Meanwhile, the White House Makes Stuff Up About Cuts

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 28 2013 2:17 PM

Meanwhile, the White House Makes Stuff Up About Cuts

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Arne Duncan plays during the 2013 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at George R. Brown Convention Center on February 15, 2013 in Houston, Texas.

Photo by Louis Dollagaray/Getty Images

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan claimed that schools were pink-slipping teachers to prepare for sequestration cuts. Karen Tumulty and Lindsay Layton did some solid spadework and debunked this. The layoffs cited by the White House "had more to do with a separate matter that involves a change in the way West Virginia allocates federal dollars designated for poor children."

And scene. Surely the White House would clean this up when asked about it.

“I don’t have any more for you on it,” Carney said today when asked about Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s demonstrably false claim that pink slips are already going out to teachers because of the sequester cuts. “I encourage you to make phone calls in an old fashioned reporting [manner] . . . for more information about that, you should go to the Department of Education.”
Carney refused to concede that Duncan had made a false statement. “I haven’t independently looked into them,” he said. Duncan told reporters yesterday that “There are a couple districts — one I know of in West Virginia that has actually already issued notices, but it’s just because they have an earlier notification date,” before he acknowledged that “Whether it’s all sequester related, I don’t know."
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We do know! It isn't!

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.