No, Obama Has Not Issued 923 Executive Orders

Nor did Bush issue a mere 63. These claims are spreading like a virus on blogs and Twitter. Both are grossly inaccurate.

The numbers appear to derive from an email chain, the text of which can be found at Snopes. The figure was sufficiently eye-popping that I was dubious. So I checked it out. The Snopes article wasn’t up yet (and, of course, Snopes has its own issues anyway), but I found a pretty much unimpeachable source: Archives.gov.

Within moments of first seeing the 923 figure, I’d Googled it up and discovered that Obama has actually issued 130-odd EOs so far–and that Bush had a somewhat higher number than that in just his first term (Obama, of course, still has a few months to go before his first term ends, so the first term totals for both Presidents are more or less comparable).

I’m assuming most of the people I’m seeing repeat the 923/63 claim haven’t seen the actual email and are just repeating something they saw somewhere else because the original source is laughable on its face. FDR issued only 11 EOs? Obviously wrong–the actual figure is over 3,500; no-one with even passing familiarity with subject would believe the 11 figure. The email also credits Obama with having issued EOs going back to JKF, LBJ, and even Gerald Ford.

There’s plenty about Barack Obama to criticize, including the contents of more than a few of his EOs. But their quantity is no more (or less) objectionable than any of his predecessors of the last century.

I’ve been correcting this on Twitter every time I’ve seen it for days. Happily, pretty much everyone to whom I’ve pointed out the error has then retweeted the correction. That’s excellent. But even in the heat of a close election campaign, we need to keep a critical eye on the facts we’re presented with.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Quick Takes, US Politics
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.

Comments

  1. Jeremy R. says:

    Thanks.

  2. Rick Almeida says:

    You forgot to Unskew the numbers.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    But even in the heat of a close election campaign, we need to keep a critical eye on the facts we’re presented with.

    Dodd, that is soooo old school.

  4. David says:

    Facts, we don’t need no stinkin facts.

  5. Ben says:

    Hey, Conservatives won’t let their talking points be controlled by fact-checkers

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Excellent work, Doug. If you’re taking requests, there are a couple of other rumors flying around that could use some debunking. Stories like a Cabinet secretary being found to have violated the Hatch Act without penalty, and the Obama administration is working to circumvent the WARN Act they championed so strenuously.

    Please, shoot these down for us.

  7. Franklin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Note: Doug (frequent contributor) is different than Dodd (infrequent contributor).

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Franklin: Well, that is awkward. Thanks for the correction.

    I’ve been meaning to get the eyes checked anyway…

  9. anjin-san says:

    Jenos is wiped out from partying to celebrate the Rice resignation.

  10. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Jenos is wiped out from partying to celebrate the Rice resignation.

    Apparently I got drunk, shouted “ANGRY BIRDS!” and threw a parakeet at a piggy bank.

  11. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Heh. See, we can all get along? We just need to talk about recent bouts of drinking.

  12. Slartibartfast says:

    Also cool: a thorough debunking of the promised Romney/Ryan $5trillion tax cut for the rich, unless Dodd has already done that.