I'm in better shape than the President!
July 20th, 2011
04:38 PM ET

I'm in better shape than the President!

Take a look at next month’s issue of Better Homes and Gardens, and flowers won’t be the only thing in season— First Lady Michelle Obama is in full bloom and so are her efforts to fight childhood obesity.

The article, featuring several colorful photos and recipe suggestions, illustrates Mrs. Obama’s picnic with the fifth grade class from Harriet Tubman Elementary School, who joined her on the White House lawn back in May.

She tells Better Homes and Gardens that a regular check up with her daughters’ pediatrician first opened her eyes to the fact that the first family wasn’t reacting to life in Washington in the healthiest way.

She noticed it in herself, too: “I realized that some clothes were getting tighter. I didn’t know what was going on.” She started spending more time at the gym, and now she says it’s paid off. “I always tease him I’m in better shape than he is,” joked the First Lady about her husband. “I can do long workouts. He’s the President,” she jokes.

The switch to healthier living for her family was the inspiration for her "Let’s Move" campaign. She says that promoting a healthy lifestyle is not only important, but there’s also a way to do it that is “tasty and fun.” The fun, she says, is the part that’s really missing from all of this, “When we were growing up, we weren’t ‘exercising.’ We were playing tag and jumping rope.”

Although, she admits she wasn’t a big vegetable fan as a little kid either, she says encouraging healthy eating is up to the parents. “Children’s habits can be changed so much easier than adults,” she told the magazine. “They don’t have control over their diet – we do.”

Her healthy living tips are making a big impact nationwide, and they’re working in the White House, too. The girls’ pediatrician was impressed by how well they were doing at the next visit, and Mrs. Obama says “that’s when [she] started thinking, ‘I’ve done some really minor things, not a wholesale change that my kids would even notice.’”

So she will continue urging parents to help their kids be healthy and to remember that this isn’t about being skinny. “It is not about how kids look,” she says, “it’s about how they feel and about how kids feel about themselves,” and it’s a family affair. “Kids emulate what they see. You don’t have to make a lecture if you’re living it.”

Topics: Michelle Obama • The Family

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Jay in NC

    But we were told she had 'killer arms." and fantastically fit. Now the truth is out, The First Date was not in that good of shape after all. Who would have thunk it. Like her husband, promised us one thing and delivered another. Lies, lies, and more lies.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Jay in MI

      Jay in NC... from a fellow Jay in MI... you're an idiot.

      July 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • seriously?

      OMG....that is just dumb. Take heart: You may get the chance to vote for Bachmann! Now she is the REAL DEAL!

      July 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Mike

      If she's in better shape than Barack, he must be wearing a girdle.

      July 20, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • jean2009

      Don't buy into Jay in NC....he is our resident racist. Both the President and First Lady are in great shape.

      July 20, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
      • Jay in NC

        Again jean, you call me a racist.You care to back that claim up or is this just proof that you ran out of arguments.

        July 20, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
      • jean2009

        @ Jay I think you are the one that backs up the moniker. I don't need to do anything but sit back and point out when you are.

        July 20, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
      • Sank


        July 20, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
      • Sank

        THE COUNTRY'S NOT: Obama held a press conference last Friday, July 15 which turned out to be a purely partisan effort to increase taxes and increase the American debt. His speech and the answers he gave to cherry picked questions from the press was fundamentally dishonest: in all I counted three dozen lies, deceptions and misleading statements.

        Deception 1. "make sure that the United States does not default on our obligations, and that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved."

        There is zero risk of a default to the creditors of US debt. The federal government takes in about $170 billion each month in revenues, but pays less than $29 billion each month in interest on the debt. The Bipartisan Policy Center has laid out a plan where the Treasury could pay: all debt interest, all Social Security obligations, all Medicare and Medicaid obligations, all Defense contractor bills, all Veterans payments, all active duty troops; and still have almost $7 billion left over every month for other items.

        Obama is using pure political scare tactics to deceive uneducated voters into supporting his position. There is no risk to "the full faith and credit of the United States" unless Treasury chooses to default. Not raising the debt limit will cause a limited government shutdown, not a default, as Obama insinuates.

        Deception 2. "I think we should not even be this close to a deadline on this issue; this should have been taken care of earlier."

        The Obama administration created the present crisis with the introduction of his 2012 budget on Feb. 14, 2011. Obama's budget had a $1.1 Trillion deficit and was defeated by a vote of 97 to 0 in the United States Senate. Obama's own failure to submit a budget which could gain even a single vote directly caused the entire crisis.

        Deception 3. "These are obligations that the United States has taken on in the past. Congress has run up the credit card, and we now have an obligation to pay our bills."

        There is plenty of government revenue to cover the obligations the US government has taken on in the past. The entire issue is the obligations the US government will take on in the future. Republicans in Congress want to reduce those obligations - they want to stop running up the credit card - and Obama is saying "No, continue to spend."

        Deception 4. "We could end up with a situation, for example, where interest rates rise for everybody all throughout the country, effectively a tax increase on everybody."

        Obama is painting a fundamentally dishonest scenario. His strategy to continue debt spending will saddle future generations of Americans with more and more debt which will eventually result in higher taxes in the future. He is advocating increased borrowing which in reality is "a tax increase on everybody."

        People globally invest in US debt because the United States of America is by far the strongest most vibrant and innovative economy on earth. The world economy is suffering and the result is demand for US debt, not a reluctance to lend. As long as Treasury chooses not to default on the US debt there will be little or no rise in interest rate. If anything, refusing to raise the limit debt would demonstrate to the world that we as a nation are finally serious about managing government spending and from a long term macroeconomic perspective the USA will be a much stronger nation.

        Deception 5. businesses that are trying to make payroll, all of them could end up being impacted as a consequence of a default."

        Obama is arguing that a default will cause increased interest rates, which will have "adverse consequences." Putting aside the fact that failing to increase the debt limit will not result in a default unless Obama chooses to default, even a default and the increased interest rates will have little if any effect on most "businesses that are trying to make payroll." Unlike the US government, the vast majority of businesses do not borrow money to pay their employees. Even if interest rates did rise, payroll payments for most businesses would stay the same.

