Wrong, Rachel: Maddow Claims Clinton Inherited 'Economic Downturn' From H.W.

Maybe Rachel Maddow watched one too many clips of Bill Clinton during the '92 campaign claiming George H.W. had "driven the economy into a ditch" and that things were as bad as they'd been since the Depression.  In the course of trying to lower expectations for Obama to the max on her show tonight, and tracing the history of the economies previous presidents inherited, Maddow claimed that "Clinton took the oath during an economic downturn."

Uh, no.  He took office in the midst of an economy that was growing at a fast pace. Don't take my word for it.  "Fast pace" was the way economic growth was characterized at the time by the . . . New York Times.

View video here.

Maddow was riffing off today's Oval Office coffee klatsch among all the living presidents.  Her point was that however bad the economies that Barack Obama's predecessors might have found on their plate when they moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it pales in comparison to the mess in the incoming president's inbox.

No argument there.  But in the course of her walk down Economy Lane, Maddow attempted some historical revisionism at the expense of H.W.  Let's call her on it.  Here's what she said when it came to Bill Clinton.

RACHEL MADDOW: Clinton took the oath during an economic downturn, but that was a romper room compared to today's down-crash.

Wrong. So what's the truth about the economy Bill Clinton inherited?  Here's the headline and opening paragraph of the New York Times story of January 29, 1993, reporting on the state of the economy in the last quarter of 1992.  That would be the last quarter of H.W.'s presidency and the one immediately preceding Bill Clinton's entry into office.


January 29, 1993

The economy grew at a faster-than-expected annual rate of 3.8 percent in the final quarter of 1992, the strongest performance in four years, the Commerce Department reported today.

We'll look for Rachel's retraction tomorrow.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.