine said President Thomas Jefferson was a fan of the polygraph, a new invention at the time that recorded his signature.
Obama has used it before, including to sign an extension of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act in May 2011 because he was in France at a G-8 Summit, CBS News reported at the time.
There’s an entire book dedicated to the auto pen. In 1965, Charles Hamilton published “The Robot That Helped to Make a President,” about how President John F. Kennedy used the machine.
Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan had bills flown to Turkey and China, respectively, so they wouldn’t have to sign major pieces of legislation with the autopen
Citing ambiguity in the Constitution (the exact line is “if he approve he shall sign it”), George W. Bush’s Justice Department made the legal case that an autopen is as good as the president’s hand when it comes to signing bills.
“Neither the constitutional text nor the drafting and ratification debates provide further guidance regarding what it means for the President to ‘sign’ a bill he approves,” the opinion begins, and then dives into a lengthy legal discussion of what “signing” meant during the early days of the republic” The result: A 29-page opinion saying it’s legal. But Bush didn’t risk the controversy and never used it to sign legislation.
First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.
Declaring DOMA unconstitutional was not arbitrary, as the Supreme Court has shown. Also, Obama is not the first President to do so. For example, under Bush, the state department would not defend Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act
First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly speak-out on the reasons for their rate increases.
…the Obama administration called on health plans to stop “misinformation and scare tactics” about the healthcare reform law… The administration’s letter to America’s Health Insurance Plans comes after several health plans told customers that they were raising rates in part because of the new law. In it, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned: “I want AHIP’s members to be put on notice: the Administration, in partnership with states, will not tolerate unjustified rate hikes in the name of consumer protections.”
Sebelius acknowledges that the new law will cause an increase in premiums, albeit “minimal.”
“According to our analysis and those of some industry and academic experts, any potential premium impact from the new consumer protections and increased quality provisions under the Affordable Care Act will be minimal,” she writes. “We estimate that that the effect will be no more than one to two percent.”
Excessive premium hikes, Sebelius warns, will not be tolerated.
“We will also keep track of insurers with a record of unjustified rate increases: those plans may be excluded from health insurance Exchanges in 2014. Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections.”
First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state they are allowed to locate a factory.
“In a case that has become – as the New York Times described it — a cause célèbre among Republican lawmakers and 2012 hopefuls, the National Labor Relations Board has accused Boeing of opening its South Carolina shop in a “right-to-work” state to retaliate against union worker strikes at its main manufacturing base in the Seattle area. An Obama appointee is now asking a judge to order Boeing to relocate all 787 Dreamliner production to Washington state — a move that’s feeding the GOP narrative that Obama’s Big Government is meddling with job creation, just as the first plane nears its first commercial flight.
First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (Az, WI, OH, IN)
The oath of the President of the United States does not have any conditions to protect U.S. States. The oath of office is in the U.S. Constitution and it says, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Also, Obama is hardly the first president to sue a state. This happens all the time.
Example: Bush v. Illinois http://articles.latimes.com/2007/sep/25/nation/na-immig25
First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.
True, but completely legal.
First President to fire an inspector general of Ameri-corps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.
Obama did fire Walpin, and Walpin was criticized for the way he handled an investigation into Kevin Johnson, former point guard of the Phoenix Suns, who was elected Mayor of Sacramento last November and is an ally of the president’s.
First President to appoint 45 Czars to replace elected officials in his office.
It’s meaningless to ask a question about what “hiring czars” allows a president to do, because presidents don’t hire czars. “Czar” is a label bestowed by the media – and sometimes the administration – as a shorthand for the often-cumbersome titles of various presidential advisers, assistants, office directors, special envoys and deputy secretaries. (After all, what makes for a better headline – “weapons czar” or “undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics”?)
There’s been a certain fascination with calling Obama’s advisers and appointees “czars.” Fox News host Glenn Beck has identified 32 Obama czars on his Web site, whom he has characterized as a collective “iceberg” threatening to capsize the Constitution. Beck and other television hosts aren’t the only ones crying czar, either. Six Republican senators recently sent a letter to the White House saying that the creation of czar posts “circumvents the constitutionally established process of ‘advise and consent.’ ” Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah issued a press release saying that czars “undermine the constitution.” And Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison wrote an opinion column in the Washington Post complaining about the czar menace, including the factually inaccurate claim that only “a few of them have formal titles.”
The habit of using “czar” to refer to an administration official dates back at least to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but the real heyday of the czar came during President George W. Bush’s administration. The appellation was so popular that several news organizations reported on the rise of the czar during the Bush years, including NPR, which ran a piece called “What’s With This Czar Talk?” and Politico, which published an article on the evolution of the term. The latter, written during the 2008 presidential campaign, points out that czars are “really nothing new. They’ve long been employed in one form or another to tackle some of the nation’s highest-profile problems.” Politico quotes author and political appointments expert James Bovard saying that the subtext of “czar” has changed from insult to praise: “It’s a real landmark sign in political culture to see this change from an odious term to one of salvation.”
First President to golf 73 separate times in his First two and a half years in office.
Presidents love golf! “Woodrow Wilson, who reportedly played about 1,200 rounds during his presidency. Dwight Eisenhower is the runner-up at 800, according to his memorial commission.”
First President to hide his medical, educational and travel records.
There is no law that says the president or a presidential candidate must disclose this information. Additionally, Reagan hid his Alzheimer disease during his presidency, so Obama is certain not the first to choose not to disclose medical information.
