Donald Trump Facts Check



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Donald Trump Facts Check    

Jan 2021 Trump lies 30,573 times over 4 years 

Aug 2017 Trump’s list of lies and false claims = 1,057
132 lies in the first 100 days since Jan 20th        the types of Lies  

Fact-checking President Trump’s inaugural address 

 January 20 2017 -- 5 fact checks from President Trump's inaugural address

Trump’s address was FULL OF LIES

“You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

No matter how you measure it, the “movement” was not as historic as Trump proclaims it to be.

He lost the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes to Hillary Clinton. Clinton had the largest popular vote margin of any losing presidential candidate, according to an analysis by the Associated Press.

Trump’s electoral college win, meanwhile, was a squeaker. Trump had narrow victories in three key states (and narrow losses in two others). He won Michigan by 10,704 votes, Wisconsin by 22,177 votes and Pennsylvania by 46,435 votes. So if 39,659 voters in those states had switched their votes, 46 electoral votes would have flipped to Clinton — and she would have won 278-260.

Overall, according to a tally by John Pitney of Claremont McKenna College, Trump ranks 46th out of 58 electoral college results.

“Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities … and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

Trump repeats a problematic talking point about crime and poverty in “inner cities.” It’s unclear what he means by “inner cities,” which is not a category by which crime or poverty is measured.

In 2015, 13 percent of people lived below poverty level inside metropolitan statistical areas, according to census data. That is on par with the national poverty rate in 2015, which was 13.5 percent. Overall, the poverty rate has remained relatively flat under Obama.

As we have repeatedly pointed out, violent and property crimes overall have been declining for about two decades, and are far below rates seen one or two decades ago. Homicides have spiked in major cities in 2015 and 2016, but the rates remain far below their peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.”

Trump mixes up several things here. He seems to be referring to free-trade agreements in the first part of his sentence, though he ignores the fact that many U.S. industries also benefit and grow when they are able to sell products overseas.

As for subsidizing the armies of other countries, Trump appears to be referring to military bases that the United States has overseas. A 2013 Senate report found that the United States spent $10 billion a year on bases abroad, with 70 percent focused on three countries — Germany, South Korea and Japan. Germany is the center of European defense obligations, while the troops in Japan are the core of U.S. projection of power in Asia. The troops in Korea deter an attack by North Korea. Given a defense budget of more than $500 billion, the cost of maintaining these bases is a mere pittance.

The United States doles out about $6 billion a year in foreign military financing, with most of it going to just two countries: Israel and Egypt. But this money comes with a catch — most of it must be spent on U.S. hardware, creating jobs for Americans.

As for the “very sad depletion” of the U.S. military, this is hyper-exaggeration. One can argue about whether the military budget should be boosted, but there is no question that the U.S. military is stronger and more capable than any other nation’s. The website ranks countries based on 45 factors, and the United States tops the charts. Here’s one small statistic: The United States has 19 aircraft and helicopter carriers, as of the end of last year; no other country has more than four.

“[We’ve] spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.”

Trump appears to be referring to U.S. involvement in military adventures, such as the 2003 Iraq invasion he supported, and possibly foreign aid.

Foreign aid amounts to less than 1 percent of the U.S. budget, with about $18 billion going to economic and development aid and $8 billion for security assistance. Even the Marshall Plan advanced by President Harry S. Truman, designed to stabilize Europe after World War II, was only a little over $100 billion in today’s dollars.

So Trump only gets to “trillions and trillions of dollars” by including wars. The Iraq war is estimated to have cost $1.7 trillion through 2013, though one estimate says that the cost will rise to $6 trillion through 2053, primarily from paying the interest on the debt incurred to wage the war because the Bush administration chose not to raise the taxes to pay for it. But we doubt Iraqis would say the war made the country “rich.”

Contrary to Trump’s rhetoric, the United States is far wealthier than other nations. According to the International Monetary Fund, the United States has a gross domestic product of $18 trillion, one-third larger than that of China, the nearest rival and a frequent target of Trump’s attacks.

A Pew Research Center analysis found that the vast majority of Americans are either upper-middle income or high income; many Americans who are classified as “poor” by the U.S. government would be middle income globally.

“One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.”

Trump again engages in hyperbole, attributing all of the decline in manufacturing to foreign trade.

The number of U.S. workers engaged in manufacturing is now about 12.3 million, up from 11.5 million in 2010, after the Great Recession hurt many manufacturers. But that’s still a decline from about 17 million in the 1990s.

Some analysts calculate that between 1 million and 2 million U.S. jobs were lost after China was admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2000. But economists believe the biggest factor in the decline in manufacturing is automation, not jobs going overseas. Another factor is decreased consumer spending on manufactured goods. A new report by the Congressional Research Service notes that “employment in manufacturing has fallen in most major manufacturing countries over the past quarter-century,” so the U.S. experience is not unusual.

Meanwhile, the official unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, down from a high of 10 percent in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Jobs have been added for a record 75 months.

“We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.”

Trump continues to attack companies that ship jobs overseas, and has promised to keep jobs in the United States. But Trump has had a long history of outsourcing a variety of his products as a businessman, and he has acknowledged doing so.

We know of at least 12 countries where Trump products were manufactured. Further, Trump products transited other countries through the packaging and shipping process — meaning that workers in more than 12 countries contributed to getting many of Trump’s products made, packaged and delivered to the United States.

Here’s our inventory of Trump’s products made overseas.

“We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.”

Welfare” is a broad term and can apply to people who are working but receiving some government assistance. If someone is receiving means-tested assistance, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not working.

Not all people eligible for welfare collect benefits. When they do, many of the benefits are contingent on the recipients working or actively searching for jobs, as a result of an overhaul of welfare signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. And even low-income families receive some level of public assistance.

According to the 2012 U.S. Census, about 23 percent of U.S. households with at least one person with a job received means-tested benefits.

Meanwhile, Trump is apparently unaware that participation has declined in means-tested programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps).

Caseloads in the TANF program have declined over the past 15 years, from about 2.4 million families to 1.6 million families. After its post-recession peak in 2013, the number of people receiving food stamps has declined. In October 2016, there were 43.2 million people participating in the program, compared to 47 million in October 2013.

minutes before Donald Trump took the oath of office.



Immigration 9/20/2016These attacks and many others were made possible because of our extremely open immigration system, which fails to properly vet and screen the individuals or families coming into our country.” Facts

 Economy 9/16/2016Perhaps most shockingly, 1 in 6 men aged 18 to 34 are either in jail or out of work. Facts
Economy 9/16/2016Right now, 92 million Americans are on the sideline outside of the workforce, and they’re not a part of our economy.” Facts
Immigration 9/13/2016Our veterans, in many cases, are being treated worse than illegal immigrants.” Facts
Biography 9/12/2016 “Here is another example of pay-for-play.” Facts
Miscellaneous 9/8/2016 On military sexual assaults: “What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together [in the military]?” Facts
Immigration 9/2/2016Since 2013 alone, the Obama administration has allowed 300,000 criminal aliens to return back into United States communities.” Facts
Economy 8/31/2016Since President Obama came into office, another 2 million Hispanics have joined the ranks of those in poverty. Facts
Economy 8/24/2016Fifty-eight percent of your [African American] youth is unemployed. Facts
Immigration 8/20/2016 In Hillary Clinton’s America, “illegal immigrants … [are] collecting Social Security benefits, skipping the line. Facts
Crime 8/19/2016The policies put into place by Rudy [Giuliani] ultimately brought down crime by 76 percent and murder by 84 percent.” Facts those policies have not been correlated with crime. New York’s decline in crime mirrored the decline in many other major cities at the time. Moreover, crime was declining for four years before Giuliani took office, and it continued to decline for 14 years after he left.
Miscellaneous 8/18/2016 “Hillary Clinton doesn’t have that strength and stamina.” Facts
Biography 8/11/2016  “The Trump campaign has confirmed to that Mr. Trump did indeed send his plane to make two trips from North Carolina to Miami, Florida, to transport over 200 Gulf War Marines back home.” Facts
Emails 8/9/2016Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails. Facts
Trade 8/8/2016Yesterday for the first time she said she wants to renegotiate trade agreements. Facts
Biography 8/6/2016 “The press came out with headlines: ‘Trump throws baby out of arena.’ So dishonest.” Facts
Veterans 8/5/2016 “He [John McCain] has not done a good job for the vets.” Facts
Miscellaneous 8/4/2016 “She raised like $50 or $60 million and 20 people gave it.” Facts
Economy 8/3/2016I think having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country.” Facts
Foreign policy 8/3/2016Our incompetent secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, was the one who started talks to give 400 million dollars, in cash, to Iran.” Facts
Biography 8/2/2016 On mocking disabled reporter: “I started imitating somebody ... somebody that was groveling.” Facts
Biography 7/27/2016 “I have nothing to do with Russia.” Facts
Veterans 7/13/2016 “A shocking 20 veterans are committing suicide each and every day.” Facts
Foreign policy 7/7/2016 “He [Saddam Hussein] killed terrorists. He did that so good.” Facts
Trade 6/30/2016China will enter the TPP through the back door at a later date.” Facts
Biography 6/27/2016 “Hillary Clinton laundered money to Bill Clinton through Laureate Education.” Facts
Foreign policy 6/16/2016Media fell all over themselves criticizing what Donald Trump ‘may have insinuated about @POTUS.’ But he’s right” Facts
Immigration 6/15/2016The president has the right to ban any group or anybody that he feels is going to do harm to our country. Facts