        Lie 6. "We have a chance to stabilize America's finances for a decade, for 15 years, or 20 years, if we're willing to seize the moment."

        At present the national debt amounts to US$14.12 Trillion: 100% of the US GDP. Deficit spending in 2011 will exceed $1.48 Trillion; over ten years spending at that rate would amount to $14.8 Trillion, doubling the US debt.Â

        Obama's budget proposal would reduce deficit spending to $1.1 Trillion per year through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Fourteen years at this rate would still double our national debt with $15.4 Trillion of new deficit spending.

        Either scenario will put the USA in the same scenario Greece is in today. Obama is lying when he insinuates he has made an effort to stabilize America's financial future.

        Lie 7. "let's still try to at least get a down payment on deficit reduction."

        The notion of getting "a down payment on deficit reduction" is a lie. What is a "down payment"? It is an initial payment which by definition must be followed by more payments. If Obama wants to get a "down payment on deficit reduction" then he must plan for follow on payments. Normally, when you make a down payment, if you are unable to make the follow on payments you lose your down payment! Obama's attempt to change a single reduction into a "down payment" is a lie. Language only a lawyer could twist.

        Deception 8. (continued from Lie 7) "And that we can actually accomplish without huge changes in revenue or significant changes in entitlements,"

        Except that according to his own deficit commission (Bowles-Simpson) significant changes in both revenue and entitlements are required in order to reduce the deficit. Obama's insinuation that continued deficit reduction because a down payment implies future payments) can happen without "significant changes in entitlements" is another deception: his own experts are telling him otherwise.

        Deception 9. (continued from Deception 8) "but we could still send a signal that we are serious about this problem."

        The "down payment" Obama talks about in Lie 7 is a $2 Trillion reduction in deficit spending over ten years. He is proposal will still double the national debt in less than 15 years putting us where Greece is today. In no way could this single reduction demonstrate that the US government is serious about this problem.

        Deception 10. "And I think it's important for everybody to understand that all of us believe that we need to get to a point where eventually we can balance the budget.

        Nobody who has the audacity to submit a budget with $1.1 Trillion in deficit spending can be trusted when they say they "eventually" want to balance the budget.

        Deception 11. "We don't need a constitutional amendment to do that; what we need to do is to do our jobs."

        Obama submitted the 2012 budget on Feb. 14, 2011 with a $1.1 Trillion deficit, $3.73 Trillion in spending and revenues of $2.63 Trillion. George W Bush's 2008 budget had a $240 Billion deficit on $2.8 Trillion in spending. Spending increases account for 75% of the increase in Obama's 2012 deficit. Clearly Obama finds it impossible to do his job.

        Deception 12. "And we have to do it the same way a family would do it. A family, if they get over-extended and their credit card is too high, they don't just stop paying their bills. What they do is they say, how do we start cutting our monthly costs? We keep on making payments, but we start cutting out the things that aren't necessary."

        Actually, Mr. President, those drastic measures you just outlined are exactly what families do. They keep making payments, but they don't "start" cutting our monthly costs", they don't "start cutting out the things that are necessary", they immediately curtail spending so they won't have to continue borrowing money because they have used up their entire credit limit. What world do you live in?

        Deception 13. (continued from Deception 12) "And we do it in a way that maintains our credit rating. We do it in a way that's responsible"

        Another Obama deception. He is implying that Republicans want to damage the USA credit rating. As we demonstrated in Deception 1, there is no danger to the USA credit rating if Congress refuses to increase the debt limit: the Treasury will be forced to make tough choices to pay what he is able and a limited government shutdown will ensue.

        Deception 14. "I think that American consumers and American businesses would benefit from a continuation of that tax cut next year."

        Obama is advocating the increase of taxes for "the rich" and in the same speech advocating extending subsidies to the unemployed. What happened to a "balanced approach"? How does he plan to pay for these subsidies if not with deficit spending? This statement reveals Obama's hypocritical ethos. He knows that tax cuts for the rich create jobs for the middle class. He knows that extended welfare subsidies foster sloth. But Obama is not about doing what is best for America, Obama is all about taking from the rich and giving to the poor and using federal dollars to bribe his constituents to make sure he is elected again in 2012.

        Lie 15. "... we can, as I said before, fix this thing probably for a decade or more"

        Obama restates Lie 6. in a different light, implying that Congress will not have to increase the debt limit again "for a decade or more." People who didn't listen carefully will think 'Obama's plan will solve this debt limit problem for ten years!'. In reality the present proposed $2.4 Trillion debt limit increase will only last until 2013, conveniently after the 2012 election. Its all politics.

        Lie 16. "I think this notion that things got ugly is just not true."

        When the President of the United States verbally threatens a member of Congress saying "Eric, don't call my bluff. I'm going to the American people on this," and then schedule a press conference specifically "to take it to the American people", that is ugly, by definition.

        Deception 17. "Bowles-Simpson ... was originally bipartisan legislation that some of the Republican supporters of decided to vote against when I said I supported it"

        Notwithstanding what Obama may or may not have said, in reality Obama never supported the Bowles-Simpson budget, in whole or in part. Obama's 2012 Budget with a $1.1 Trillion deficit included none of the spending reductions from Bowles-Simpson commission. Here Obama is trying to deceive the American public into believing he supported Bowles-Simpson when his actions tell otherwise.

        Lie 18. "a lot of the components of Bowles-Simpson we are willing to embrace - for example, the domestic spending cuts that they recommend we've basically taken."

        Obama's 2012 Budget proposal with a $1.1 Trillion deficit is evidence of this lie.

        Lie 19. "... you have 80 percent of the American people who support a balanced approach. Eighty percent of the American people support an approach that includes revenues and includes cuts."

        From a July 7-10 Gallup poll.