First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Barack Obama on October 9, 2009 after he had been in office approximately 9 months. According to the Nobel Peace Prize website Obama was awarded this, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”. On January 20, 2010 Britain’s The Guardian released a timeline showing the major events during the President’s fist year in office. In April 2009, Obama flew to England for the G-20 conference where he not only met with Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Gordon Brown but also met with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev to discuss U.S. and Russian relations.
First President to coddle American enemies while alienating Americas allies.
Citation? Reference? Anything?
First President to publicly bow to Americas enemies while refusing to salute the U.S. Flag.
President Obama has been photographed bowing to foreign leaders during formal introductions. One of these leaders was Saudi Arabian King Abdullah. The U.S. is at war with a radical terrorist organization based in the Middle East called al-Qaeda, and neither Saudi Arabia or King Abdullah are considered an enemy of the U.S.
Obama does not always follow the protocol of placing his hand over his heart when the National Anthem is played.
Modern custom does not require a hand over the heart, said Anne Garside, director of communication for the Maryland Historical Society, home of the original manuscript of The Star-Spangled Banner.
“I think the bottom line is that you show respect with your demeanor,” she said. “Whether you put your hand over your heart, hold your hat at shoulder level or waist level, is really in this day and age irrelevant.”
an Obama campaign spokesperson responded: “Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t. In no way was he making any sort of statement, and any suggestion to the contrary is ridiculous.” The senator himself said that “My grandfather taught me when I was 2. During the Pledge of Allegiance, you put your hand over your heart. During the national anthem, you sing.” When television’s Inside Edition ran a segment on this issue, they included some images (supplied by the Obama campaign) of the senator standing with his hand over his heart during other playings of the national anthem
First President to go on multiple global apology tours.
Most of the criticism stems from a series of speeches that Obama made shortly after taking office, when he was trying to introduce himself to the world and also signify a break with the Bush administration with new policies, such as pledging to close the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay.
This is typical of many new presidents. George W. Bush, for instance, quickly broke with Clinton administration policy on dealings with North Korea, the Kyoto climate change treaty and the international criminal court, to name a few.
In none of these cases does Obama actually use a word at all similar to “apologize.” The Latin American comment might have resonance with Rove’s old boss, since that was Bush’s charge against the Clinton administration in the 2000 campaign. The Prague and London quotes are not apologies at all. The Paris quote, which is often cited as an apology, is taken out of context.
First President to go on 17 lavish vacations, including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends, paid for
by the taxpayer.
· In 1798, President John Adams left the capital for seven months to care for his ailing wife Abigail; his enemies said he practically relinquished his office.
· Thomas Jefferson and James Madison routinely went away for three- and four-month stretches.
· Abraham Lincoln, during the Civil War, was blasted for spending about 25 percent of his time away from the White House.
· Dwight Eisenhower took long summer breaks in Denver and spent almost every single weekend at Camp David.
· John F. Kennedy rarely spent a weekend in the White House, staying at family homes in Palm Beach, Hyannis Port, and the Virginia countryside.
· Lyndon Johnson spent 484 days in five and a half years at his Texas ranch.
· Ronald Reagan was away for 436 days, usually at Rancho del Cielo (his mountaintop retreat in California) or Camp David.
· Bill Clinton, who didn’t own a vacation home, loved to party with his elite friends in Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons.
· George W. Bush spent 32 months at his ranch (490 days) or Camp David (487 days) — an average of four months away every year.
Time off doesn’t mean goofing off. President Bush, for example, met with a variety of foreign leaders at his ranch. President Obama held a G-8 summit at Camp David.
First President to refuse to wear the U.S. Flag lapel pin.
It’s true that he said that, which is quoted below, but I find it highly unlikely that every President from George Washington onward wore a US Flag Lapel pin.
While campaigning for the Oval Office, Barack Obama did sport a different lapel pin from the customary US Flag pin that many patriotic Americans wear but after his election to the Oval Office the President has been seen with the traditional lapel pin.
Obama said: “You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest. Instead, I’m going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”
“I said, you know what, I probably haven’t worn a flag pin in a very long time. After a while I noticed people wearing a lapel pin and not acting very patriotic.
“My attitude is that I’m less concerned about what you’re wearing on your lapel than what’s in your heart. You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who serve. You show your patriotism by being true to our values and ideals. That’s what we have to lead with is our values and our ideals.”
First President to have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife.
In fact, according to Anita McBride, Laura Bush’s former Chief of Staff, Mrs. Bush had between 24 and 26 staffers working for her by the end of her husband’s second term in office. It’s therefore fair to say that the size of Michelle Obama’s staff is not “unprecedented,” but rather on a par with her immediate predecessor’s.
Lady Bird Johnson, whose signature issue was beautifying roadways, had a staff of 30, said Stacy A. Cordery, a history professor at Montmouth [sic] College in Illinois who studies first ladies.
Betty Ford had almost the same number.
Jacqueline Kennedy, who made renovating the White House her cause, had about 40 people on staff, Cordery said.
-First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000.00 a year at taxpayer expense.
Bo’s trainer died in 2011. I couldn’t find anything on salaries one way or another.
-First President to repeat “the Holy Qur’an tells us,” and openly admit “the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth.”
I doubt Obama was the first to quote the Quran. Jefferson certainly read it and owned a copy (Which is currently at the Library of Congress). On June 4, 2009 the President delivered a speech in Cairo, Egypt. In this speech he used the term “Holy Koran” a total of 5 times. He also said, “Now part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I’m a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.” There was no mention in this speech that the Azaan was the most beautiful sound to Obama’s ears.