WASHINGTON -- Truth be told, Barack Obama may be the most charismatic and articulate public speaker in America today. Give him carefully crafted prose, well-wrapped applause lines, a teleprompter and an audience, and he will bring 'em to their feet, fired up, ready to charge the barricades. It is a gift, and he uses it well.
That's what he did in his first speech to a joint session of Congress and in presenting his budget. On Tuesday evening, I listened in my car so I wasn't distracted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi jumping up every few seconds like a schoolgirl with ants in her pants. Nor could I see Joe, our vice president, semi-somnolently staring out into the crowd. On Thursday, I listened to Obama's speech again and then read the words he used after presenting the federal budget. That's why I conclude that truth be told, too often he isn't telling the truth.
Maybe it's not his fault. Perhaps 27-year-old Jon Favreau, his eloquent speechwriter, just doesn't know the facts or recognize "where have I heard those words before?" Here are a few examples of when Obama's words this week just didn't match what's right:
"We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy. Yet we import more oil today than ever before." The first sentence is spot on. The second sentence simply isn't true. Since 2005, U.S. oil imports have declined steadily, from a high of 5 billion barrels per year.
In defending hasty passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he said, "A failure to act would have worsened our long-term deficit by assuring weak economic growth for years." But supposedly impartial economic analysis by the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the legislation likely will have a negative effect on long-term productivity and economic growth.
"The ability to get a loan is how you finance the purchase of everything from a home to a car to a college education, how stores stock their shelves, farms buy equipment, and businesses make payroll." For six decades, I've been doing it all wrong. In my family and business, our ability to do all those things has been based on what we could afford, not how much we could borrow. Because we have been frugal, we are going to be punished with higher taxes so that what we have earned can be given to people who refused to save for what they want.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.