6/7/2016 “This case [Trump University lawsuit] should have ended years ago on summary judgment.” Facts
Miscellaneous 6/6/2016 “Goofy Elizabeth Warren, sometimes known as Pocahontas, bought foreclosed housing and made a quick killing.” Facts
Miscellaneous 5/25/2016  Donald Trump “called theories of possible foul play ‘very serious’ and the circumstances of [Vince] Foster’s death ‘very fishy.’” Facts
Miscellaneous 5/24/2016 “Nobody in this country was worse than Bill Clinton with women.” Facts
Immigration 5/16/2016  “When you look at that migration [in Europe], you see so many young, strong men.” Facts
Immigration 5/13/2016Your crime numbers are so crazy, they’re going through the roof” because of illegal immigration. Facts
Taxes 5/12/2016  On federal tax returns, “There’s nothing to learn from them.” Facts
Trade 5/9/2016NAFTA was signed by Bill Clinton.” Facts


  1. Washington Post


  3. Politifact

Snopes' Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors

How to spot fake news

July 2017: 26 hours, 29 Trumpian false or misleading claims

Every outright lie Trump has told since taking office (as of June 2017)

488 Lies in Trump's first 100 days

Ten Trump Lies in 10 minutes!

How did your Representative Vote on The Environment?

President Trump’s first seven days of Lies

 Trump's PR man "5 Pinochios" lies -- About 160,000 people were in the Mall and its vicinity in the hour before Trump’s speech. By contrast, 470,000 people were in those same areas for the Women’s March as of 2 p.m. on Saturday, the time of the march’s peak density. (Conclusion of Marcel Altenburg and Keith Still, crowd scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain, analyzed photographs and video taken of the Mall and its vicinity for The New York Times )

Fact-checking President Trump’s Inaugural Address

Trump’s drastic campaign promises

84% of Republicans get their news from FOX NEWS

All of Donald Trump’s 59 (of 92, ) Four-Pinocchio ratings (most of the 33 others are 3 Pinochios)

The Washington Post FACT CHECKER's  worst rating.

The 4 Pinocchios VIDEO

Debate Sep 2016 Wash.Post
NPR   PolitiFact

Bill Maher:- from Liberal California’s
$26 billion Deficit to &11 billion Surplus

A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast !

Clinton has offered many more serious policy proposals for raising workers’ incomes than Trump has. Her website is full of ideas on expanding profit-sharing, a “Make it in America” initiative to promote manufacturing, and plans on family leave, child care, cutting student debt and much more.

Trump has effectively reduced his campaign to immigration and trade (plus “law and order”). He’s arguing that the problems faced by U.S. workers will be magically solved if we throw millions of immigrants out of the country and if he gets a chance to negotiate much tougher trade deals.

His lack of specificity about trade show that he’s more interested in exploiting these issues than thinking about them.

the “10-20-30initiative from Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC)  would mandate that at least 10 percent of spending on federal programs go to counties where at least 20 percent of the population has lived below the poverty line for 30 years or more. Clinton has endorsed it, and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has spoken favorably about it.  The vast majority of counties(488) that would benefit are represented by Republicans in Congress.

Trump’s history of corruption (source WSJ)

bulletTrump’s casino bankruptcies, which left investors holding the bag while he skedaddled with their money
bulletTrump’s habit of refusing to pay contractors who had done work for him, many of whom are struggling small businesses
bullet Trump University, which includes not only the people who got scammed and the Florida investigation, but also a similar story from Texas where the investigation into Trump U was quashed.
bulletThe Trump Institute, another get-rich-quick scheme in which Trump allowed a couple of grifters to use his name to bilk people out of their money
bulletThe Trump Network, a multi-level marketing venture (a.k.a. pyramid scheme) that involved customers mailing in a urine sample which would be analyzed to produce for them a specially formulated package of multivitamins
bulletTrump Model Management, which reportedly had foreign models lie to customs officials and work in the U.S. illegally, and kept them in squalid conditions while they earned almost nothing for the work they did
bulletTrump’s employment of foreign guest workers at his resorts, which involves a claim that he can’t find Americans to do the work
bulletTrump’s use of hundreds of undocumented workers from Poland in the 1980s, who were paid a pittance for their illegal work
bulletTrump’s history of being charged with housing discrimination
bulletTrump’s connections to mafia figures involved in New York construction
bulletThe time Trump paid the Federal Trade Commission $750,000 over charges that he violated anti-trust laws when trying to take over a rival casino company
bulletThe fact that Trump is now being advised by Roger Ailes, who was forced out as Fox News chief when dozens of women came forward to charge him with sexual harassment.


Campaign 5/6/2016You know who started the birther movement? ... Hillary Clinton. Facts
Campaign 5/4/2016 Cruz “didn’t deny” a National Enquirer report on Ted Cruz’s father’s role in the Kennedy assassination. Facts
Foreign policy 5/3/2016 Vladimir Putin “said Trump’s a genius.” Facts
Immigration 5/2/2016There are scores of recent migrants inside our borders charged with terrorism,” and “dozens and dozens more” per each case known publicly. Facts
Foreign policy 4/25/2016  “ISIS is making a fortune now in Libya” on oil. Facts
Campaign 4/22/2016 John Kasich “never had one negative ad against him. ” Facts
Immigration 4/4/2016 Ted Cruz “wanted to let in more Syrian refugees and give more amnesty to illegal immigrants.” Facts
Economy 4/2/2016We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt. … I think I could do it fairly quickly.” Facts
Biography 3/31/2016 “You know who else evolved? Ronald Reagan evolved” on the abortion issue. Facts
Trade 3/30/2016We pay, number one, a totally disproportionate share of NATO.” Facts
Miscellaneous 3/28/2016 “But Time magazine gave that information” on the Wisconsin budget deficit under Gov. Scott Walker. Facts
Immigration 3/21/2016 On the H-1B visa, “We shouldn’t have it. Facts
Trade 3/18/2016We don’t win at trade.” Facts
Miscellaneous 3/15/2016 “John Kasich helped Wall Street predator Lehman Brothers destroy the world economy.” Facts
Education 3/14/2016 Common Core is “education through Washington, D.C.” Facts
Immigration 3/8/2016Two thousand years ago, China built the Great Wall of China. This is a serious wall.” Facts
Biography 3/3/2016 “I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.” Facts
Biography 2/27/2016 “I’ve won most of the lawsuits” against Trump University. Facts
Biography 2/25/2016 “I was totally against the war in Iraq.”  Facts
Emails 2/24/2016You look at General Petraeus, you look at all the other people that did a fraction of what she [Hillary Clinton] did.” Facts
Health care 2/18/2016We can save as much as $300 billion a year” on prescription drugs. Facts
Immigration 2/15/2016People are pouring in, pouring in, and they’re doing tremendous damage if you look at the crime, if you look at the economy.”  Facts
Immigration 2/11/2016It’s $8 billion” to build the border wall. Facts
Education 2/2/2016 Common Core is “bureaucrats in Washington telling you how to manage your child’s education. Facts
Economy 1/20/2016 On unemployment, “the real number’s like 22, 23 percent.” Facts
Foreign policy 12/7/2015I predicted Osama bin Laden … was coming in to do damage.”  Facts
Foreign policy 12/6/2015 9/11 hijackers’ “wives knew exactly what was going to happen.” Facts
Foreign policy 11/22/2015There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down” on 9/11. Facts
Immigration 11/18/2015Our president wants to take in 250,000 from Syria. Facts
Veterans 11/17/2015 “Over 300,000 veterans died waiting for care.” Facts
Biography 10/21/2015 “I was visited by people from the White House asking me to sort of, could I be silenced” about opposition to the Iraq invasion. Facts
Immigration 10/8/2015 Obama “wants to take in 200,000” Syrian refugees. Facts
Taxes 9/29/2015 His claim his tax plan is “going to cost me a fortune.” Facts Trump’s tax plan would raise federal income taxes on more than half of America’s single parents and one-fifth of families with children. 3.5 million jobs would disappear, incomes would stagnate, debt would explode and stock prices would plummet
Foreign policy 9/11/2015 John Kerry “didn’t want to discuss the hostages [in Iran] because we didn’t want to complicate the negotiation.” Facts
Immigration 8/25/2015How crazy — 7.5% of all births in U.S. are to illegal immigrants, over 300,000 babies per year. Facts
Economy 8/21/2015Our real unemployment rate is 42 percent. Facts
Immigration 8/20/2015The annual cost of free tax credits alone paid to illegal immigrants quadrupled to $4.2 billion in 2011. Facts
Miscellaneous 8/19/2015 Obama “spent $4 million in legal fees to make sure that nobody ever saw” records showing his citizenship. Facts
Biography 8/11/2015 “Some of the things that [Megyn Kelly] said, I didn’t say, okay?” Facts
Immigration 7/8/2015 Mexicans are “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”  Facts

Donald Trump — lies and never admits error, even in the face of overwhelming factual evidence.     He has now earned Four Pinocchios 68 percent of the time. (Moreover, most of the remaining ratings for Trump are Three Pinocchios.)
 17  Donald Trump’s older Four-Pinocchio ratings, in one place.

