Late this this afternoon, the Associated Press made a correction to Christopher Rugaber’s August 10 story on July’s federal budget results. His original claim, noted on August 11 by yours truly at NewsBusters and at BizzyBlog, was that Barack Obama’s promise to cut the deficit in half was something “he pledged to do during his 2008 campaign.”
As noted in my original post and its mirror, the only evidence of a “cut in half” promise I could locate was in February 2009, a month after Obama took office and shortly after the passage of the stimulus package. A February 21, 2009 AP story reported that such a promise was coming, and it became official two days later. After the jump, readers will find the text of the AP’s correction language (also found here, and currently listed at the top of its corrections link at its national site), followed by a few paragraphs from the original item up to where the correction has been incorporated:
Correction: Budget Deficit story
(AP) – Aug 14, 4:38 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a story Aug. 10 about the U.S. budget deficit for July, The Associated Press reported erroneously that President Barack Obama promised during his 2008 presidential campaign to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. Obama made his promise in February 2009, not during the 2008 campaign.
A corrected version of the story is below:
US budget deficit totals $974B through July
US budget deficit totals $974 billion through July, trails last year’s pace
By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. federal budget deficit increased $70 billion in July and is on track to top $1 trillion for the fourth straight year.
The deficit for the first 10 months of the 2012 budget year, which ends Sept. 30, totaled $974 billion, the Treasury Department said Friday. That’s 11.5 percent less than the $1.1 trillion gap in the same period last year.
A slightly better economy has boosted income tax receipts, which have increased 6 percent so far this year. Corporate income tax receipts rose nearly 30 percent compared to a year ago. Spending has dipped 0.3 percent.
Still, President Obama will almost certainly face re-election after running $1 trillion deficits each year in office. GOP candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for failing to cut the deficit in half, as he pledged to do in February 2009.
Mr. Rugaber graciously sent me an unsolicited thank-you email which was not prompted by any communication from me shortly after the correction appeared. I am grateful for his acknowledgment.
Thus, the record on when President Obama made his deficit-cutting promise has been set straight.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.