        69% of the people support spending cuts together with new taxes:

        Only/Mostly with spending cuts: 20%
        Mostly with spending cuts: 30%
        Equal with spending cuts and taxes: 32%
        Mostly with tax increases: 7%
        Only with tax increases: 4%
        Undecided: 7%

        The more subtle part of this deception is what Obama fails to mention regarding the same Gallup poll. The American public by a margin of nearly 2:1 do not want to increase the debt limit. Perhaps this is because most Americans don't believe Congress will lower the deficit enough to make a difference.

        Deception 20. "It turns out that our problem is we cut taxes without paying for them over the last decade"

        Obama implies that the deficits we have now have been going on for the last ten years, insinuating it is an ongoing problem from the Bush administration. The reality is that deficit spending in Obama's first three years in office is more than double the entire deficit spending of the George W Bush administration. Deficits for the last ten years:

        2011 $1,500 Billion
        2010 $1,300 Billion
        2009 $1,400 Billion
        2008 $240 Billion
        2007 $161 Billion
        2006 $248 Billion
        2005 $319 Billion
        2004 $412 Billion
        2003 $374 Billion
        2002 $159 Billion

        US budget deficits ballooned when Obama took office. Increased spending accounts for 3/4 of the new deficit spending; reduced tax revenue accounts for 1/4. More fundamentally instead of restoring investor confidence Obama's deficit spending, a key component in Obama's failed economic policy, has resulted in a double dip recession and stagnant growth with no end in sight.

        Deception 21. "what's required is that we roll back those tax cuts ... clean up our tax code ... cut programs that we don't need, and we invest in those things that are going to help us grow. And every commission that's been out there has said the same thing and basically taken the same approach, within the margin of error."

        Bowles-Simpson, a commission which Obama organized outlined far more reaching cuts in entitlements (above and beyond cutting "programs that we don't need") which Obama ignores, again deceiving the American public.

        Lie 22. "And they don't require "job-killing tax cuts.""

        Study upon study have shown that in the short term tax cuts increase jobs for the middle class.

        Deception 23. "They require us to make some modest adjustments to get our house in order, and we should do it now."

        The bipartisan Bowles-Simpson commission organized by Obama suggested much more drastic measures are required to resolve the present government budget woes. Not "some modest". Obama ignores his own research and deceives America.

        Deception 24. "let's at least avert Armageddon."

        Another typical liberal Obama lie / scare tactic. As explained in Deception 1 there is zero risk of Armageddon or default in debt payments by the US government unless Obama chooses to default. There will be a government shutdown, but a default will only occur if Obama intentionally decides to default.

        Deception 25. "I'd like to solve that second problem."

        Maybe he would like to quit smoking as well but he won't. Obama was given the opportunity to solve the second problem when he submitted his budget to Congress. He ignored almost all of the recommendations from his own deficit commission. Even with increased tax revenues the deficit in his budget remained at $1.1 Trillion.

        Deception 26. "... a balanced approach that includes some revenue is the right thing to do. The majority of Republican voters say that approach is the right thing to do."

        Obama ignores the polling data he is citing. Only 11% of Republicans support a debt increase; 60% are against. Obama is deceiving the public when he implies that Republicans support his "balanced approach" to increase the debt limit. In fact Americans as a whole are against increasing the debt limit by nearly a 2 to 1 margin.

        There is support for a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, but twice before during the Regan and Bush Sr. administrations Democrats offered conservatives the same deal except that the spending cuts never came. Obama says he is willing to accept $3 Trillion in cuts for $1 Trillion in taxes, but is he willing to accept $8.25 Trillion in cuts for $2.75 Trillion in new taxes? This is where Congress should call Obama's bluff.

        Deception 27. "The question is going to be whether at any given moment we're willing to set politics aside, at least briefly, in order to get something done."

        Obama misleadingly implies that he is above the fray while the other side is playing politics. In reality both sides are playing politics. In fact his entire press conference is just another example of his playing politics by "going to the American people on this." Except that it is not 2008 any longer. People already realize that when it comes to playing politics Obama is just as guilty as the next politician.

        Deception 28. "I've got an infrastructure bank bill that would start putting construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges."

        This statement belies Obama's ability to compromise. Just how does he expect to pay for these infrastructure bills if not with more deficit spending? This statement summarizes the distrust conservatives have for everything Obama says and does.

        Deception 29. "I've got three trade deals ... being held up because some folks don't want to provide trade adjustment assistance to people ... displaced as a consequence of trade."

        Again, how does Obama plan to pay for this trade adjustment assistance if not with deficit spending? Another example of Obama's bad faith in the ongoing negotiations. In this press conference he admitted that as soon as the debt limit is increased he will find at least three new ways to increase spending. This is why Republicans are reluctant to increase tax revenue: because they know the more they feed the beast the more Obama will think of new ways to spend money.

        Lie 30. "I'm going to keep on trying"

        This implies that Obama started trying. Deception 2 established clearly that Obama has not been trying. If anything he has been trying to cause this crisis to win political points with his constituents.

        Deception 31. "American people are going to say ... if a party or a politician is constantly taking the position 'my way or the highway,' constantly being locked into ideologically rigid positions, that we're going to remember at the polls."

        Classic Obama obfuscation. Is he genuinely trying to tell the voting public to throw him out in 2012? Obama began saying my way or the highway on January 24, 2009 when he reminded the Republicans after four days in office: "I won." Last week he stormed out of a meeting with Rep. Eric Cantor in the middle of negotiations when he didn't get his way. His entire press conference was his attempt to go "to the American people on this."

        Deception 32. "... what the American people are paying attention to is who seems to be trying to get something done, and who seems to be just posturing and trying to score political points. And I think it's going to be in the interests of everybody who wants to continue to serve in this town to make sure that they are on the right side of that impression."

        Obama is again using deception by raising an issue to imply that he above "just posturing and trying to score political points." Except the entire press conference is nothing more than political posturing by Obama! He is doing exactly what he is criticizing others of doing! A case of projection. Obama has no plan and has not submitted any revised budget since February 14. To Obama it is not important whether he is on the right side as long as he is "on the right side of that impression."