Trump’s nonsensical claim he can eliminate $19 trillion in debt in eight years.
Trump University appears to have been a classic bait-and-switch operation, designed to lure people into paying increasing sums of money.

Here’s a list of the 17. Since Trump never takes anything back — and often repeats the same false claims — voters are likely to hear these time and again .

Donald Trump’s false comments connecting Mexican immigrants and crime

Donald Trump repeatedly defended his claim that the Mexican government is sending criminals and rapists to the United States. But a range of studies shows there is no evidence immigrants commit more crimes than native-born Americans. Moreover, the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants in prison do not belong in the category that fit Trump’s description: aggravated felons, whose crimes include murder, drug trafficking or illegal trafficking of firearms.

Trump’s bogus claim that he never said ‘some of the things’ claimed by Megyn Kelly

Fox News host Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump a pointed question about his verbal treatment of women. On the Sunday shows, Trump refused to apologize — and further asserted that Kelly lists things he did not say. But there is ample evidence of each of Trump's slurs against women uttered or tweeted by Trump. He had a small point that he attacks once he is provoked, but there is little doubt that the over-the-top language cited by Kelly was correct.

Trump’s zombie claim that Obama spent $4 million to conceal school and passport records

Trump, one of the most high-profile “birthers” during the 2012 presidential campaign, resurfaced this zombie claim that President Obama spent $4 million in legal fees to conceal records that would indicate his true citizenship. There is no proof that Obama spent $4 million in legal fees (personally or through his campaign) to keep his school application or passport application records away from the public. Federal campaign finance records show from 2008 through 2012, the Obama for America campaign paid more than $4 million in legal services to Perkins Coie, the law firm that defended the campaign in some of the eligibility lawsuits. But campaigns have in-house and outside counsel to vet a wide range of issues, not just those related to lawsuits.

Trump’s absurd claim that the ‘real’ unemployment rate is 42 percent

Trump’s made a ridiculous leap in logic to come up with his claim that the “real” unemployment rate was 42 percent — at a time when the official unemployment rate is 5.3 percent. He took an estimate for the number of people not working — 93 million — and assumed they were all unemployed. But the vast majority of those people do not want to work. Most are retired or simply not interested in working, such as stay-at-home parents. Even a President Trump would be unable to make much of a dent in this supposed 42-percent unemployment rate, given that most of the Americans he is counting as “unemployed” are not in the labor force by choice.

Trump’s tax plan and his claim that ‘it’s going to cost me a fortune’

Trump pitched his tax plan as being tough on the wealthy, saying “it’s going to cost me a fortune.” Trump has not released his tax forms — though he claims he made $604 million in 2014. In going through the details of his plan, it appears clear that it would significantly reduce his taxes — and the taxes of his heirs. This was later confirmed by an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Trump’s repeated claim that Obama is accepting 200,000 Syrian refugees

Like a broken record, businessman Donald J. Trump keeps repeating a statistic with little basis in fact — that the Obama administration wants to accept 200,000 refugees from Syria. It appears to be based on a misunderstanding — the Obama administration says it planned to admit 185,000 refugees over two years from all countries. For Syria, Obama has only directed the United States to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year. Ironically, that’s a number that Trump indicated was fine.

Trump’s baseless claim that the Bush White House tried to ‘silence’ his Iraq War opposition in 2003

Trump brags that he had the vision and foresight to oppose the Iraq War ahead of the invasion in 2003. He says his opposition was so vocal, and his reach so great, that the White House approached him and asked him to tone it down. There is scant media coverage of his supposed opposition ahead of the Iraq War. (We later compiled a complete timeline of Trump’s comments in 2002 and 2003 about the Iraq invasion, which showed he was not vocal about his opposition prior to the  Iraq War invasion, and they didn’t make headlines.) Trump ignored our request for the names of White House officials he supposedly met with, so we checked with former senior White House officials. None of the dozen people we contacted directly or through former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer could recall a meeting with Trump, concerns about his opposition, or even Trump’s views being on their radar prior to 2004.


Repeat after me: Obama is not admitting 100,000, 200,000 or 250,000 Syrian refugees

Trump had previously earned Four Pinocchios for falsely claiming President Obama was planning to admit 200,000 refugees from war-torn Syria. (The real number is 10,000; a total of 180,000 refugees from around the world will be admitted in 2016 and 2017.) Undeterred, Trump upped the number to 250,000 — and fellow novice politicians Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson followed up with claims of 100,000 refugees from Syria. All three earned Four Pinocchios.

Trump’s outrageous claim that ‘thousands’ of New Jersey Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks

GOP presidential hopeful Trump falsely and repeatedly asserted that he saw TV clips of “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the collapse of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks. Despite an army of fact checks, including ours, and repeated debunking, Trump continued to assert he was correct, even though he could produce no evidence except a handful of news stories that made brief mentions of alleged celebrations — which never could be confirmed. He earned Four Pinocchios. Ben Carson, another GOP aspirant, briefly said he, too, had seen such a video. But to his credit, he withdrew the statement after realizing it was of Palestinians in Gaza, not New Jersey.

Trump’s false claim that the 9/11 hijackers’ wives ‘knew exactly what was going to happen’

In the wake of the shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., involving a Muslim couple, Trump has emerged with the claim that the 9/11 hijackers sent their wives home before the attacks — and those wives knew “exactly what was going to happen.” But there is no support for Trump’s claims, as the exhaustive 9/11 Commission report states that virtually all of the 9/11 hijackers were unmarried.  The report includes a number of references to the hijackers cutting off communication with their families: “The other operatives had broken off regular contact with their families. …The majority of these Saudi recruits began to break with their families in late 1999 and early 2000. …[The ringleader] complained that some of the hijackers wanted to contact their families to say goodbye, something he had forbidden.”

Trump’s claim that he ‘predicted Osama bin Laden’

In various speeches and interviews, Trump has claimed that two years before the 9/11 attacks, he warned that Osama bin Laden was a threat — going to “do damage” to the United States — and even predicted the rise of terrorism. This claim rests on some vague references in a book he published in 2000. The references have little relationship to how Trump portrays them now — and he ignores the fact that well before 9/11, experts, news organizations and even bin Laden himself said he planned to attack the United States.

Trump’s claim that the unemployment rate is 23 percent

After falsely asserting the “real” unemployment rate was 42 percent, Trump suddenly tossed out a new estimate of “22 to 23 percent.” But this was also wrong. His figure is still more than double the most expansive rate published by the U.S. government, which at the time was 9.9 percent. That means there are about 35 million “unemployed” who Trump has not accounted for — and as usual the Trump campaign refused to explain how he came up with his estimate.

Trump’s dubious claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion

After Trump put a price tag on the wall he wants to build on the 2,000-mile border with Mexico — $8 billion — we investigated whether this figure was in the realm of possibility. We concluded it was not — and after the fact check appeared, Trump increased the projected cost to $12 billion. That’s still too low. A reasonable estimate is $25 billion.

Trump’s truly absurd claim he would save $300 billion a year on prescription drugs

Trump said that he would allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies, thus saving $300 billion a year. This made little sense, given that the prescription drug portion of the Medicare program costs only $78 billion a year. Total annual spending on prescription drugs in the United States is between $298 and $423 billion, which suggests Trump thinks he can eliminate virtually any cost to prescription drugs. Once again, we are confronted with a nonsense figure from the mouth of Donald Trump.

A trio of truthful attack ads about Trump University

This is in effect a reverse Four-Pinocchio rating, as we presented a rare Geppetto Checkmark to three ads attacking Trump’s involvement with Trump University. We concluded that Trump University appears to have been a classic bait-and-switch operation, designed to lure people into paying increasing sums of money. We also examined Trump’s false claim that Trump University received an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau, when in fact its rating was D- before it started winding down. The BBB even felt compelled to dispute Trump after he made this claim again during a debate.

Trump’s false claim he built his empire with a ‘small loan’ from his father

Trump often says he started his business empire with just a $1 million loan from his father. But that is simply not credible. He appears to have inherited about $40 million. He also benefited from numerous loans and loan guarantees, as well as his father’s connections, to make the move into Manhattan. His father set up lucrative trusts to provide steady income. When Trump became overextended in the casino business, his father bailed him out with a shady casino-chip loan — and Trump also borrowed $9 million against his future inheritance. While Trump asserts “it has not been easy for me,” he glosses over the fact that his father paved the way for his success — and that his father bailed him out when he got into trouble.

Trump’s false claim that John Kasich ‘helped’ Lehman Brothers ‘destroy the world economy’

Trump blamed Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the collapse of the investment banking firm and helping start a global financial crisis, but it was a preposterous claim. Kasich was one of about 700 managing directors at Lehman Brothers and largely played a facilitator role, using his experience in government regulations and contacts in various sectors. He gave strategic financial advice to other companies and generated business by using his contacts in various sectors — not making risky mortgage investments. Kasich’s former boss at Lehman equated this attack by Trump to blaming a pilot for the failure of Trump Airlines.

Trump’s trade rhetoric, stuck in a time warp

We examined a series of Trump statements on trade, manufacturing and currency manipulation, in essence fact checking the economic world that he depicts in his speeches — a world in which the United States never wins at trade and is flooded by imports because China and Japan keep their currencies low, a world in which high tariffs would bring manufacturing back to Michigan and other states. We concluded that Trump appears to have little understanding of the economic reality of today’s interconnected world.

