Q: Does Obama have an unprecedented number of "czars"?
A: "Czar" is media lingo, not an official title. But our research shows that George Bush’s administration had more "czars" than the Obama administration.
In fact, of the 32 czars Beck lists:
* Nine were confirmed by the Senate, including the director of national intelligence ("intelligence czar"), the chief performance officer ("government performance czar") and the deputy interior secretary ("California water czar").
* Eight more were not appointed by the president – the special advisor to the EPA overseeing its Great Lakes restoration plan ("Great Lakes czar") is EPA-appointed, for instance, and the assistant secretary for international affairs and special representative for border affairs ("border czar") is appointed by the secretary of homeland security.
* Fifteen of the "czarships" Beck lists, including seven that are in neither of the above categories, were created by previous administrations. (In some cases, as with the "economic czar," the actual title – in this case, chairman of the president’s economic recovery advisory board – is new, but there has been an official overseeing the area in past administrations. In others, as with the special envoy to Sudan, the position is old but the "czar" appellation is new.)
* n all, of the 32 positions in Beck’s list, only eight are Obama-appointed, unconfirmed, brand new czars.
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As for Obama having an unprecedented number of czars, the Bush administration had even more appointed or nominated positions whose holders were called "czars" by the media. The DNC has released a Web video claiming that there were 47, but it’s counting multiple holders of the same position. We checked the DNC’s list against Nexis and other news records, and found a total of 35 Bush administration positions that were referred to as "czars" in the news media. (Our list of confirmed "czars," with news media sources cited, is here.) Again, many of these advisory positions were not new – what was new was the "czar" shorthand. Like the Obama czars, the Bush czars held entirely prosaic administrative positions: special envoys, advisers, office heads, directors, secretaries. The preponderance of czars earned both ridicule and concern in editorials and in media, but no objections from Congress.
Czar Search | FactCheck.org