McCrory unfiltered—and unfettered by the truth

By: - October 24, 2013 1:02 pm


One Monday early in July Governor Pat McCrory wrongly blamed President Obama for the state’s decision to cut off federal emergency unemployment benefits to 70,000 long-term laid off workers in the state.

McCrory said at the time that the Obama Administration refused to give the state a waiver to allow it to make cuts to the state unemployment insurance program without jeopardizing the additional federal emergency benefits.

That was not true and it is beyond dispute. Later that same day in July, McCrory’s own press office issued a correction, saying that the governor “misspoke” and that the Obama Administration had nothing to do with it, that only Congress could grant the waiver.

That didn’t stop McCrory from making the same claim just two days later in Wilson, again blaming President Obama for the denial of federal emergency unemployment benefits.

This week McCrory was at it again, telling an interviewer with “Triad Today” in Greensboro that President Obama wouldn’t allow the state to receive the emergency benefits while making changes to the state unemployment system to pay off a debt to the federal government.

McCrory’s press office hasn’t issued a correction this time and they didn’t after he made the false claim in Wilson either.

The distortions, falsehoods, and misleading claims just keep coming from the governor, raising an important question.

Is McCrory simply confused about important policies—does he just not understand them—or does he know that he is wrong and keeps telling the whoppers anyway? It’s hard to know which is worse, but it has to be one or the other.

McCrory’s comments to Triad Today were reported in a column in Yes! Weekly by the interviewer himself, who wrote that McCrory “set the record straight” in his answers to questions about his key decisions in his first nine months in office.

Hardly. What McCrory did in the taped interview, at least as reported in the column, was say a series of things that were blatantly false.

He claimed that the extension of the federal emergency unemployment benefits that he denied would have been a loan that the state would have had to pay back. That’s not true. The federal government would have paid the full cost of the benefits.

McCrory said he didn’t expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act because it would have forced him to set up a “whole new bureaucracy” and hire a thousand more people. Both statements are absurd.

Expanding Medicaid doesn’t require a new anything. It just means providing coverage to more low-income people who are currently uninsured as many states with Republican governors have done.

It’s not clear where he came up with the need for a thousand new people—a study by the Institute of Medicine showed the state would actually save $65 million by expanding Medicaid even after accounting for any new administrative costs.

There’s more but you get idea. It was an interview that didn’t set anything straight. It was McCrory at his most maddening—either confused or saying things that were blatantly wrong.

The interviewer ended the column about his exchange with McCrory by saying that the appearance gave McCrory “an unedited, unfiltered forum for explaining his vision and his accomplishments.”

No argument there. There were definitely important filters missing—like the truth—something the governor continues to have a lot of trouble with.

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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066