Trump’s claim that the U.S. pays the ‘lion’s share’ for NATO

Trump’s smear of Time magazine as the source for his ‘facts’


Ben Carson pitched a tax plan with numbers that didn't add up.
Donald Trum
p boasted that he's paying his own way in the campaign, but he isn't.
Chris Christie
accused the government of stealing Social Security money that it has actually borrowed — and has been paying back with interest.
All Republican Tax Plans
bullet Trump's Tax plan would increase the national debt by $12 trillion, fueled by an average annual tax cut of $227,225 for the richest 1 percent of taxpayers.
bullet Rubio's Tax plan would increase the national debt by $11.8 trillion over the next decade, the think tank finds. More than one-third of the plan's tax cuts would flow to the top 1 percent of taxpayers.
bulletBush's plan would cost $7.1 trillion, with 46 percent of its benefits flowing to the top 1 percent of taxpayers.
bulletPaul's tax plan rough estimate places the total cost at $15 trillion. 
bullet Cruz's Tax plan would add $768 billion to the national debt. The top 1 percent of taxpayers would effectively score a whopping 34.2 percent raise, while the bottom 10 percent  would see a 15.3 percent increase.
bulletBen Carson has suggested moving to an across-the-board flat tax of 10 percent. When pressed on the costs of such a plan during a recent GOP debate, Carson suggested that his plan would have a tax rate "much closer to 15 percent," but has yet to provide further detail.

source NYTimes

20 Defamations of Dominion
Trump’s drastic Campaign Promises
Not just believe but WELCOME lies
21 Trump lies in his Indictment
46 Trump Lies  -- at the Debate
22 Trump lies at the 2nd Debate
Trump's Lies thru June 2017
Denial of Facts by the MAGA Cult
Reasons given for voting for Trump 2020
Reasons given for voting for Trump 2016
2020 - Why I voted for Trump (letters)
Trump wouldn't just let Obamacare die, he'd kill it himself.
COVID Myths from Trump
Transcript of Trump with Ukraine
Trump's Pennsylvania Lies
Putin ruining millions of lives

Candidates contradicting themselves (WSJ)

Candidates voiced concerns over the power of big banks, even as they promised to sweep away new regulations, including the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul that requires the biggest banks to raise more equity to withstand financial crises.

When candidates were asked how they would handle failing banks. During an argument with Mr. Cruz, Mr. Kasich chided candidates for issuing " philosophical" platitudes.

"When you are faced, as in the last financial crisis, with banks going under and people's life savings, you got to deal with it," Mr. Kasich said. "You can't turn a blind eye to it."

Mr. Cruz initially said he would "absolutely not" support bailing out big banks in a crisis. But pressed by moderators, he said there was a role for the Fed to intervene, much as it did in 2008. "If you have a run on the bank, the Fed can serve as a lender of last resort, but it's not a bailout," he said. "It is a loan at higher interest rates. That's how central banks have worked."
Mr. Paul singled out the Fed's policies for making life harder for lower-income families by raising prices and destroying the value of the dollar. "As your prices rise or as the value of the dollar shrinks, these are the people that have hurt the worst," said Mr. Paul.

But Inflation has fallen below the Fed's 2% target for more than three years. And the dollar has strengthened. Many economists have been more concerned about deflation.

“First of all we have seen how in six years of Obamacare that it’s been a disaster. It is the biggest job killer in this country. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work, have lost their health insurance, have lost their doctors, have seen their premiums sky rocket.”

— Ted Cruz


Cruz adds lots of things together to come up with his “millions.”

But he glosses over the fact that the Affordable Care Act has added nearly 18 million people to the health-insurance rolls since it was enacted five years ago, according the Department of Health and Human Services. (There were at least 2 million discontinued insurance policies that were no longer eligible under the law, but those policies were either temporarily extended or could be replaced.)

As for Obamacare’s impact on jobs, there is slim evidence that jobs have been lost. (In fact, the unemployment rate is now just 5 percent.) Recent, detailed studies have found that the Affordable Care Act had little impact on employment patterns.

One study, published in January in the journal Health Affairs, examined Census data and found no increase in the likelihood of working part time, except for a 0.18 percentage point increase in the likelihood of working 25 to 29 hours per week between 2013 and 2014 — a trend that predated the ACA. Even the researchers said the findings were surprising, given widespread reporting of scattered companies that said they had moved some workers to part-time work in response to the health-care law.

Thus far, however, it appears such anecdotal reports do not reflect a trend with any real impact on employment.

CARSON: His proposed flat-rate tax, which would have everyone pay an income tax rate of about 15 percent, "works out very well" in budget terms because it would spark enough economic growth to offset the lower rate.
THE FACTS: Carson says his proposed tax would not increase the budget deficit because he would tax the entire economic output of the U.S. — the gross domestic product — plus corporate income and capital gains.

Carson has not laid out a detailed plan, so it is difficult to measure how it would affect revenues or the economy. But based on what he said, he's double counting because corporate revenues are part of the GDP.

A tax rate of 15 percent would be a huge tax cut for the wealthy. The top income tax rate for individuals is now 39.6 percent. The corporate tax rate for corporations is 35 percent.

To help offset the rate cuts, Carson said he would "get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes." That's a bold proposal, considering how popular many tax breaks are, including deductions for interest on home mortgages and charitable contributions, as well as exemptions for health insurance and retirement savings.

“We’ve lost 2 million jobs — 2 million jobs — under this administration in manufacturing.”

— Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.)


This is false. Manufacturing took a huge hit during the Great Recession, so 2 million jobs were lost between December 2007 and June 2009, the official length of the recession, according to government statistics.  But the recession began a year before Obama took office.

Meanwhile, from those depths, manufacturing has slowly crawled its way back. From the start of Obama’s presidency, there are about 250,000 fewer manufacturing jobs. That is still about 1.4 million fewer than the start of the recession, however.

“We’ve lost five million manufacturing jobs just since the year 2000.”



The former Arkansas governor gets this depressing factoid correct. In January of 2000, there were 17.3 million manufacturing jobs in the United States, according to government statistics. As of October of this year, there were just 12.3 million manufacturing jobs.

Huckabee was also right to reach back to 2000, during the Bill Clinton presidency, as that was the high point for manufacturing in the past 20 years. Almost 5 million manufacturing jobs were lost during George W. Bush’s term in office—and the nadir was reached during President Obama’s term, when the United States only had 11.5 million jobs ( only 0.8 million jobs lost). Some of those jobs have been recovered, but the total number of manufacturing jobs is still lower than when Obama took office.

“They have this phony number, 5.2% The real number's like 23%. ”

— Donald Trump

The most commonly-reported unemployment rate is the estimate of unemployment  based on a monthly sample survey of 60,000 households.  The “unemployed” are people who are not working but have actively searched for work, are available to work and are willing and able to work for pay.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a rate that includes people who are employed part-time — but  want and are available for full-time work. This “U-6” employment rate is 9.9 percent, - relatively good.

So why does Trump claim 23 percent? We have no idea, since as usual his campaign refused to explain his reasoning.

Trump’s claims on the unemployment rate would not pass muster in an Economics 101 course. 
Thus he once again earns Four Pinocchios.

“The socialist [Sen. Bernie Sanders] says they’re going to pay for everything and give you everything for free, except they don’t say they’re going to raise it through taxes to 90 percent to do it.”

— Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.)

This is false, though it has increasingly emerged as a GOP talking point. Sanders, an independent from Vermont who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, has not yet released a tax plan, but has has repeatedly denied that he would increase taxes from the current marginal rate of 39.6 percent to 90 percent. (The margin rate is what you pay on each additional dollar earned.)

The United States had a marginal tax rate of 90 percent in the Dwight Eisenhower administration, and then John F. Kennedy reduced it to 70 percent. But even such rates would not take 90 percent of a person’s income.

“What they [Democrats] forgot to tell was that they’re going to raise your tax rates to 70 or 80 percent in order to provide all of that stuff.”

–New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R)

None of the Democratic candidates have said they would boost tax rates so high, even on the wealthy.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, has not yet released a tax plan, but has repeatedly denied that he would increase taxes from the current marginal rate of 39.6 percent to as high as 80 or even 90 percent. (The marginal rate is what you pay on each additional dollar earned.) Sanders claims he would fund his $1 trillion plan to rebuild U.S. infrastructure by tapping corporate profits now stashed in overseas tax havens.


“Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.”

–Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson


Carson has a point, but such a trend did not play out every time the federal minimum wage was raised.

Our friends at PolitiFact have compiled a chart showing the years Congress raised the minimum wage, and the months of job growth in the following one-year period. The chart shows that between 1978 and 2009, raising the federal minimum wage did not always result in a job loss or job growth. In fact, it was split almost evenly; out of the 11 times the minimum wage was raised, there was overall job growth six times, and overall job loss five times.

Still, the Congressional Budget Office projected that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 from the current wage of $7.25 per hour would result in about 500,000 fewer workers having jobs– and possibly up to 1 million workers would be affected. Raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour could result in 100,000 to 200,000 jobs lost, the CBO projected.

Only about 2.6 percent of all wage and salaried workers in the United States are paid at or below federal minimum wage, according to 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Additionally, 23 states (and some municipalities) have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage.

