DAILY MAIL - HARRIET ALEXANDER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM - FEB 8, 2023
Has made the biggest deficit reduction in history and is behind the drop in inflation in State of Union Republicans slam as full of 'lies'
Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union address on Tuesday
The president gave an upbeat assessment of the country's progress since 2021, but his speech was heckled by Republicans on a chaotic night
However, it became an unusually chaotic night as many Republicans loudly voiced their anger at some of Biden's claims, particularly over his administration's handling of the fentanyl crisis, with cries of 'liar!', 'it's all your fault' and 'secure the border'.
Biden attempted to hit back and continued to call for bipartisanship, but the message that is set to underpin his likely reelection announcement was repeatedly attacked.
Former President Donald Trump said: 'The good news is we are going to reverse every single crisis, calamity and disaster that Joe Biden has created.
'I am running for President to end the destruction of our country and to complete the unfinished business of Making America Great Again.'
Eric Schmitt, senator for Missouri, said: 'I think it was a state of delusion, not a State of the Union speech.'
Here's a look at some of Biden's questionable claims.
Claims credit for 12M new jobs (but ignores COVID rebound)
President Biden said: 'As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years.'
Biden has indeed created 12 million new jobs - but jobs created are not normally measured in two years.
The tally is per presidency: Bill Clinton created 18.6 million over his two terms, and Ronald Reagan had 16.5 million.
And over a four-year period, from 1996 to 2000 - Clinton's first and second terms - more than 12.4 million jobs were added, Fox News researchers found.
Biden has created slightly more than 500,000 jobs per month on average, or more than twice the rate of his closest competitor, Clinton.
But he benefited from the post-pandemic bounce, and he still has time to go down.
The longer presidents serve in office, the likelier it is they will encounter an economic downturn. And the job losses during economic downturns are what hamper the job-creation averages for presidents.
Brags about cutting deficit by $1.7trillion (but doesn't mention no multi-trillion dollar stimulus bill in 2022)
Biden said: ' In the last two years, my administration cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion – the largest deficit reduction in American history.'
The President gets his $1.7 trillion figure by comparing the deficit in fiscal year 2020 ($3.132 trillion) with the deficit in fiscal year 2022 ($1.375 trillion).
The drop in the deficit is significant. But that too is missing context.
Congress did not pass another multi-trillion dollar stimulus bill in 2022, as it did in the previous two years under both Biden and Trump.
Suggests GOP wants to tear down Medicare and Social Security (when McConnell and McCarthy have already shot down idea)
Biden said: 'Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years. That means if Congress doesn't vote to keep them, those programs will go away.'
Biden is referencing a proposal made last year by Rick Scott, a Florida senator and chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Scott suggested 'sunsetting' - reassessing - all federal programs every five years.
'If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again,' he wrote on page 38 of his 60-page '11-point plan to rescue America,' which offered 128 proposals.
The Republican leaders of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, and House, Kevin McCarthy, have both said they have no intention of getting rid of Medicare and Social Security.
Scott himself denied that was his intention. But that has not stopped it becoming a Democrat talking point.
Targets top firms over taxes (but uses questionable data)
Biden said: 'The idea that in 2020, 55 of the biggest companies in America made $40 billion in profits and paid zero in federal income taxes? That's simply not fair.'
Biden frequently uses this statistic. It's not necessarily wrong, but is not entirely accurate either.
The number is not based on actual tax returns but instead is an estimate of taxes paid, based on corporate reports.
Massages latest COVID death figures
Biden said: 'While the virus is not gone, thanks to the resilience of the American people, we have broken COVID's grip on us. COVID deaths are down nearly 90 per cent.'
Biden is correct that, as of this week, the seven-day average of COVID deaths is indeed down nearly 90 percent.
In the week of January 20, 2021, there were 3,065 reported deaths.
Last week, there were 472 - a decline of 84 percent.
Yet that is not the whole picture: numbers so far this year are much higher than a low of 168 reached in late October.
Claims inflation victory (despite decrease mainly being down to global factors and not policies)
Biden said: 'Inflation has been a global problem because of the pandemic that disrupted supply chains and Putin's war that disrupted energy and food supplies.
'But we're better positioned than any country on Earth. We have more to do, but here at home, inflation is coming down.'
Biden is right that disrupted supply chains and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has sent inflation soaring worldwide.
But critics argue he is overstating his role in unsnarling supply chains: businesses did a lot of it themselves.
And the OECD puts the United States mid table in its current assessment of G7 inflation: Germany, the UK and Italy are faring worse, but Canada, France and Japan are performing better.
