From The Washington Post -- October 6, 2011:
Ronald Reagan, the original class warrior?
By Al Kamen
Was hard not to be a bit skeptical Monday when liberal think tank Center for American Progress unveiled a 1985 speech by President Ronald Reagan that made it seem he was the forefather of President Obama’s class warfare on job creators.
“We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share,” Reagan said in a speech to high school students. The loopholes “sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing,” he said, “while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. It’s time we stopped.”
Sounds like the Buffett rule about the rich paying less than their secretaries. Reagan revved up the crowd: “Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver or less?”
“More!” the audience shouted.
“We want to see that everyone pays their fair share and no one gets a free ride,” Reagan said, and that “no one is manipulating the system to their advantage because they’re rich and powerful.”
CAP compared Reagan’s words with those in an Obama speech in September, one that GOP leaders promptly denounced as class warfare. Obama appears to be virtually plagiarizing Reagan’s remarks. (Reagan also said “hope was always the fuel that kept America going.”)
By Tuesday, Obama was repeatedly citing Reagan as his muse.
But wait a minute. Anyone can Photoshop anything these days and slice and dice video to show anything. Sure, Reagan voted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the original “traitor to his class,” but Reagan had seen the light well before he took office.
So we investigated. A CAP spokeswoman told us an intern, John Craig, a Georgetown law graduate waiting for bar exam results, had been reading “Showdown at Gucci Gulch,” about the 1986 tax-reform fight. He noticed the Reagan team bragging about how many millionaires were hit. So Craig started looking for Reagan quotes and found the speech.
But maybe the speech was a phony? Where did Craig find it? Oh, the Reagan Foundation?
Indeed. The foundation posted the video on YouTube on July 29, following the usual practice of posting pieces of Reagan footage that relate to various events — in this case a scholarship award — the foundation’s communications director, Melissa Giller, told us.
“We were looking for educational quotes,” Giller said, and Reagan’s speech to the students “seemed to fit.”
But it got virtually no notice — fewer than 800 views when Craig found it. CAP has gotten more than 86,000 views as of Thursday afternoon.
Well, okay, so maybe Obama’s just a plagiarist