Conventional economic analysis may show that increasing the minimum wage reduces employment by increasing the cost to employers, and by raising the cost of low-wage workers relative to other inputs like machines or technology, the CBO wrote. But conventional economic analysis might not always apply, according to the CBO: “For example, when a firm is hiring more workers and needs to boost pay for existing workers doing the same work—to match what it needs to pay to recruit the new workers—hiring a new worker costs the company not only that new worker’s wages but also the additional wages paid to retain other workers.”

“I’ll tell you the thing that disturbs me the most about what’s going on with the Democratic Party in Washington, that they’re not standing behind our police officers across this country. That they’re allowing lawlessness to reign in this country.”



The crime rate has been decreasing for decades, but you wouldn’t know it just listening to what Christie says about the rampant “lawlessness” in the country.

The violent crime rate has been decreasing steadily since 1991, despite overall population growth. The FBI Uniform Crime Report, which compiles data from law enforcement agencies, shows the violent crime rate decreased by 15 percent since President Obama took office in 2009. In 2011, the violent crime rate was the lowest it had been since 1971.

The murder rate also has been dropping in major American cities, including in New York City. This has been the trend for the past decade, even in cities that once were overrun by crime. This trend holds even despite a blip in some cities this summer.

Ted Cruz’s Four-Pinocchio claim that ‘the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats’

Cruz is wildly off base

Ted Cruz flubs his family's health insurance and blames Obamacare. But its entirely his own fault - then he lies about the premium he has to pay.

Cruz didn’t manage to sign up for a new 2016 plan by Dec. 31. That happened even though the insurer announced its decision to close PPO plans way back on July 23. Five months is normally enough for an educated adult to arrange health insurance. 
"I'm putting up 100 percent of my own money."
THE FACTS: No, he's not.

Of $3.9 million raised for his campaign in the latest fundraising quarter, only $100,000 came from his own pocket. That was one major revelation from the latest batch of presidential fundraising reports, filed Oct. 15 with the Federal Election Commission.

That's a drastic shift from his springtime fundraising report, when he loaned his campaign nearly all of the $1.9 million it had.

TRUMP: Asked about his criticism of Rubio for his support for increasing the number of high-skilled foreign workers given visas to work in the U.S. — calling Rubio Facebook CEO "Mark Zuckerburg's personal senator" — Trump denied ever making the comment. "I never said that. I never said that," he said.

THE FACTS: He did say it, on his own website. Trump's immigration policy calls for a different approach — raising the prevailing wage for the jobs that attract high-skilled foreign workers, in hopes that they'll be filled by more Americans.

Trump's policy statement said doing that "will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program. Mark Zuckerberg's personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities."

Moderator Becky Quick: “You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator because he was in favor of the H-1B [visa].”

Donald Trump: “I never said that. I never said that.”

— Exchange during the CNBC debate

Perhaps Trump should have read his own campaign Web site before the debate.

Among the immigration policy proposals listed on is a proposal to increase the prevailing wage for those in the H-1B program. H-1B visas are granted to highly skilled immigrant workers who are coveted by technology companies, particularly ones in Silicon Valley.

Trump has proposed restricting the H-1B program. He criticized the program for giving away coveted entry-level IT jobs to workers getting flown in cheaper from overseas. More STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) graduates receive degrees than find STEM jobs each year, according to Trump’s proposal. He proposed raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1B visa holders so that entry-level IT jobs can go to “the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers form overseas.”

Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities,” the white paper read. (We could not find any evidence that Trump himself has made this assertion.)

During the debate, Trump denied that he was critical of Zuckerberg, of Facebook: “I am all in favor of keeping these talented people here so they can go to work in Silicon Valley.”

SEN. TED CRUZ: "If you look at a single mom buying groceries, she sees hamburger prices have gone up nearly 40 percent. She sees her cost of electricity going up. She sees her health insurance going up. And loose money is one of the major problems."

THE FACTS: Americans may be facing many economic challenges, but rising inflation isn't one of them. And "loose money," a way of describing the Federal Reserve's low interest rate policies, isn't to blame for expensive hamburgers.

Beef prices rose 21 percent in January of this year compared with a year earlier. That reflected a Midwest drought that had caused some cattle ranchers to cull their herds. Beef prices have since settled down and were up just 1 percent in September from a year earlier.

Electricity costs have actually fallen 0.4 percent during that period. Those are national averages, so some local areas will have different figures. Overall, inflation has remained below even the Fed's 2 percent target for the past three years. In fact, the government's primary inflation measure, the consumer price index, has actually been unchanged in the past 12 months.

“The top 1 percent earn a higher share of our income than any year since 1928.”

— Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.)

Cruz’s comment is based on research by Emmanuel Saez, a University of California at Berkeley economics professor who is often cited for claims on income inequality.

Saez analyzed Internal Revenue Service income data dating to 1913, and found that the top 1 percent in 2012 had the highest share of income since 1928, (the peak of the stock market bubble of the roaring 1920s).

The top 1 percent’s income share fell slightly in 2013 compared to 2012, to 20.1 percent from 22.8 percent. But the trend remained the same. Incomes in the top 1 percent fluctuated more sharply since 1928 compared to the bottom 99 percent. And the bottom 90 percent’s income share did not increase as much as the top decile in recent decades, Saez wrote. “Those at the very top of the income distribution therefore play a central role in the evolution of U.S. inequality over the course of the 20th century,” Saez wrote.

"more than half of Beneficiaries on Disability are getting paid for simple Back Pain and Anxiety." - Rand Paul Even a generous interpretation of the data does not generate a figure close to more than half -- Three Pinocchios
CHRISTIE: FBI Director James Comey said police officers are holding back "because of a lack of support from politicians like the president of the United States."
THE FACTS: That's not what Comey said.

In a speech last week about an alarming rise in crime, Comey said some officers feel under siege because of the spread of viral videos taken by young people with cell phones. Comey said he'd heard about one police official who told his force "their political leadership has no tolerance for a viral video."

But Comey never mentioned Obama or blamed politicians for failing to support police. And Comey made clear he didn't have data to back up his gut impression.

Christie also said when Obama was asked to speak about the issue, he declined to support police. In fact, Obama gave a firm defense of police on Tuesday, telling a police chiefs convention that "this country is safer because of your efforts."

CHRISTIE: The federal government has "stolen" the Social Security Taxes paid by workers and spent it on other things. "It isn't their money any more... It got stolen from them. It's not theirs anymore. The government stole it and spent it a long time ago."

THE FACTS: The money is not stolen, it's borrowed.

Over the past 30 years, Social Security has collected about $2.7 trillion more in payroll taxes than it has paid in benefits. By law, the Treasury Department has invested the surplus in U.S. Treasury bonds.

Over that same time period, the federal government has run budget deficits in all but a few years. To finance the deficits, the government has borrowed money, from other government agencies as well as public debt markets.

The money from Social Security has been spent, but Social Security holds Treasury bonds worth $2.7 trillion, backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Saying the money has been stolen assumes that the federal government will not honor the bonds.

Social Security has been paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes since 2010. The program has been able to pay full benefits because the federal government has honored the bonds.

“They told you that your Social Security money is in a trust fund. All that’s in that trust fund is a pile of IOUs for money they spent on something else a long time ago. And they’ve stolen from you because now they know they cannot pay these benefits and Social Security is going to be insolvent in seven to eight years.”



Christie loves to say this but that doesn’t make it true. And he significantly misstates the date for when Social Security’s trust funds will be depleted; that will not happen for another 20 years (and even then Social Security can pay partial benefits).

An IOU is just a pejorative way of saying “bond.” These bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Until the 2011 debt-ceiling impasse, one could not imagine that any president or Congress would risk defaulting on them because it would damage the nation’s financial standing. Still, Treasury bonds are considered a good bet — deemed to be one of the safest places to keep money.

The bonds are a real asset to Social Security, but they also represent an obligation of the rest of the government. Like any entity that issues debt, such as a corporation, the government will have to make good on its obligations, generally by taking the money out of revenue, reducing expenses or issuing new debt. The action taken really depends on the resources available at the time. There is nothing particularly unusual about this, except that the U.S. government is better placed to make good on these obligations than virtually any other debt-issuer.

Some analysts, however, question whether the Social Security system holding those bonds lowers the cost of paying benefits relative to if the system did not hold them. Since the bonds have to be redeemed by general taxpayers, as a group taxpayers have to provide the same level of revenues to finance benefit payments as if Social Security were not holding any bonds.

So then the question becomes whether the fact that Social Security ran these surpluses in the past improved the government’s overall fiscal position and thereby made it easier for the government to finance the total level of upcoming benefit payments. Some analysts contend that the existence of the earlier Social Security surpluses spurred lawmakers to spend more, resulting in higher public debt.

GEORGE PATAKI: "Hillary Clinton put a server, an unsecure server, in her home as secretary of state. We have no doubt that that was hacked, and that state secrets are out there to the Iranians, the Russians, the Chinese and others."

THE FACTS: The former New York governor, speaking in the undercard debate, exaggerated what's actually known about what happened to the emails of Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for her party's presidential nomination. While Clinton's email server was poorly configured and therefore more susceptible to hacking, there is no evidence of intrusion.

