CNN Anti-Earmark Story Leaves out Obama's Failure to Reform

CNN attacked the practice of earmarking and criticized a few senators for doing it on Oct. 9, but the segment from Dana Bash didn’t mention President Obama’s campaign promises on the issue or his failure (thus far) to fulfill them.

“Earmarks,” John Roberts teased as he introduced congressional correspondent Bash’s segment. “We heard that word a lot during the presidential campaign last year. While they’re perfectly legal, critics see them as conflicts for members of Congress and a troubling way to get deals done.”

After an introduction like that it would have been natural to include what Obama said on the campaign trail about earmarks.

According to, Obama called for earmark reform in the first president debate saying, “Absolutely, we need earmark reform. And when I'm president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”

Obama also said in a later debate, “Earmarks account for 0.5 percent of the total federal budget. There's no doubt that the system needs reform and there are a lot of screwy things that we end up spending money on, and they need to be eliminated. But it's not going to solve the problem.”

Since that time the president pushed for and signed a $787 billion stimulus bill which included “a handful of projects” PolitiFact considered earmarks. He also signed a $410 billion budget Omnibus full of 9,000 earmarks totaling $7.7 billion.

Bash’s segment didn’t mention the president at all, but focused on a report from Taxpayers for Common Sense which examined earmarks by18 senators on the Defense Appropriations committee and those who gave them campaign contributions.

The CNN report specially focused on earmarks by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and campaign contributions from employees of those same companies receiving earmarks.

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