Republicans BOO Biden, MTG calls him a 'liar' and Kevin McCarthy shakes his head as President claims GOP wants to 'sunset' Medicare and Social Security in State of the Union where he barely mentions China and spars with hecklers
President Joe Biden's annual State of the Union on Tuesday began with calls for 'unity' before descending into disarray when he was heckled by Republicans for claiming they want to 'sunset' Medicare and Social Security.
His 73-minute speech started with a request to 'finish the job' of rebuilding the economy reeling from historic inflation and the pandemic - but it quickly turned tense with his dubious accusations against the GOP.
Wearing a white coat lined in white fur, conservative firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene stood up before the joint session of Congress and screamed 'liar' while other Republicans shouted, 'Not true!'
'They're the facts,' Biden snapped back. 'Check it out. Check it out.'
Speaker Kevin McCarthy shook his head in disagreement while sat on the dais behind Biden and other members of the GOP shouted 'no' in tense scenes on the House floor.
The exchanges dominated a Biden speech where he barely mentioned China, made questionable claims about his economic record and was told 'it's your fault' when condemning the flood of fentanyl coming across the southern border.
Biden pushed back and pointed his finger at Republicans in the audience during the remarks that started with a gaffe and off-script jokes.
The row escalated when Biden blamed the nation's debt on Donald Trump. 'Under the previous administration the American deficit went up,' he said. 'No president added more to the national debt in any four years than my predecessor.'
He continued: 'How did Congress respond to that debt? They lifted the debt ceiling three times without preconditions or crisis. They paid American bills to prevent an economic disaster of the country. So tonight, I'm asking the Congress to follow suit.'
The president wasn't afraid to engage with the GOP, hitting them with tough talk after he previously talked about working together: 'Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage. I get it. Unless I agree to their economic plans.'
Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado shook her head as the president spoke.
At other points in the speech, Republicans openly laughed at the president, such as when he suggested oil production could be phased out after a decade.
'I said we're going to need oil for at least another decade,' the president said of his discussions with oil companies as he pushed for greener technology. Republicans laughed at him. McCarthy, too, chuckled.
Biden started off his speech by talking about his hope for the White House and House Republicans to work together.
But all indications seem to point to that being a pipe dream as neither the president nor the GOP lawmakers showed signs of backing down in a remarkable display of public bickering.
Earlier Tuesday, McCarthy asked his Republican lawmakers to behave while the president spoke, making it clear he wanted no shenanigans on the House floor.
The lawmakers were reminded that boom mics will be on so 'people's conversations will be picked up, and anything you're reading on your phone' could been seen by a camera lens, a GOP lawmaker said.
The speaker also promised to behave himself and not cause any 'theatrics,' specifically saying he won't do as Nancy Pelosi did during Donald Trump's final State of the Union address and tear up the text of the speech.
But the evening showed that McCarthy, who won the speakership in a midnight vote after 15 ballots, is still struggling to control some of the conservative elements of his conference.
Biden tried to bring order back.
As the shouting continued, the president responded: 'I'm glad to see it, I enjoy conversion.'
'Social Security and its bookend, Medicare, are off the books now, right?,' he added. 'We have unanimity!'
And McCarthy tried to calm down his side, shushing some Republicans who appeared to be yelling about the border after Biden called for Congress to codify a path to citizenship for Dreamers.
'If we don't pass my immigration reform, at least passed my plan to provide equipment for officers to secure the border. And a pathway to citizenship for dreamers, those on temporary status, farm workers, essential workers,' Biden said as he talked about problems at the border, where illegal crossings have reached record levels.
Democrats applauded but Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas laughed and shook his head.
Other Republicans shouted: 'Secure the border.' McCarty shushed them to let Biden continue.
Lingering in the backdrop of Biden's remarks is the fight to raise the debt limit. Republicans want to slash federal spending in exchange for increasing the nation's $31.4 trillion borrowing limit. Biden wants it raised with no conditions attached.
But Republicans have said they don't want to cut Medicare and Social Security - two entitlement programs important to older voters.
Biden's push to raise taxes on the wealthy also garnered boos from Republicans.
'We have to reward work not just wealth. Pass my proposal for the billionaire minimum tax,' he said. 'But no billionaire should be paying a lower tax rate than a schoolteacher or firefighter.'
In the past, Biden has proposed a 20% levy on households with a net worth of more than $100 million.
'The tax system is not fair.' He dropped his voice to a whisper to make his point: 'It's not fair.'
'Look, the idea that in 2020, 55 of the largest corporations in America, the fortune 500, made $40 billion in profits and paid 0 in federal taxes, 0? Folks, simply not fair,' he said, raising his voice to be heard over the GOP catcalling him with shouts and booing.