The FBI is studying the server, which was subjected to a phishing attack by Russian-linked hackers while she was secretary of state. It's not known whether she clicked on any attachments, which would have exposed her account. Her account was also apparently the subject of cyberattacks originating in China, South Korea and Germany after she left office in early 2013. Determining whether a hack was sponsored by a nation, rather than just originating from that country, is notoriously difficult.

Associated Press writers Tami Abdollah, Josh Lederman, Josh Boak and Alicia A. Caldwell contributed to this report.

BUSH: "Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up for work."

RUBIO: "Barack Obama missed 60 or 70 percent of his votes" when running for president while he was in the Senate.

THE FACTS: Bush correctly cited Rubio's spotty attendance record in the Senate since running for president, but ignored the fact that this is common when someone in public office runs a White House campaign —and previous candidates were absent far more often. Bush himself is free to run for president as he pleases, because he doesn't have a day job from which to be absent.

For his part, Rubio didn't offer a fair comparison when comparing his Senate voting rate with Obama's.

From Oct. 27, 2014, to Oct. 26, 2015, Rubio was absent for 26 percent of Senate votes, a worse attendance record than other senators running for president, according to an analysis by, which tracks congressional voting records.

But in a comparable period in the 2008 race — from Oct. 23, 2006, to Oct. 22, 2007, Obama was absent for 29 percent of votes, a bit more than Rubio's absences, but not as much more as Rubio charged. Republican John McCain was absent for 51 percent of Senate votes in that period.

Both Obama and McCain went on to miss an even bigger share of Senate votes as the election progressed — an expected development bound to be seen again in 2016.

SEN. RAND PAUL: The new budget agreement "will explode the deficit, it will allow President Obama to borrow unlimited amounts of money."

THE FACTS: The agreement allows $80 billion more spending over the next two years, which is only a small addition to the $3.67 trillion the government spends every year. The government's annual budget deficit has declined to $439 billion, about 2.5 percent of GDP, below the average for the past 40 years.

Overall, whatever its faults, most economists have responded to this week's budget deal between Congress and the White House with a sigh of relief. The agreement, approved by the House earlier Wednesday, sets funding levels and extends the government's borrowing limit for two more years, thereby taking the threat of a government shutdown and debt default off the table.

A 2013 budget fight led to a 16-day partial government shutdown that was widely blamed by most economists for sharp drops in consumer and business confidence that dragged on the economy.

“92 percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women.”

— Former business executive Carly Fiorina

Fiorina, who served as a surrogate for Mitt Romney’s during his 2012 presidential run, recycles a misleading talking point from that unsuccessful campaign — but oddly, she never double-checked the math. The Romney campaign calculated these figures by comparing the decline in the number of all nonfarm employees from January 2009 to March 2012 with the decline in jobs held by women in that period.

While the statistic was technically correct for one month in 2012 — about three years into Obama’s first term — it quickly was dropped by Romney’s campaign because newer economic data made it obsolete.

In the debate, Fiorina claimed that this statistic was true for Obama’s first term. But by the time he took the oath of office a second time, his jobs record was a net winner, both for men and women. So this claim is utterly wrong.

“My record was one of cutting taxes each and every year. You don’t have to guess about it, because I actually have a record: $19 billion of tax cuts, 1.3 million jobs created.”

— Former Florida governor Jeb Bush

Bush repeatedly claims $19 billion in taxes over his eight years as governor, but that is quite misleading. This refers to cumulative state revenue changes as a result of state and federal decisions, and it includes revenue changes from tax and non-tax legislative actions during his tenure as governor.

Moreover, this $19 billion figure includes revenues the state would have received if the federal estate tax credit had not been phased out. There were some states that levied new state taxes to balance out the phase-out of the federal estate tax. Bush didn’t fight the estate tax repeal. But that’s certainly not the same as actively “cutting” those tax revenues from the state budget.

Bush’s 1.3 million jobs number is accurate, as far as it goes, and he avoided claiming that he “led the nation” in job creation. But, as we repeatedly warn, readers should be wary when state executives take credit for the number of jobs in their state. There’s not one policy decision that affects jobs figures.

“For the first time in 35 years, we have more businesses closing than starting.”

— Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

Rubio is referring to a report published in 2014 by the Brookings Institution, which studied Census Bureau data called Business Dynamic Statistics. Brookings analysts tracked data back to 1978 and found that starting in 2008, business deaths exceeded business births.

But note that this started happening seven years ago, while Rubio makes it sound like it is a new development.

“I went into Ohio, where we had an $8 billion hole and now we have a $2 billion surplus. We’re up 347,000 jobs. When I was in Washington, I fought to get the budget balanced. I was the architect. It was the first time we did it since man walked on the moon. We cut taxes and we had a $5 trillion projected surplus when I left.”

— Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R)

These are Kasich’s go-to claims about his record as Ohio governor and chairman of the House Budget Committee. But some of his figures lack context.

The $8 billion figure reflects the breadth of the budget imbalance that Kasich’s administration faced when he took office (the actual figure is $7.7 billion). But the projection did not end up being as high, and the actual shortfall was decreased by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Kasich’s $2 billion figure and jobs numbers largely check out. The $2 billion surplus is the state government’s tally of the rainy day fund. While Bureau of Labor Statistics support his job creation numbers, we’ve frequently urged readers to be wary about such claims. So much of what happens in an economy and the impact on jobs is beyond a single politician’s control.

Kudos to Kasich for clarifying that the $5 trillion surplus was a projection, not an actual surplus, when he left Congress in 2000. We’ve urged him to clarify this point in the past. The figure he uses was a projected, 10-year surplus — but it didn’t end up materializing because of a slower economy, tax cuts and increased government spending after 9/11 in the years after Kasich left Washington.

Donald Trump said banning guns from certain areas makes the them less safe. (CNBC)

“I feel that the gun-free zones and, you know, when you say that, that’s target practice for the sickos and for the mentally ill. That’s target. They look around for gun-free zones. You know, we could give you another example — the Marines, the Army, these wonderful six soldiers that were killed. Two of them were among the most highly decorated — they weren’t allowed on a military base to have guns. And somebody walked in and shot them, killed them. If they had guns, he [the shooter] wouldn’t be around very long. I can tell you, there wouldn’t have been much damage.”

— Businessman Donald Trump

Trump, referring to the shooting at the Naval Reserve center in Chattanooga, Tenn., in July, is wrong on this point. The service members at the Naval Reserve center in Chattanooga, Tenn., were armed. In fact, the military is investigating why they were armed, as the Pentagon has restrictions on who can carry weapons at such facilities.

The FBI said a 24-year-old gunman armed with a semiautomatic assault rifle and a handgun methodically hunted for Marines and sailors to kill.

As The Washington Post’s Adam Goldman reported:

Edward Reinhold, special agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Knoxville, Tenn., provided the first definitive account of the terrorist attack that left four Marines and a Navy petty officer dead.

Reinhold told reporters at a news conference in Chattanooga that Mohammad Youssef Abdul­azeez smashed through the gate of the reserve center last Thursday and was almost immediately confronted by a service member who had his own gun.

The service member fired several rounds, but it has not yet been determined whether he managed to hit Abdulazeez, who quickly entered the reserve center looking for targets, mortally wounding the sailor inside the building.


“We cut our state budget 26 percent in eight years. … In eight years, we never raised taxes, we cut taxes.”
— Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R)

This is Jindal’s go-to line about his record as governor. But he takes too much credit.

The state budget in fiscal 2009, Jindal’s first budget after taking office in 2008, was $34.3 billion. In fiscal 2016, the proposed budget was $25.1 billion. That is a $9.2 billion decrease, or a 26.8 percent decrease.

But this budget decrease was not due to his executive decisions alone. Federal funding also decreased by $10 billion during those eight years, from $19.7 billion to $9.7 billion. Part of this decrease was waning federal funding for hurricane recovery, the Times-Picayune has reported.

 “We have the lowest labor participation rate in 50 years.”


The labor participation rate fell to 62.4 percent in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s actually lowest since 1977, when it touched 62.3 percent — but that’s 38 years, not 50. So Santorum’s a bit off with his figure.

When Obama took office in January, 2009, the workforce participation rate was 65.7 percent. So there has certainly been a decline. But the rate had already been on a steady downward track since it hit a high of 67.3 percent in the last year of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

A key reason? The composition of the labor force has been affected by the retirement of the leading edge of the baby-boom generation.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2012 concluded that just over half of the post-1999 decline in the participation rate comes from the retirement of the baby boomers. Critically, the research showed that the problem is only going to get worse in the rest of the decade, with retirements accounting for two-thirds of the decline of participation rate by 2020. In other words, the rate will keep declining, no matter how well the economy does.

“We are on track to have the smallest army since 1940, the smallest Navy since 1915.”
— Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.)

Will this zombie claim about the shrinking Navy ever go away? Apparently not; we already awarded Graham three Pinocchios earlier this year for the same claim. Fact checkers repeatedly debunked this in the 2012 presidential elections, and it’s being repeated again this time around.

But, surprise: A lot has changed in 100 years, including the need and capacity of ships. After all, it’s a now a matter of modern nuclear-powered fleet carriers, versus gunboats and small warships of 100 years ago. The push for ships under the Reagan era (to build the Navy up to 600-ship levels) no longer exists, and ships from that era are now retiring.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus recently spoke about this problematic ship-counting exercise. There are other ways to measure seapower than just the sheer number of ships, he said: “That’s pretty irrelevant. We also have fewer telegraph machines than we did in World War I and we seem to be doing fine without that. … Look at the capability. Look at the missions that we do.” Plus, the Navy is on track to grow to just over 300 ships, approximately the size that a bipartisan congressional panel has recommended for the current Navy.

