The following is a fact-check from the August 8, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH)
1) Mark Zandi is a Republican. – FALSE
2) Economist Mark Zandi indicated several weeks ago that he thought raising taxes at this point in the economy was a very bad idea. – TRUE
REP. BOEHNER: Listen, you can’t raise taxes in the middle of a weak economy without risking the double-dip in this recession. President Obama’s favorite Republican economist, Mark Zandi, came out several weeks ago and made it clear that raising taxes at this point in, in the economy is a very bad idea.
Crowd-sourcer Peter Wagner looked into this statement, and here’s what he found:
On August 1st, the Washington Post published a number of economists and policy-makers opinions on the best options for the Bush tax cuts. Of those economists who provided a response was Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. Zandi stated that raising taxes when the “economy is so fragile would be a mistake.”
Therefore, Representative Boehner was correct on this point.
However, Rep. Boehner was incorrect as to Mr. Zandi’s party affiliation. Zandi, as early as 2009, has specified that he is “a registered Democrat.”
The confusion as to his political affiliation might stem from his collaboration with John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. His involvement with the McCain campaign can be traced to a long-time friend offering him a position within the campaigns economic advisory team. Then chief economic advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin brought Zandi into what was described as a “diverse team” of economic advisers.
While it is true that Mark Zandi worked for the McCain campaign, he has stated previously that he is a registered Democrat. He would not, however, reveal how he voted in the 2008 election. Rep. Boehner is therefore incorrect in his assessment of Mr. Zandi’s politics.
After reviewing Mr. Wagner’s work, we agree with his conclusions.
1) Mark Zandi is open about his political affiliation and has declared, “I’m a registered Democrat.” As Peter Wagner points out, the confusion over Mark Zandi’s political affiliation probably stands from his work on the John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008. So John Boehner is wrong on the assertion that Mark Zandi is a Republican, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NEV) has been wrong on the subject as well. Here’s the Washington Post quoting Harry Reid on Mark Zandi’s affiliation: “I think [he] is a Republican. I am pretty sure he is.” And Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) described Zandi on Fox News as a “conservative Republican.” So there is some general confusion on both aisles about Mark Zandi’s political affiliation, but regardless, John Boehner’s statement is incorrect, so we rate it FALSE.
2) Mark Zandi specifically says in a Washington Post article “raising taxes on anyone now, when the economic recovery is so fragile, would be a mistake.” Thus, we rate Mr. Boehner’s statement TRUE.
Special thanks crowd-sourcer Peter Wagner for assisting with this fact-check.
This fact-check took a combined 1 hour.