Sanchez Admits He's Wrong: White House Did Say Unemployment Wouldn't Exceed 8% If Stimulus Passed

September 7th, 2010 3:25 PM

CNN's Rick Sanchez took a very strong position about a White House promise on Monday only to have to backtrack and admit he was wrong 45 minutes later.

During Monday's "Rick's List," Sanchez challenged Republican National Committee communications director Doug Heye about his claim that the Obama administration said the unemployment rate wouldn't exceed eight percent if Congress enacted the President's stimulus bill.

"Doug, who made that promise?" asked a defiant Sanchez. "I never recall hearing the President of the United -- in fact, I recall the very first speech the President of the United States made after being sworn in and the very first thing he said to Americans was, expect unemployment to go into double digits."

The CNN host arrogantly continued, "I don't think you're right. Prove me wrong."

About 45 minutes later, Sanchez marvelously proved himself wrong (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):

RICK SANCHEZ, HOST: Doug -- Doug, let me bring you into that conversation. What's your take on what Lindsey Graham said yesterday that seems to be getting a lot of attention?


You look at what we were promised from the stimulus bill -- and now, apparently, we have another $50 billion stimulus package coming at us -- we were promised that unemployment would be under 8 percent. And it just isn't the case nationally. And, certainly, in a lot of states -- take Nevada, for instance.

SANCHEZ: Who -- who made -- who made -- Doug, Doug, who -- who -- Doug, who made -- Doug, who made that promise? I -- I never recall hearing the President of the United -- in fact, I recall the very first speech the President of the United States made after being sworn in and the very first thing he said to Americans was, expect unemployment to go into double digits.

Those were his exact words. So, now you're saying that the president promised Americans that unemployment would be below 8 percent? I just -- I'm not -- I don't think you're right. Prove me wrong.

About 45 minutes later, just after the President finished his Labor Day speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sanchez proved himself wrong:

SANCHEZ: Doug Heye is joining us once again, as is our own Jessica Yellin, who are going to be joining us on the other side of this.

As we watch the president, by the way, it's important to point out, and I mentioned a little while ago that he has his work cut out for him. I also mentioned before the president's speech that -- because Doug had mentioned, well, the White House had promised an unemployment rate of below eight percent.

I asked him, had the president ever said that? Because the president had said you can almost guarantee double digits, though I'm not sure we got that as a nation, although a lot of states have seen double digit unemployment. You know what, Doug? I got the chart that you were referring to. It wasn't the president. It wasn't the vice president. It was Christina Romer.

Come on over. Let's show this to our viewers before we go to break. Put it in a box there if you want so we can continue to see the president. We'll leave the president on one side, and I'll show you this chart. See it right there? See the bold line? That's the line that Christina Romer said -- and there is eight percent -- this is with the stimulus plan. She said we'd stay under eight percent. She said without stimulus we'd get up to nine percent. Obviously she was wrong.

So, Doug, you were right, man. We're going to come right back. This is "RICK'S LIST." We'll continue our conversations. Go ahead Doug. I'll let you finish it out. Don't brag now!

DOUG HEYE, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RNC: Barney Frank, Representative Barney Frank from Massachusetts said such a prediction, last month he said that was dumb. I tell you, it's not often a Republican like myself agree with Barney Frank, but Barney Frank was right.

SANCHEZ: That's exactly what he said. You're right. I read the quote while we were listening to the president, by the way.

For the record, the chart Sanchez shared with his viewers comes from a January 9, 2009, report entitled "The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan" created by Romer and Jared Bernstein who is Vice President Biden's chief economic adviser:

As is clearly visible, this report graphically claimed that if stimulus was enacted, the White House believed unemployment would not exceed eight percent.

As such, it is certainly noble that Sanchez discovered his own error and admitted it both to Heye and his viewers.

However, it's now twenty months since this projection was made, and it indeed has been an issue since the moment unemployment passed the eight percent mark.

That Sanchez is just now discovering the administration made this claim is quite disturbing albeit not at all surprising.