Whopper of the Week: George W. Bush

Hey, one year is a long time, isn’t it?

“I signed a really good education bill. I want to share it with you because it’s your responsibility, by the way, to make sure the citizens in this community get educated. … [I]n return for federal money we have said, show us, New Hampshire. You show us. You show us whether our children are learning to read and write and add and subtract. You chart the path to excellence, and you measure. In return for the biggest increase in education spending in a long, long time [italics Chatterbox’s], we expect every child to be educated.”

—President George W. Bush, in an Oct. 5 speech at the National Guard Armory in Manchester, N.H.

“In fact, the 15.8 percent increase in Department of Education discretionary spending for fiscal year 2002 (the figures the White House supplied when asked about Bush’s statement) was below the 18.5 percent increase under Clinton the previous year—and Bush had wanted a much smaller increase than Congress approved. Earlier this month, Republican moderates complained to Bush’s budget director, Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., that the administration was not spending the full amount for education that Congress approved. Daniels said it was ‘nothing uncommon’ and decried the ‘explosively larger education bill.’ “

—Dana Milbank, “For Bush, Facts Are Malleable” in the Oct. 22 Washington Post

[Mathematical literacy note, Oct. 28: Many readers have written in to point out that if you add 18.5 percent of X to X, and then add to that sum (call it Y) 15.8 percent of Y, the numeric increase will be greater the second time around, even though the percentage increase was smaller. That’s because you started from a higher base. Ergo, Bush told the truth if he was talking about the dollar increase in education spending. But in budgetary arithmetic, when you talk about the size of a spending increase, it’s understood that you’re talking about the percentage increase. So Bush’s assertion is still a whopper.]

Got a whopper? Send it to To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.

Whopper Archive:
Oct. 18, 2002: North Korea
Oct. 11, 2002: Michael Bloomberg
Sept. 27, 2002: Rep. Tom Tancredo
Sept. 13, 2002: Al-Muhajiroun
Sept. 6, 2002: National Republican Congressional Committee
Aug. 29, 2002: Eddie Joe Lloyd
Aug. 22, 2002: Larry Klayman
Aug. 2, 2002: Al Gore
July 26, 2002: Princeton admissions dean Stephen LeMenager
July 19, 2002: James Traficant
July 12, 2002: Maryland Lt. Gov. candidate Michael S. Steele
July 5, 2002: Hesham Mohamed Hadayet
June 28, 2002: WorldCom
June 21, 2002: Terry Lynn Barton
June 14, 2002: Tom Ridge
June 7, 2002: Former FBI Deputy Director Weldon Kennedy
May 31, 2002: Ari Fleischer
May 23, 2002: Condoleezza Rice
May 17, 2002: Robert Mueller
May 9, 2002: Karl Rove
May 3, 2002: Gen. Richard Myers
April 25, 2002: Donald Rumsfeld
April 18, 2002: George W. Bush  
April 11, 2002: The Rev. Robert J. Banks, archdiocese of Boston
April 5, 2002: George W. Bush  
March 29, 2002: Major League Baseball
March 21, 2002: Billy Graham
March 14, 2002: INS commissioner James W. Ziglar
March 8, 2002: Robert Zoellick and the U.S. steel industry
Feb. 28, 2002: Al Sharpton
Feb. 22, 2002: Olympic skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne
Feb. 14, 2002: Kenneth Lay
Feb. 8, 2002: Enron spokeswoman Peggy Mahoney
Jan. 31, 2002: Monsanto
Jan. 24, 2002: Linda Chavez
Jan. 17, 2002: George W. Bush
Jan. 10, 2002: Simon & Schuster
Jan. 4, 2002: The Associated Press

(Click  here  to access the Whopper Archive for 2001.)