As for his statement about the army, Graham is on a bit more solid ground because he’s talking about the number of troops. (Under sequestration, the number of troops was due to be reduced to 420,000 in fiscal year 2016, the lowest since 1940, but the new budget deal will likely change that.) But even then, it’s apples and oranges to compare the capabilities of a World War II army with today’s army.

“G.E. just lost a contract, you know what they did? … They got the Ex-Im bank in France to support it, and what did they do? They moved manufacturing out of South Carolina, out of Texas, moved to — Hungary, and to France. G.E. is still making money. G.E. is still doing well, but American workers are out of jobs. That’s why we have to have this level playing field so we can compete with the rest of the world.”


That the Export-Import Bank levels the playing field for the U.S. economy is a common argument for reauthorizing the federal agency. But there are data limitations to how the Ex-Im Bank’s loans has affected American jobs.

The Government Accountability Office in 2013 found that there are limitations to the method the bank uses to keep track of employment figures. This method plays an essential role in the bank’s jobs calculation process, the GAO found.

But because of limitations out of the agency’s direct control, the GAO found that the data “cannot be used to distinguish between jobs that were newly created and those that were maintained.”


The Fox Debate

Nov 10 2015:
Fox Business News aired two GOP presidential debates Tuesday: a prime-time event starring eight candidates and an earlier debate featuring four second-tier contenders, based on an average of recent polls.

Not every candidate uttered facts that are easily fact checked, but following is a list of 15 suspicious or interesting claims. As is our practice, we do not award Pinocchios when we do a roundup of facts in debates. (some moved to top)

“Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”
–Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

This was a great line by Rubio, well delivered, but it’s totally off base.

The median wage of welders is $37,420, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median wage for philosophy teachers is $63,630, according to BLS.

In fact, the average first-year salary for college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy is $42,200—with a mid-career average of $85,000, according to For college professors, the median salary is $89,913, with the top 10 percent having a salary near $200,000.

By contrast, the top 10 percent salary for welders is only about $58,590, BLS says.

“Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him. ‘I like Ike,’ right? The expression. ‘I like Ike.’ Moved a 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country, moved them just beyond the border. They came back.  Moved them again beyond the border, they came back. Didn’t like it. Moved them way south. They never came back.”

–businessman Donald Trump 

Trump likes to cite this historical example to defend his plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, but never uses its now-politically-incorrect name, “Operation Wetback.”

As our colleague Yanan Wang documented in September, this campaign dumped hundreds of thousands of Mexican migrants back into Mexico, with few resources to fend for themselves: “Unloaded from buses and trucks carrying several times their capacity, the deportees stumbled into the Mexicali streets with few possessions and no way of getting home….After one such round-up and transfer in July, 88 people died from heat stroke.”

Moreover, researchers now believe claims that more than one million people were deported to be highly exaggerated, with the actual figure closer to 250,000.

“We ought to look at where income inequality seems to be the worst. It seems to be the worst in cities run by Democrats.”

–Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

A Brookings Institution report appears to confirm Paul’s claim. But at The Fact Checker, we always warn readers against correlating the economic trends in a city or state to policy decisions of a single executive – or in this case, his or her party.

A study by the Brookings Institution ranked the top 10 and bottom 10 largest cities in the country by income inequality, using 2012 Census data. PolitiFact rated Paul’s statement Half True, based on this study.

Among the 10 cities with the highest income inequality, nine had Democratic mayors. Atlanta, under a Democratic mayor, had the highest inequality out of the nation’s largest cities. The other cities led by Democrats were San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Oakland, Chicago, Los Angeles and Baltimore.

PolitiFact found that seven of the 10 cities in the report with the least income inequality had Republican mayors: Oklahoma City; Omaha, Neb.; Fort Worth, Texas; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Mesa, Ariz.; Arlington, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Va.

The 10 cities with the least inequality obviously are smaller cities than the ones in the top 10, while larger cities have wider ranges of income distribution since they have more people.

“We have to recognize that small businesses right now, more of them are closing than are being set up.”

–Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

This is stale statistic, derived from a report published in 2014 by the Brookings Institution, which studied Census Bureau data called Business Dynamic Statistics. Brookings analysts tracked data back to 1978 and found that starting in 2008, business deaths exceeded business births through 2011.

It soon became a favorite GOP talking point (Marco Rubio used it in the last debate). But that report is out of date. More recent data shows the trend shifted in 2012 and in the past two years, business starts began to exceed business deaths.

“Only 19.8 percent of black teenagers have a job, who are looking for one.”


In saying he was against increasing the minimum wage, Carson cited a figure for black teenage unemployment that seemed suspiciously high to some viewers. Apparently he meant to refer to the unemployment rate, though it came out sounding like he was saying 80 percent were unemployed.

But then a 19.8 percent unemployment rate sounded suspiciously low. Indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that it stood at 25.6 percent as of October.

The Carson campaign initially sent a 2013 report from the American Enterprise Institute that said black male teens has a jobless rate for black male teens was 44.3 percent—but 19.8 percent for white male teens.  Oops. Then we were sent a pair of studies that shows the summer jobless rate for black teens was 19 percent. Seems like a shifting of the goal posts, but apparently he was talking about summer employment. He just didn’t make that very clear.

“We also must recognize that it’s [Syria] a very complex place. You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there.”


We note this comment because it is very puzzling. The Chinese are in Syria? The Carson campaign did not respond to a query.

But while there were reports in the Middle East media that China would fight alongside Russia in Syria, that has been dismissed by the Chinese media as “speculative nonsense.” A newspaper tied to the ruling Communist party noted, “It’s not China that brought chaos to Syria, and China has no reason to rush to the frontlines and play a confrontational role,” it said.

“I don’t have to give you a website because I’m self-funding my campaign. I’m putting up my own money. I want to do something really special.”


This may have been true at the start of his campaign, but it’s no longer valid though Trump loves to keep saying this line. In the third quarter of this year, the Trump campaign received $4 million in unsolicited donations, according to the campaign’s latest financial filing. Since launching the campiagn, Trump has spent about $2 million of his own money, the filing said.

“In the two hours during this debate … two veterans have taken their lives out of despair.


Carson appears to cite the common statistic that 22 veterans commit suicide a day. At best, this figure is a rough, outdated estimate based on partial data.

This statistic comes from the VA’s 2012 Suicide Data Report, for which researchers analyzed death certificates of veterans from 21 states, from 1999 to 2011. They took the percentage of veteran deaths identified as suicides, out of all suicides from those states during that period. Then they applied that percentage to the number of suicides in the United States in a given year. That comes out to 22 suicides a day.

But the sample size was fewer than half the states, and did not include some states with the largest veteran populations (such as Arizona, California, Texas and North Carolina). Researchers who wrote this report provided a major caveat about their findings: “It is recommended that the estimated number of veterans be interpreted with caution due to the use of data from a sample of states and existing evidence of uncertainty in veteran identifiers on U.S. death certificates.” The Department of Veterans Affairs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Defense Department have been working on a larger study to accurately quantify the suicide problem among veterans.

Suicide is a serious concern among veterans, and Americans at large. In fact, suicides among veterans happen at a higher rate than Americans in general.

“We have no idea who these people are. What we do know is that only one out of five of the so-called ‘Syrian Refugees’ who went into Europe were actually Syrian.”

–Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 

Huckabee appears to be citing data from a flawed article that appeared in the tabloid Daily Mail in September.  That one in five figure is simply wrong.

The U. N. High Commissioner for Refugees reports that of the nearly 800,000 refugees arriving by sea in 2015, 52 percent are from Syria, followed by 19 percent from Afghanistan and 6 percent from Iraq. (Nearly 3,500 people were dead or missing because of the sea journey.) Obviously, both Afghanistan and Iraq are also war-torn countries.

About 650,000 refugees arrived in Greece, followed by nearly 150,000 in Italy.

UNHCR also says there are nearly 4.3 million registered Syrian refugees, with more than 2 million living in Turkey, 1 million in Lebanon and more than 600,000 in Jordan.

“Over 50 percent of children being raised in a home today of a single mom are raised in a home where the father … is living at the time the child is born. Now what does that mean? That means we have incentivized people not to marry. We’ve incentivized people to cohabitate than marry.”

–Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.)

It’s not entirely clear where Santorum got his figure, or how the father “living” at the time the child is born is an incentive not to marry the mother.

In any case, a 2014 Pew Research Center analysis of 2013 Census data show that 46 percent of children younger than 18 years old are living in a “traditional” family — a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage. According to the analysis, 34 percent of children in 2013 were living with an unmarried parent, and most of the unmarried parents were single. Four percent of all children were living with two cohabiting parents.

Santorum may be referring to a report, referenced in a 2014 Associated Press article, by researchers at Harvard University and Cornell University that found found that at least half of mothers who were cohabiting when their child was born were still in relationships with the child’s biological father five years later. More couples are cohabitating, and the trend likely will continue because many couples are postponing marriage until their finances are more stable, according to the article, citing research by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The National Center for Health Statistics also found that nonmarital births increasingly are likely to occur among cohabiting couples, though the rate of births of unmarried women has decreased since the peak in 2008.

