Bashir Calls Tea Party Leader a Liar for Saying More People on Food Stamps Under Obama Than Bush

UPDATE AT END OF POST: Bashir responds via Twitter.

During a heated exchange with Tea Party Express founder Judson Phillips, MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Monday actually called his guest a liar for correctly saying there are more people on food stamps now than when George W. Bush was president.

This makes two MSNBC anchors in just three days that have made the same completely false claim on the air (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):

As the segment began Bashir asked his guest why Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is doing so well.

"He has appealed to the conservative base of the Party," replied Phillips. "Everything he has thrown out, it's been absolute red meat to the base."

"I'm sorry," interrupted Bashir. "Just on that specific point, Judson, you say he's thrown out red meat to the base. Do you include in that those barely concealed, racially-charged, divisive comments about the President being a Food Stamps President?"

"There's nothing racial about that," answered Phillips. "He is a Food Stamp president. He's brought in more people on food stamps than any other American president in history."

"That's actually untrue," barked Bashir. "George W. Bush had more people on food stamps, not this president. That's a lie."

No, it's not.

As the Huffington Post reported November 3 :

USDA data released this week shows that the number of Americans receiving food aid from the Supplemental Nutrional Assistance Program (SNAP) hit another all-time high in August. 45.8 million people -- almost 15% of the country -- were enrolled in the program, which replaced Food Stamps in 2008. This is only a slight increase from July, when 45.3 million Americans were receiving SNAP help -- but a massive 31% jump since June 2009, when the National Bureau of Economic Research declared the most recent recession over.

Notice the phrase "all-time high?" Here's the chart the Post included in its piece:

Look like more people were on food stamps - now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - under Bush than Obama?

More recent data from the USDA show 46.2 million on SNAP as of October 2011. This compares to 32 million in January 2009, a 44 percent increase since Obama was inaugurated.

The website offers an even longer view of this issue:

As such, Bashir was as wet as his colleague Al Sharpton who also claimed there were more people on food stamps under Bush than Obama on Saturday.

I guess this is why their colleague Chris Matthews recently called their network "M-BS-NBC."

(H/T James Crugnale)

*****Update: Bashir responded via Twitter.

As USA Today reported Wednesday:

Newt Gingrich claims that "more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history." He's wrong. More were added under Bush than under Obama, according to the most recent figures.

That's correct. Although we only have numbers through last October, food stamp recipients have grown by 14.2 million under Obama. During Bush's eight years, the increase was 14.7 million.

However, Bashir on Monday didn't talk about recipients added (with emphasis). "George W. Bush had more people on food stamps, not this president. That's a lie."

Thanks for the fact-check, Martin.

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2012 Presidential Martin Bashir MSNBC Video Martin Bashir Newt Gingrich Judson Phillips
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