McCarthy simply sat in silence behind Biden as the president spoke, shaking his head.
he battle is shaping up to be Biden's first major policy fight with Republicans since they took control of the House. The two sides have until the end of June to come to an agreement.
The president fumbled his State of the Union speech at the top, attempting to make a joke about wife Jill going to the Super Bowl without him, messing up Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's title and complimenting McCarthy after previously slamming Republicans as MAGA extremists.
The president tried his hand at a little improv when he took the podium in the House chamber to address the nation - a risk that rarely ends well.
After greeting First Lady Jill Biden, who sat in a box overlooking the House floor, Biden tried to joke to Chief Justice John Roberts about the first lady's upcoming trip to the Superbowl, where her Philadelphia Eagles are playing the Kansas City Chiefs.
'By the way Chief Justice - I may need a court order,' he said, deviating from his prepared remarks. 'She gets to go to the game next week. I got to stay home. I got to work something out here.'
He also gave McCarthy, who was presiding over his first State of the Union address as speaker, a backhand compliment.
'Mr. Speaker, I don't want to ruin your reputation, but I look forward to working with you,' the president said.
In other sittings, Biden has blasted Donald Trump supporters like McCarthy as 'extremists' in the Republican Party. 'This is not your father's Republican Party,' he has said repeatedly in the past.
The president, who struggles with a stutter, also fumbled when he addressed Schumer, who he called minority leader, which was his previous title.
'Chuck Schumer - another, you know, another term is, was this Senate Minority Leader. You know, I think you always time you have a slightly bigger majority. Mr. Leader,' he said.
Seated in the House chamber, Schumer held up one finger, indicating the one-seat majority that Democrats have in the Senate.
'You're the majority leader,' Biden said, finally getting his title correct. 'But that much bigger.'
During his 1 hour 18-minute speech, Biden used some of his favorite tactics to make a point - whispering at times and raising his voice to a shout at others.
He garbled his words while warning Republicans not to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, passed when Democrats controlled Congress.
'Now some members here threatening - and I know it's not an official party position - So I'm not going to exaggerate but certainly to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act.
... As my football coaches like to say - lots of luck in your senior year,' he said.
But he ultimately got his message out: 'Make no mistake ... I will veto it.'
Biden's remarks touted his economic record, called for more taxes on the wealthy and included an appeal to Republicans to leave Democratic programs intact.
The president hasn't announced he will seek another term - but said he intends to.
He's expected to make a formal announcement in the coming weeks. And his State of the Union address will be seen as an argument for why he should get four more years in the White House.
Biden will take his sales job on the road as he heads to Wisconsin on Wednesday and Florida on Thursday.
The president's approval rating was hovering at around 40% ahead of his annual address to the nation.
The Capitol was prepared to receive him. Protective fencing went up around the building over the weekend and the streets around it will be shut down during the speech.
Extra chairs were brought on to the House floor to accommodate the 100 senators, justices of the Supreme Court, members of the Cabinet and other officials who will be in attendance.
Television cameras were in Statuary Hall, just down the House chamber from where Biden will speak. Lawmakers will flood the room after Biden's address to give their take.
Biden also talked about police reform and a crisis that has seen many black men shot by cops.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus brought more than a dozen families to the speech that have been affected by police violence. And Biden is under heavy pressure from his party to take action.
In his speech, Biden noted he's never had to have 'the talk' with his kids - Beau, Ashley, and Hunter - about what to do when a police officer pulls them over.
'We have an obligation to make sure all people are safe. Public safety depends on public trust, as all of us know, but too often that trust is violated,' he said.
'I never have to tell you of a police officer turned pulled you over, turn on your interior lights right away. Don't reach for your license. Keep your hands on the stealing steering wheel. that every single time your kid got in a car,' he noted.
Biden acknowledged the parents of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man who was beaten to death by police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, who were seated in the first lady's box.
'What happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often. We have to do better,' Biden said.
He called for more training for police officers.
'Give law enforcement the real training they need. Hold them to higher standards.
Help them succeed in keeping a safe. We also need more first responders and professionals to adjust to the growing mental health and substance abuse,' he said.
In contrast, he barely mentioned the war in the Ukraine, which took up much of his remarks in last year's speech.
He pointed to Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova, seated next to the first lady, and said: 'We are going to stand with you. As long as it takes.'
Biden also barely mentioned China, including the spy balloon the U.S. military recently shot down off the coast of South Carolina.
'I am committed to work with China where it can advance American interests and benefit the world,' he said.
Then, in an opaque reference to the spy balloon: 'But make no mistake: as we made clear last week, if China's threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did. And let's be clear: winning the competition with China should unite all of us. We face serious challenges across the world.'