On Jay Carney’s final day as White House press secretary, two odd things happened. First, he was ushered to the podium to the strains of Guided by Voices’ “Motor Away.” Yes, that happened.
Then, to top it all off, Carney explained that he, like George Washington cutting down the cherry tree, had never told a lie. Asked whether he had ever lied to the media, Carney stated, “The answer is no.” That, of course, was a lie.
But on June 18, he explained, “Honestly, it is not because I’m a paragon of virtue, it is because that would be a terrible way to do the job.” A few weeks ago, he similarly stated, “When I go stand up at the podium in front of the White House press corps, I never lie. I never say something that I know is untrue. Credibility is enormously important to a press secretary.”
He’s right about lying. It is a terrible way to do the press secretary’s job. Which is why Carney was perhaps the worst press secretary in modern history. Here are just a few of Carney’s biggest lies:
Benghazi Emails Not About Benghazi. In April, an email from deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes dated September 14, 2012, emerged. It showed that Rhodes had explicitly listed as a “goal” that the White House not be blamed for a “broader failure or policy” – and that, to that end, then-UN ambassador Susan Rice should talk about how the “protests are rooted in an Internet video.”
Carney told the skeptical press that the email wasn’t actually about Benghazi. “The document was explicitly not about Benghazi,” he said with a straight face, “but about the general dynamic in the Muslim world at the time.”
The American Legion Thinks The White House Is Handling The Veterans Administration Beautifully. As Jeff Dunetz of TruthRevolt.org wrote:
In mid-May 2014, Carney announced that the American Legion had praised the Department of Veterans Affairs for the “resignation” of top VA health official Dr. Robert Petzel. Carney was only off by 100%. The actual American Legion statement was, “the move by VA is not a corrective action, but a continuation of business as usual. Dr. Petzel was already scheduled to retire this year, so his resignation now really won’t make that much of a difference.”
He Knows Lots of People Named Hilary Rosen. After Democratic advisor Rosen, who routinely visited the Obama White House, said on national television in 2012 that Ann Romney had “never actually worked a day in her life,” Carney stated that he knew a lot of people named Hilary Rosen. Which was funny, because Hilary Rosen knew at least a thousand Jay Carneys.
If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep Your Health Plan. Carney was one of many Obama officials who repeated this lie over and over again. As late as October, Carney stated, “The fact of the matter is, if you had insurance on the individual market prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and you have that plan today, you can keep it, you’re grandfathered in forever. No matter how crummy the plan is.” Politifact named it the 2013 Lie of the Year. Carney then half-denied that anyone had ever made the claim: “You know, end-of-the-year categorizations like that are always fun, even when they don’t jive with past characterizations of the very same statement, but we’re focused on implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”
Obama Will Warn Congress If He Engages in a Taliban Swap. Back on June 21, 2013, Carney stated, “there are some issues that we would like to discuss with the Taliban directly, and this includes the safe return of Sergeant Bergdahl, who has been gone for far too long….As we have long said, however, we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.” Well, that didn’t happen.
Obama Never Opposed Signing Statements. Jay Carney, 2011: “His concern was with what he saw as an abuse of the signing statement by the previous administration. So that the positions he took in signing statements on the budget bill entirely consistent with that position, you need to retain the right to, as president, to be able to issue those signing statements, but obviously they should not be abused.”
Barack Obama, 2008: “That’s not part of his power, but this is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he goes along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.”
This is just a slight sampling. Carney was in fact the proprietor of a carnival of lies. We’ll just be sad to see the carousel stop spinning.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.