        Deception 33. "I said the American people do not want to see a bunch of posturing; they don't want to hear a bunch of sound bites. What they want is for us to solve problems, and we all have to remember that. That's why we were sent here."

        This statement by itself is nothing more than a sound bite. Until July Obama did almost nothing personally to try and resolve the debt limit problem. Republicans have said over and over again: "He has no plan!" But he has a silver tongue and the skill to effortlessly shift blame on to others.

        Deception 34. "... we know how we can create a package that solves the deficits and debt for a significant period of time."

        In Lie 6 and Lie 15 Obama previously talked about stabilizing finances for "a decade, for 15 years, or 20 years." Now Obama mentions "a significant period of time." Nothing Obama has discussed with any Republican went offered a resolution which would raise the debt limit and lower spending beyond 2014. His definition of "a significant period of time" in context with language implying a solution lasting over a decade is patently dishonest.

        Lie 35. "... if you are a progressive, you should be concerned about debt and deficit ... because if the only thing we're talking about over the next year, two years, five years, is debt and deficits, then it's very hard to start talking about how do we make investments in community colleges ... how do we actually rebuild $2 trillion worth of crumbling infrastructure."

        This statement exemplifies the chasm between Obama and conservatives. The Tea Party does not want to increase the debt limit because they do not trust the government to control spending. Deception 14, Deception 28 and Deception 29 all mentioned new spending initiatives Obama has with plans ready to launch. And yet he has no revised budget plan? Everything he has said about cutting the deficit and controlling spending is a lie.

        Deception 36. "It would be very helpful for us to be able to say to the American people, our fiscal house is in order. And so now the question is what should we be doing to win the future and make ourselves more competitive and create more jobs, and what aspects of what government is doing are a waste and we should eliminate."

        Which is a great sound bite and a wonderful note to end the bully pulpit press conference on except that Obama just finished saying he has plans to spend over a trillion dollars to finance Deception 14, Deception 28 and Deception 29. Moreover Obama made plans for more deficit spending while the fiscal house was not in order. Obama has no plan specifically outlining how to put the fiscal house in order. Pure (misleading smoke and mirror) politics.

        These deceptions, lies and misleading statements define why Obama cannot be trusted to tell the truth. They also define why Congress must vote against raising the debt limit.

        July 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
      • jean2009

        @Sank you are emulating Jay in NC right?

        George W. Bush Debt: Noted 57 days after President Obama took office less than 2 months. TARP bailout passed during the Bush Administration.

        "The Federal Government's flood of red ink hit another high-water mark as the Treasury Department quietly reported today that the National Debt hit $11-trillion for the first time ever.

        To be exact, the Debt now stands at $11,033,157,578,669.78. Divide it by the U.S. population and it comes up to over $36,000 in debt for every man, woman and child among us.

        And the government is running up mountains of debt with increasing speed. It took just over 5 ? months for Uncle Sam to go another trillion dollars deeper in debt since hitting $10-trillion last September 30th. It's the fastest jump in U.S. history.

        The hundreds of billions of dollars being spent as part of the federal bailout of the financial markets is a leading factor in the rapid increase. Over $400-billion in debt has been accrued in the 57 days since President Obama took office.

        And the federal budget he unveiled last month projects even faster increases in the National Debt. It'll hit $12.7-trillion by the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. The Administration's four year estimate shows that by the end of September 2012, the Debt will have soared to $16.2-trillion – which amounts to nearly 100% of the projected Gross Domestic Product that year.

        The U.S. is running up so much debt so quickly, some investors are worried. Over the weekend, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who says his country has about a trillion dollars invested in U.S. Treasury notes, said he wanted a guarantee.

        President Obama said Wen's got nothing to worry about.

        "Not just the Chinese government, but every investor, can have absolute confidence in the soundness of investments in the United States," he said on Saturday.

        That's because the U.S. government's power to tax stands behind all of its debt. If Uncle Sam ever needs a bailout, then as now, taxpayers get nailed.

        It took the U.S. government 191 years – from 1791 until 1982 – to run up its first trillion dollars in debt. The second and third trillions got on the scoreboard much more quickly – each in just four years.

        By the time George W. Bush was inaugurated in 2001, the National Debt stood at $5.7-trillion. He ran up more debt faster than nearly all of his predecessors combined: just under $4.9-trillion"

        Just the interest on his about $5 Trillion in debt is $450 Billion a year. It is figured the interest on George W. Bush's debt will add $5.5 Trillion to the national debt over the next 5 years (at the current interest rate). If interest rates raise 1% you are looking at $7.5 Trillion. This interest makes up about 79% of the estimated new debt we will accrue between 2012 and 2021, and that is being optimistic.

        George W. Bush's debt has been described as a Tsunami of debt.

        July 21, 2011 at 12:02 am |
      • jean2009

        @Sank you are a moron. The first lady has not wore a thong, and if a pair of walking shorts qualifies as a thong you are fast reverting to a racist prude. I certainly don't see a problem with our having a sexy first lady with curves.

        July 21, 2011 at 12:18 am |
      • Jay in NC

        May not be a thong but it is getting close.


        July 21, 2011 at 7:34 am |
      • John

        Some racists don't even know they are racists – Jean, I am talking about you. You pull the race card at the drop of a hat, just like many dems do. The best one is all these Dems calling people racists because they do not want to vote for the debt ceiling. Seems strange when many of the same people wouldn't vote for it when Bush was in office. This race bait stuff will come back to haunt you.

        July 21, 2011 at 8:15 am |
      • Mizark

        Did you forget Obama is more white than black? He was raised by white gradparents. I don't think you can get any more white than that.

        July 28, 2011 at 9:23 am |
      • rainjam

        hey Sank...you have sank pretty low.

        August 23, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • jo an

      Of COURSE some people....cannot never find a good thing to say about the Obamas....you are in that group!! For shame.

      August 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  2. CindySanFrancisco

    Her and her husband both look great.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Mizark

      Have you seen the the Walmart people pictures of her? She has no buisness telling anyone what to eat.

