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Sorting out the truth in politics

PolitiFact: Senate approved Bush second-term nominees much faster than Obama's

The statement

Says Barack Obama is getting his nominees confirmed "faster than President (George W.) Bush was at the same time in his second term."

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate minority leader, Sunday on Meet the Press

The ruling

Comity may have returned to the Senate with a deal that averted a showdown over confirmation of President Barack Obama's nominees, but beforehand, passions ran high.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appeared on NBC's Meet the Press where he argued that the president's track record has been pretty good.

"What is the problem here? The president has had 1,540 of his nominations confirmed, only four defeated. He's not lost a single member of the Cabinet. He's getting them faster than President Bush was at the same time in his second term," McConnell said.

There are actually three claims in that statement. Here, we will look at the last one, "He's getting them faster than President (George W.) Bush was at the same time in his second term."

We contacted McConnell's office, and communications director Michael Brumas told us that the Senate had confirmed 28 judges, compared to 10 total by this same point in 2005.

Brumas has those numbers exactly right. The only problem is that McConnell on Meet the Press did not specify that he was talking about judges. We brought this up with Brumas, and he told us that McConnell has used the comparison between Obama and Bush a number of times to describe the pace of judicial nominations.

Again, that's accurate. We found that just a few days earlier, McConnell made the point on the Senate floor about judges.

However, he didn't say that during this interview. All he said was that Obama was "getting them faster than President Bush was at the same time in his second term." We looked at all nominations in the first year of the second terms of both presidents, up to July 14, the day McConnell was interviewed. With the guidance of Anne Joseph O'Connell, associate dean at the University of California-Berkeley Law, we searched the nominations database at the Library of Congress.

We found that the Senate has confirmed 68 of Obama's nominees. By this point in the 109th Congress, the Senate had confirmed 129 of Bush's nominees, nearly twice as many.

We rate the statement False.

Edited for print. Read the full version at

PolitiFact: Senate approved Bush second-term nominees much faster than Obama's 07/19/13 [Last modified: Friday, July 19, 2013 9:28pm]
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