Obama Gets Social Security History Wrong

by John J. Pitney, Jr.

At his press conference, the president said, “in order to get stuff done, we’re going to compromise.  This is why FDR, when he started Social Security, it only affected widows and orphans.  You did not qualify.”  That’s not true.  Ida May Fuller, who in 1939 became the first beneficiary of recurring monthly Social Security payments, had worked as a legal secretary and was single.  As Noel Sheppard pointed out at NewsBusters, the president made the same false claim during his October interview with Jon Stewart.  In one of many such omissions, the text of that interview is not available on the White House website.


— John J. Pitney Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College.

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