In a rare instance of journalists holding the President’s feet to the fire, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has exposed a falsehood in one of President Obama’s recent speeches to Ohio audiences:
President Barack Obama was incorrect Wednesday when, speaking in Columbus, Ohio, he credited the White House-based economic stimulus bill with helping to save a local architecture firm’s jobs, The Plain Dealer has confirmed.
The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has nothing to do with the renovation of a Columbus police station. Obama, however, said that the stimulus helped pay for the renovation, providing work to architects at a small firm that otherwise would have had layoffs.
The money came from a federal grant that was unrelated to the stimulus, according to sources in Ohio and Washington, D.C.
Construction and renovation of police facilities is not a permissible use of stimulus funds unless the project falls under certain circumstances, such as construction of a jail on an Indian reservation, according to guidelines for stimulus grant applications.[…]
Asked about the president’s misstatement, White House spokesman Matt Lehrich told The Plain Dealer, “The President’s trip to Columbus was, in part, to highlight the role that small businesses, like Joe’s, will play in creating jobs in communities across the country. That’s a fact and it’s why he’s been urging Republicans to stop blocking a proposal to cut taxes for small businesses that are looking to grow and hire more workers.”