      July 28, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  3. A Anderson

    Keep up the good work Mrs Obama and ignore the haters!!

    July 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  4. rhumba

    The president's physical in 2010 was quite good. If she's in better shape than he is, she's in pretty darned good shape.

    July 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    With a body like FLOUS, who wouldn't want to look like her, she's gorgeous.

    July 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  6. kefa34

    well I Must say mrs obama you look well and lovely
    american is bless to have you may G-D Bless You And
    your family.

    July 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  7. jean2009

    I would suggest reading the Judiciary Report about "How George Bush Destroyed the U. S. Economy and the congress that let him do it. Sept. 27, 2007. Just the interest on the debt he created is mind boggling.

    And From: The Worst US President Ever? by Huck Gutman

    "GEORGE W. Bush is quite likely the worst president in the 200-year history of the United States. This has enormous implications for the international community, since his country is not a small republic like the Maldives or Andorra, but a global behemoth.

    His power as the most powerful man on earth derives not from a particular intelligence or set of talents, but by virtue of his position as the leader of the dominant military and economic nation on our planet.

    Many of us in the United States do not like the way in which George W. Bush runs the American nation and attempts to run the world. Our numbers are growing: in each of the nine national polls taken in this month less than half the respondents are of the opinion that he is handling the presidency well. More significant still, since he retains a reputation for personal charm which buttresses his standing in the polls, the latest poll reported that only one-third of Americans think the American nation, under Bush, is headed in the right direction. Two polls earlier in the month found that well under 40 per cent of Americans approve of the direction in which he is leading the country.

    Americans are very fond of lists, so let me do the American ‘thing.’ Here is a list of the top 10 reasons why President George W. Bush can be considered the most disastrous president in American history. This is actually a double list: the first five items concern foreign policy, while the second five address domestic policy.

    Mr Bush began a war on false pretenses. He lied to his people when he committed them to the war on Iraq, and on the basis of those lies he has undermined world security and committed his nation to the destruction of much of Iraq. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died — and over 1,700 Americans — for no reason greater than that being a war-time president would improve his political stature. (Well, it is possible that his personal oil interests, and those of his friends, factored in. Maybe also an idiosyncratic personal grudge — on the order of, ‘I’m going to show up my father and get that damn Saddam Hussein and show I’m tougher than both Saddam and my Dad’ — that raises his Oedipal complex to international dimensions.)

    That he lied about Iraq’s ‘threat’ to the United States is no unsubstantiated allegation. The recently revealed “Downing Street Memo” is the report of Britain’s’ intelligence chief made to Prime Minister Blair about his trip to the United States eight months before the war in Iraq began, long before it was publicly considered.

    The memo makes clear that deception and the fitting of facts to serve a military agenda was a high priority for the Bush administration. (‘C’ in the following is Sir Richard Dearlove, head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service — MI 6 — who had just returned from meetings in Washington.) “C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

    Let us be blunt. Basing a war on ‘fixed’ evidence is a high crime, a betrayal of the trust of the nation’s citizens. In the United States, it is grounds for impeaching the president and removing him from office. But since Mr Bush’s own Republican Party controls both houses of Congress, such impeachment is, though warranted, unlikely.

    Mr Bush has undermined global security by legitimizing a doctrine of ‘preemptive war. “ What nation cannot use Mr Bush’s rationale — “to counter a sufficient threat to our national security...to forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively — in its own interest to attack a neighboring state”? The threshold which prevents nations from legitimately making war on other nations has been dramatically lowered by the Bush administration.

    Even worse, as I have argued previously on this page, the American president’s “National Security Strategy” justifying preemptive war provided economic reasons as examples of a casus belli: a disrespect for private property, policies which do not “support business activity,” and a refusal to commit to “tax policies — particularly lower marginal tax rates — that improve incentives for work and investment.” If one parses that last statement, it says that if another nation that taxes the wealthy to provide services for the poor, the United States may consider it has a sufficient cause for preemptive war.

    Mr Bush has waged a destructive war in and against Iraq. There is no question that Saddam Hussein was a dictator and that his regime was repressive. But by ignoring the international community and the United Nations, by starting a war to show he was tougher than his father, Mr Bush has visited destruction and death on the people and the economy of an independent nation.

    Reliable reports put the civilian death count in Iraq at somewhere between 22,500 (actually reported and verifiable) to 98,000 (the number provided by the British medical journal Lancet nine months ago based on its sophisticated statistical sampling). Electric service is unreliable in 78 per cent of households in Iraq, a figure which increases to 92 per cent in Baghdad. Potable water is often non-existent. Male unemployment is over 30 per cent. Meanwhile, American companies are growing immensely profitable by supposedly providing services — repairing infrastructure, pumping oil — that benefit them far more than the citizens of Iraq.

    Mr Bush embarked on a war with no plan to win the peace. He created a dramatic made-for-television scenario on the deck of an aircraft carrier on May 1, 2003, when, dressed in a pilot’s jacket, arms outspread, he declared victory in Iraq. He insisted, “major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” Since that date, 1,365 Americans have died in combat, almost 10 times the number who died before Bush declared “victory,” and between 15,000 and 35,000 have been wounded.

    (It is telling, and chilling, that there seem to be no cumulative figures on the number of Iraqi civilians who have been wounded during the American occupation. Aren’t the deaths of fathers and aunts and children and co-workers worth tallying? We know that the US administration seeks to control the news: but how can the scope of this tragedy go unreported?)

    Mr Bush seems to have no sense of history: it is as if the French occupation of Algeria, the American occupation of Vietnam, the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, taught him and Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld nothing at all. Perhaps they have been too busy looking at political poll numbers, and figuring out how to get new contracts for American corporations, to read any books about what happens when major powers decide to wage a war in and against developing nations.

    Mr Bush is committed to unilateralism. There will be no American ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to curb climate change. Mr Bush rejected the anti-ballistic missile treaty with Russia, the International Criminal Court, bilateral negotiations with North Korea. He invaded Iraq with only the support of what he called the ‘coalition of the willing ,’ a code name for Great Britain and a number of American client states.

