04.16.2015 2

Did Ex-Im Bank head call either Senator Obama or President Obama a liar?

By Nathan Mehrens

For a brief moment on Capitol Hill, an Obama-appointed official stumbled into providing an honest window into the political mindset in the Obama Administration, when he called Obama a liar over derogatory comments Obama made related to the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank in 2006.

Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) elicited the startling stroke of honesty from Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg when, in a Committee hearing on efforts to reform the bank, he asked Hochberg to comment on then-Senator Barack Obama’s statement that “the Export-Import Bank is little more than a fund for corporate welfare” with Jordan asking the punch line, “was he wrong?”

Hochberg answered, “Yes.” He added, “People say things in campaigns; they say things, different things, when they are in office. So, I’m not going to comment on what was motivating then-Senator Barack Obama.”

Rep. Jordan replied, “That’s the understatement of the year.”

Beyond calling the President a liar, Hochberg also inadvertently pointed to the real political jeopardy that the Ex-Im Bank finds itself in by insinuating that presidential candidate Obama had political motivation behind opposing the bank.  His admission shows a realization that the bank is wildly unpopular with the anti-Big Corporation left, which Senator Elizabeth Warren will court if she runs for president.  At the same time, the bank also finds itself under assault from conservative, limited government groups who oppose its role of picking winners and losers in the worldwide economy, and in the process putting non-favored U.S. corporations at a competitive disadvantage against the foreign businesses the bank helps.

While it may not come as any surprise that then-Senator Barack Obama told some real whoppers in his run for the presidency, it is a surprise that one of his own appointees would so bluntly testify under oath that these statements were just part of the campaign and that he does things differently now that he’s in office.

This neatly sums up much of what is wrong with Washington, D.C. – politicians are elected to office on the basis of position statements made to appeal to voters but then ditch those positions after taking office when it becomes expedient to do so.

Nathan Mehrens is President of Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

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