    Tellingly for the future of humankind, he has unilaterally rejected the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war and civilians. The United States has held over 500 people of 35 different nationalities at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, “many” according to Amnesty International, “without access to any court, legal counsel or family visits.”

    The American military subjected inmates at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison to humiliation amounting to torture. Amnesty International reports that the “total number of detainees held outside the USA by the US during the ‘war on terror’” is 70,000 — and it is unknown for how many of them their Geneva Conventions rights are secured.

    To summarize: Instead of making the world a safer place, Mr. Bush has made war, wrought destruction, and undermined multilateral efforts to build and sustain a more livable world.

    Mr. Bush has not been kinder to American people, nor secured their well-being as their elected leader is supposed to do. He has redistributed wealth from the middle class upward — to the very wealthiest families in America. Two tax cuts which give the biggest benefits to the top one per cent — those who earn more than $337,000 annually — have raised the tax burden on the middle class.

    This past year, for instance, President and Mrs Bush earned $784,219 and Vice-President and Mrs Cheney earned $2,173,892. (Yes, they are both clearly in the top one per cent of income earners). The Bush-enacted tax cuts slashed their tax bills, 12 per cent for Mr Bush, 18 per cent for Mr Cheney so that they paid $110,182 less than they would have paid had the legislation not been enacted.

    Meanwhile, in the longer run the only way to pay for these tax cuts — which turned a federal surplus into an enormous deficit that the Bush administration projects at $521 billion in this year alone — will be to reduce government spending on the programs which underwrite the quality of life for poor and middle class Americans: food and income support for the poor, education and health care and pensions for the middle class. Thus, the massive tax cuts to the wealthy will be paid for by hacking away at, bankrupting and terminating programs that support the working people of America.

    In his administration, more than any other during the past three quarters of a century, the rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer, and the middle class has shrunk. America is currently an oligopoly run not only by, but for, the wealthy class.

    Mr Bush has embraced deficits which will undermine the long term health of the American economy. The numbers are staggering. The budget deficit is $512 billion. The current accounts deficit for the first quarter of 2005 was $195.1 billion, which projects to a deficit for 2005 of $780.1 billion. That means that this year alone the United States has financed its lowered taxes, its costly war in Iraq, its hunger for cheap goods, by a total of $1.29 trillion.

    Numbers can by themselves be numbing, so let us try a comparison. Pakistan’s government budget expends $16.5 billion, India’s 2004 $104 billion, China’s $348.9 billion, all including capital expenditures. The three governments spend barely over a third of what the United States borrows through deficit spending and balance of payments debits.

    Although Mr Bush would prefer to hide the fact, this money in one way or another will have to be repaid. Those repayments will hold the United States hostage, exactly as developing nations today are often held hostage by the IMF and the World Bank. Even a vibrant American economy would be strained by the enormous obligation of paying interest on and paying down the national debt, and repatriating the dollars ‘borrowed’ by the balance of payments deficit.

    But the American economy is not as vibrant as is claimed: more and more of America’s productive capacity, both in manufacturing and in the intellectual work done by white collar workers, is being supplanted by the productive capacity of other nations, China and India chief among them. Consumer spending has been fueled almost entirely by low interest rates which have created a housing boom — now at the stage of being a speculative bubble which may soon crash, bringing the economy to a halt.

    Thus, the American standard of living, already in modest decline, will likely plummet fairly rapidly in coming decades. And American economic preeminence is likely to be challenged — though this may well be a fine thing for other nations — by China and the other nations of East Asia, the EEC, India and South Asia, and perhaps the nations of Southeast Asia.

    Mr Bush has initiated an attack on civil liberties almost unparalleled in the history of the United States. With the passage of the Bush-initiated “Patriot Act,” the federal government was given enormous powers to invade privacy and intrude on basic freedoms which had been guaranteed to Americans for over two centuries. The legislation gave federal authorities the power to obtain medical records, tax records, book buying and library borrowing records — all without requiring a probable cause or a court adjudication that national security is imperiled. Federal police are now authorized to break into a person’s home and do a search without ever informing the person the search has been conducted. Not only have civil liberties been curtailed, the chilling effect on freedom of speech and association means that more and more Americans are afraid to exercise their most basic liberties.

    Mr Bush has politicized the American nation beyond permissible bounds. He has politicized the judicial system by forcing the judicial appointment of ideological conservatives who pass a ‘litmus test’ on such issues as abortion (opposed), class action suits which allow collections of individuals to sue corporations which have injured them (opposed), and the rights of labor (opposed). The sole credential for important government positions, too, is ideological purity. Recently, Mr Bush and his cohorts tried to slash the funding for public broadcasting because he thinks it too ‘liberal.’

    He refuses to work with the opposition party, the Democrats. Just as he adheres to unilateralism in foreign policy, in domestic affairs it must always be his way, with no negotiation, no meeting half-way, not even consultation. He seems — and this if far more frightening in fact than the mere statement of it suggests — determined to turn America into a de facto one-party state.

    And then, there is the corruption in which political cohorts get huge government subsidies and gifts. His defense department gives huge contracts to ‘friendly’ corporations without even the semblance of open bidding or fair awarding of contracts. Halliburton, for instance, was awarded a $7 billion contract, non-competitively, to repair Iraq’s oil infrastructure. (The former CEO of Halliburton is none other than the sitting vice-president, Mr Cheney.)

    Mr Bush has played the religion card — what South Asians call communalism — often, and with a vengeance. Elected in large part with the support and money of fundamentalist Christians, Mr Bush has turned American politics into a religious battleground. His communalist ‘game’ seldom addresses religion per se, instead using coded words and battles about social phenomena to communicate to fundamentalists that he is committed to turning America in a profoundly religious direction.

    Thus, in recent years, Mr Bush has opposed abortion (while 63 per cent of Americans said, this month, that they do not want to see the federal court legalizing abortion overturned). He has opposed stem cell research (58 per cent of Americans approve such research). He has campaigned against a homosexual’s right to marry (55 per cent of Americans do not want to see homosexual marriage. But an even larger 58 per cent opposed the Constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriage that Mr Bush called for.) Increasingly, Muslims, Jews, atheists, and non-religious people in general feel social pressure from the Bush administration to be like other people — meaning, to act like Christians or shut up.

    There is much that can be said about America not living up to its ideals, but in the separation of church and state — enshrined in the nation’s Constitution — it has been a model of religious tolerance and freedom for most other nations. No longer. No other American president has injected religion and religious doctrine as deeply into the discourse of American politics as Mr Bush. Expediency has won out over tolerance; accordingly, the religious divide between Americans seems more profound than at any moment in its history.

    Whether it is world peace, religious tolerance, the American economy or social and economic justice, Mr Bush has hollowed out much that he should have been strengthening. Nor has he learned from his experience: in not one of the 10 areas highlighted has he changed his course or his thinking. In fact, his mind seems permanently made up, untouched by experience, and untouchable. He sails serenely forward, towards disaster, trying to drag America and the world along on his misguided journeys. The only good news is that, more and more, the American people are not sure they want to be his fellow sailors."

    July 20, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      You know Jean you need to update your reading material, don't you think the world has changed from 2007? Also you are turning into the cut-and-paste queen. I guess you have just ran out of original ideas.

      July 21, 2011 at 7:24 am |
      • Richard in NC

        Are you proud to be an IDIOT?

        July 21, 2011 at 8:46 am |
      • Jay in NJ

        What you wrote about Jean applies to you totally, not her.

        July 21, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • John

      In 2006 there were 1.2 million foreclosure filings in the US – given the Dems still blame Bush for what is happening now, wouldn't this problem in 2006 be Clintons doing?

      July 21, 2011 at 8:41 am |
      • jean2009

        Bush became President in 2001...so NO.....2006 was in his second term, and home foreclosures jumped 79% from the previous year level in 2007, and in 2008 2.6 million jobs were lost.

        The Clinton era created: 22.7 million jobs in 8 years
        The Bush era created: 1.1million jobs in 8 years. The smallest jobs growth rate for any president completing at least one term. That absolutely proves that tax cuts do not create jobs.

        The following is from the PCTC Blog for April 2011.

        "Once again, George Bush’s record on jobs was an overall negative, when you look at his record honestly. The effects of the Bush recession didn’t magically end on January 20, 2009. As you can see if you look at the actual numbers, job numbers bottomed out in late 2009, just as the stimulus was taking effect, and they have been showing a positive trend since. When you add in the jobs that were proven to have been created by the stimulus package, there is no doubt that Obama’s job creation numbers are better in the last two years than Bush’s were in eight years. Every job created under Bush disappeared, while the jobs created during the Obama era seem to be here to stay. He’s created new jobs and new industries that promise enormous growth in the future, so that record will get even better. "

        I have seen you and Jay in NC copy paste a lot of things.

        July 21, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  8. OldieTampaBay

    What a breath of fresh air to have a First Lady that wants to get involved! BRAVO Michelle!

    July 21, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • John

      So involved that there are discussions that extreamly overweight children should be take from their parents. Should we take children away from their parents if they got all F's in school two years in a row? Just wondering.

      July 21, 2011 at 8:44 am |
      • Richard in NC

        Sure John sit back and criticize any and every solution proposed while not offering any worthwhile suggestion of your own that could possibly address the obvious problems we have with obesity and health. I'm not saying that any suggestion to take kids from parents (if there is such) is reasonable, but DAMN, stop being an idiot.

        July 21, 2011 at 8:57 am |
      • Flo

        Fs aren't going to kill them.. Smoking and being overweight can.

        July 21, 2011 at 9:58 am |
      • jean2009


        "In February 2007, a New York family court ordered that a thirteen-year-old morbidly obese girl be removed from her parents’ custody. In 2003, at the age of ten, she was removed from her parents’ home due to concerns about her health. A comprehensive assessment by a nutritionist and physician indicated that the girl’s weight problem was due to excessive food intake and a lack of exercise, resulting from a poor example set by her parents and a complete lack of control." -from the Vital website on childhood obesity.

        Who was president in 2003 and in 2007?

        Other States: California, Texas, New Mexico, Indiana and Pennsylvania have had similar cases starting from 1998.

        If children have choices for a better and more nutritious diet which is affordable and accessible from a local supermarket, it is possible obesity would not be as great a problem as it is currently.

        You act as if WalMart (or other supermarkets) would not profit from the new locations, or it would be money out of your own pocket, which is not the case.

        Just the expansion into "food deserts" would create about 200-250 new jobs for each store...that creates tax payers. It creates tax revenue, it creates jobs to build, equip, and stock these locations. It requires shipping jobs to get the goods to the store....It would help with jobs and help cut intercity crime.

        Reducing obesity related illnesses would make your insurance premium go down...since many obese people are unable to work, and require a greater amount of medical care....this is a win -win for everyone.

        But, because President and Mrs. Obama are behind our making this improvement happen....you are stubbornly against it.

        How big of you!

        So, what is new? Or...there you go again.

        July 21, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      You do know the definition of bravo, right?

      noun 1. bravo – a murderer (especially one who kills a prominent political figure) who kills by a surprise attack and often is hired to do the deed.


      July 21, 2011 at 9:29 am |
      • jean2009

        Are you suggesting what it appears you are?

        July 21, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
      • Jay in NC

        Jean, please read before posting. OldieTampaBay said bravo, I was only giving the definition. You Liberals are always tell lies.

        July 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  9. NJ Pilot

    Mrs. O is a smart and lovely woman with a great family and a great message. Anyone who can find fault with her efforts to improve the health of our children has a mental problem and should seek help.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:00 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Jay NC: Jean 2009 does not need to update her reading material because the TRUTH NEVER CHANGES, and she will stop cutting and pasting when Sank steps away and stop sniffing the GLUE.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • jean2009

      Thank you!

      July 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  11. Flo

    I live in Italy but am visiting my home town in the USA. I am amazed at what I'm seeing..I am all for freedom...but when your freedom is killing someone else, I can't agree.. The same thing is going on at a world wide level. You go to an elementary school and see young children whose butts are the size of a lazy boy. "It's genetics" the parents will say.. Grandparents, parents, kids and the dog are all overweight.. This is a matter of bad eating habit not genetics. I myself lost 50 pounds. I have never been thin but when my child was born I decided I wanted to be around for him. I was free to decide and everyone should be free to decide for themselves.. When you have kids,though, you have RESPONSIBILITIES. Everyone seems to forget that. .

    July 21, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  12. lolo

    Quit trying to beat a dead horse with these rethuglicans. They main objective is to make sure that President Obama does not get a second term no matter the cost. They keep thinking that the republican women are pretty. That may be true to some extentt, but they sure are stupid. Looks fade, smarts are forever. Look at Sarah and Michelle B. now. If it was not for botox they would be looking like Barbara Bush at an early age. Michelle Bachmann has tree stumps for legs and Sarah P. has so many flaws it would take all day to blog about it.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  13. jindal

    I noticed Sank didn't want anyone to respond to his garbage he gets from Fox News that's going under just like the whole republican party. LOL. He must be using the same med as Bachmann. The kind that makes your eyes look dazed when you ask her a real question like "are republicans flanks." She did respond better than Jane Brewer that day. She must have cut the medication in half. Republican complain all the time about the President then run behind the scenes and BEG for help for their states. All who have opposed has needed him have asked for some kind of assistance. They are so phony. It's no different than the private sector jobs. That's why they love them soo much. Republicans are a big joke. And i think they are feeling a little inferior and I live it. Keep up the good work MR. PRESIDENT.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • jean2009

      Kasich has taken so much stimulus money about $1 Billion ....that Ohio looks like the orange barrel and green sign are the state flower. Kasich is in love with what Republicans rant and call Obama Care. He actually takes credit for some of the Medicaid changes enacted during the Obama/Strickland era.

      I've always said they are jealous that President Obama finally passed the Nixon/Kennedy Health Insurance Reform Act.
      The same act Romney passed in Massachusetts without the costs controls. They don't want to repeal the mandate all they want to repeal are the parts that will keep insurers from denying coverage, and raising rates.

      They are just a bunch of whining hypocrites who want to break the back of unions, keep working people wages at a minimum, and beef about the President.

      July 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  14. SaintM

    I thought the article was about Michele Obama and her efforts to control childhood obesity–what's with the right wing economic crises banter here? Go to the econonic crisis articles and post your stuff.

    Michele Obama is beautiful naturally! Sarah and Michelle require a good amount of paint and body work before they are fit to be out in public. Mrs. Obama'a beauty comes from within also: she is madly in love with Obama, and he with her. She has that security about her. Never will you see a sex scandal with these two. Their children are smart and beautiful young ladies also.

    Mrs. Obama's cause is a good one and she should be congratulated on her efforts. Shame on the rotten human beings as parents who allow their children to become so unhealthy. CPS should look closely into the homes of overweight children, as the very number one reason children turn to food to pacify themselves is because they are being abused in some way.

    July 21, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  15. charles

    America is such a racist, all criticism of the first family is primarily because they are black. The negativE comments are unwarranted, the first lady is doing a great job with regards to healthy living in an obsese society. Support her efforts. They did not want the Obamas in the white house, the name was given for a purpose by the racist whites. It was not meant for black people.

    July 21, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  16. Danisehopes

    First Lady Obama is a vision of loveliness, good health decisions and a great relationship with her husband, all of these are essential or a good life and marriage. For those of you whining and complaining about what the First Lady look like, please get a lift...she is not in the White House as an "official" anything...just like Laura, Hillary and Barbara, their husbands were elected, they weren't...none of the Ladies that have graced the WH were raving beauties, not even Jackie O, who those who want to keep the "the bright flame of he white beauty in the WH burning bright" like to constantly refer to. All she ladies were beautiful in their own way, because they lived a life in the public eyes and were criticized by a public who elected their HUSBANDS, not them....public, be glad that all of these great women, especially First Lady Michelle, were and is, ladies, because if it was me, and I was constantly criticized for my looks, my efforts o help an ungrateful citizenry, and other people's children, I would tell all of you ignorant misfits, to kiss my I-wasn't -to-office arse....

    July 23, 2011 at 5:54 am |
  17. Danisehopes

    I meant to write I-wasn't-elected-to-office arse...it is hard typing on an IPad....

    July 23, 2011 at 5:57 am |
  18. cbr

    How Sank got his long letter printied is beyond belief. This is an article about Mrs. Obama's article in BH&G. CNN does not always follow "your comments await moderation" for everybody. If it is controversial it is printed.

    Mrs. Obama was in good shape when she entered the White House. She refers to the first months of live as the first family and what they were not doing. Good for her for realizing the problem and working to fix it. Give credit where it is due and can we just be positive for a change. The negative and nasty comments need to stop.

    August 1, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Tricia

      @cbr: I am with you. I kept strolling down and the post kept going on and on, did not read a word...Shank has a case of mental constipation...Even julie2009's post was enormous. Nothing to do with fight of obesity. I am worried. The country is so full of hatred, so divided, sometimes I feel it like a heat wave, when I walk in a crowded street. I just think that the Obamas are the most genuine people that could have stepped in the WH, but they are no wizards, they cannot...the climate is impossible.
      CNN needs to assign 1. moderators to blogs 2. proofreaders overall...Yesterday, in an article on the downgrade, they put Alaska as part of Canada. Yes, CNN, please get your stuff in order, this is ridiculous.

      August 8, 2011 at 7:35 am |
  19. observation

    She tells Better Homes and Gardens that a regular check up with her daughters’ pediatrician first opened her eyes to the fact that the first family wasn’t reacting to life in Washington in the healthiest way.

    September 9, 2011 at 8:04 am |