“We’ve cut our budget 26 percent.”

–Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R)

This is one of Jindal’s favorite boasts about his record, but he takes too much credit for saying he “cut” the state budget 26 percent.

The state budget in fiscal 2009, Jindal’s first budget after taking office in 2008, was $34.3 billion. In fiscal 2016, the proposed budget was $25.1 billion. That is a $9.2 billion decrease, or 26.8 percent.

But this budget decrease was not due to his executive decisions alone. Federal funding also decreased by $10 billion during those eight years, from $19.7 billion to $9.7 billion. Part of this decrease was due to waning federal funding for hurricane recovery, according to the Times-Picayune.

============================================================================================================== Dec 15 2015

 “We need the private sector’s help because the government is not innovating, technology is running ahead by leaps and bounds…They must be engaged and they must be asked. I will ask them.” 

CARLY FIORINA, speaking of security threats to the U.S.:

THE FACTS: They’ve been asked.

The Obama administration has been in discussions with technology companies, especially in Silicon Valley, over the last year about the use of encrypted communications and how the government can penetrate them for national security purposes. After the attack in San Bernardino, California, Obama again said he would urge high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape justice.

That’s not to say the effort has been effective. But as in the case of candidates talking about the campaign against ISIS, Fiorina pitches something that is in motion.

“When you had the World Trade Center go, people were put into planes – that were friends, family, girlfriends – and they were sent back for the most part to Saudi Arabia. They knew what was going on. They went home and they wanted to watch their boyfriends on television.”

– Donald Trump

Trump slightly modified a claim that the Sept. 11 hijackers had sent their wives home before the attacks — which earned him Four Pinocchios — but it’s still completely false. Now, it’s no longer wives — The Fact Checker previously documented that virtually none of the hijackers were married – but “friends, family, girlfriends” who were sent home to watch.

But the comprehensive Sept. 11 investigation found that the hijackers had largely cut off contact with their families — and none had their families in the United States. One hijacker, Ziad Jarrah (who was on United 93) had a girlfriend of Turkish descent — who lived in Germany and visited him in the United States — but there is no evidence she knew what was going to happen.

Jarrah mailed her a letter just before the attacks, which arrived weeks later, apologizing for letting her think that he planned to marry her.  “I did not run away from you, I did what I had to do, you should be proud,” he wrote.

“The prior program only covered a relatively narrow slice of phone calls … primarily landlines. The USA Freedom Act expands that so now we have cell phones, now we have Internet phones, now we have the phones that terrorists are likely to use. … The old program covered 20 percent to 30 percent of phone numbers to search for terrorists. The new program covers nearly 100 percent.”

– Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas)

Cruz’s description of the impact of the USA Freedom Act is not accurate.

The bill ended the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records and scaled back the collection program. The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima described this bill as a “milestone in the post-9/11 world,” as it placed significant limits on the government’s data collection.

The old program did cover a percentage of calls, as Cruz said. And now, under the new bill, the potential universe of records that the government has access to could be 100 percent of records. But it’s not how Cruz described it..

The bill limited data collection to the “greatest extent reasonably practical.” The government now needs a court order to collect up to “two hops” of call records related to a suspect. The government now needs to prove it has reasonable suspicion that the suspect whose phone records it is seeking to collect is linked to a terrorist organization. As The Post reported, this means the government “can’t collect all data pertaining to a particular service provider or broad geographic region, such as a city or area code.”

This bill does authorize phone companies to have access to cellular phone records. But the bill would not dramatically increase cell phone data collection, PolitiFact found. The law does not affect how phone companies maintain or collect their records — because cellular service providers always have had access to cellular metadata.

“The metadata program was a valuable tool that we no longer have at our disposal.”

– Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida)

Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz faced off in a debate over metadata on Dec. 15 at the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas. (CNN)

Rubio made this argument during his debate over the provisions of the USA Freedom Act with Cruz. Cruz misstated that the bill expanded the government’s access to records, but Rubio’s retort also is misleading.

It depends what Rubio meant by “at our disposal.” The government still has a metadata program, but it is now a targeted program rather than a bulk collection program, under the USA Freedom Act. The bill ended the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records, and scaled back the program.

The bill limited data collection to the “greatest extent reasonably practical.” But the bill also allows the government to pursue metadata records with a court order, and must prove that it has reasonable suspicion that the suspect whose phone records it is seeking to collect is linked to a terrorist organization.

As we noted earlier, the bill does not change how cell phone companies maintain or collect metadata.

“People are pouring across the southern border.”


Trump is ignoring data that illegal immigration flows have fallen to their lowest level in at least two decades. The nation’s population of illegal immigrants, which more than tripled to 12.2 million between 1990 and 2007, has dropped by about 1 million, according to demographers at the Pew Research Center.

In 2000, considered the peak of the flood of illegal Mexican migration, more than 1.6 million people were apprehended, according to Department of Homeland Security data. Those numbers have plunged to about 400,000 per year since 2012 and are down 28 percent in the first part of fiscal 2015 compared with last year.

The Pew Hispanic Center’s 2012 report on Mexican immigration also found a sharp downward trend in net migration from Mexico, since the peak of nearly 7 million in 2007.

“That means you stop the Obama administration’s policy of releasing criminal illegal aliens. Do you know how many aliens Bill Clinton deported? 12 million. Do you know how many illegal aliens, George W. Bush deported? 10 million.”

– Cruz

Cruz is using some slippery phrasing to come up with a really big numbers under the rubric of “deportation.” Under Department of Homeland Security definitions, there is a simple form of voluntary deportation known as “return” — a “confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States not based on an order of removal.”

There is also a more formal type of deportation, known as “removal” — “the compulsory and confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States based on an order of removal. An alien who is removed has administrative or criminal consequences placed on subsequent reentry.” That’s a more serious form of deportation — trying to reenter the United States again is deemed a felony — and that’s generally the number used in media reports.

If you look at this chart, you can see the formal type of deportation has soared under Obama, even as “total deportations” have declined. The shift stems from a  combination of new laws, administration policies and changes in immigration patterns. Skeptics of immigration have accused the administration of cooking the numbers to make its deportation policies look better, but Cruz himself is mixing apples and oranges.

“One of the things I would immediately do, in addition to defeating them here at home, is bring back the warrior class — Petraeus, McChrystal, Mattis, Keane, Flynn. Every single one of these generals I know. Everyone was retired early because they told President Obama things that he didn’t want to hear.”

– Carly Fiorina

Fiorina appears to have forgotten the circumstances under which David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal departed the administration.

Petreaus, a retired four-star general, resigned in 2012 as CIA director after an FBI investigation turned up evidence that he was involved in an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, his biographer. Petreaus later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified materials that he gave to Broadwell.

In the case of McChrystal, he was fired in 2010 by President Obama when he was the top commander in Afghanistan after Rolling Stone magazine published an article in which the general’s top aides were scornful of administration officials.

“To put things in perspective, in the first Persian Gulf War, we launched roughly 1,100 air attacks a day. We carpet bombed them for 36 days, saturation bombing, after which our troops went in and in a day and a half mopped up what was left of the Iraqi army.”


Cruz oddly refers to “carpet bombing” — a type of air campaign bombing sections of a city that has not been used since during the Vietnam War.

In defending his promise to “carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion,” Cruz said he would use “overwhelming air power to utterly and completely destroy ISIS” – as the United States did during the first Gulf War. Cruz must have missed the memo that the United States developed laser-guided “smart bombs” that were introduced into warfare during the Gulf War.

A February 1991 New York Times article heralded the invention of the laser-guided bomb, which “greatly enhanced the effectiveness of the attacks.” Precision bombs were used during an American raid on Libya in 1986, the Times reported, but the method was not perfected and the bombs appeared to have missed their targets.

“But a new generation of powerful, relatively cheap miniature computers and guidance systems has rendered allied bombs and missiles in use against Iraq capable of achieving almost incredible accuracy. This technical revolution, military experts say, has profoundly changed the face of war,” the Times reported.

“One of the most troubling aspects of the Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight Bill was that it gave President Obama blanket authority to admit refugees, including Syrian refugees without mandating any background checks whatsoever.”


Cruz attacked Rubio on the 2013 Gang of 8 immigration bill that Rubio co-sponsored, but inaccurately described the refugee designation provision. examined this claim closely. The bill authorizes the president to designate refugee status to certain groups of people based on humanitarian concerns or “is otherwise in the national interest.” This differs from the current law, which requires refugees to show they can’t, or won’t, return to their home country because of persecution, or fear of persecution.

But obtaining a refugee designation would not automatically mean that the group would be resettled into the United States as refugees, found. Experts interviewed by said while the provision allows such groups of people to be considered for refugee resettlement more easily than they would have under current law, it does not waive security or other admissibility requirements to be admitted into the United States as resettled refugees.

“ISIS put out a fatwa on disabled children and killed dozens of them because of their disability.”

– Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.)

Santorum cited an unverified Internet rumor in his closing statement.

A Fox News article reported Iraqi activists’ claims that ISIS militants reportedly have “authorized the terror group’s members to kill newborn babies with Down syndrome, as well as other disabled children.” The activists also claimed that 38 babies have been killed since an “oral fatwa” was issued. But Fox News could not confirm the information.

This claim comes from a Facebook post by Mosul Eye, a blog and Facebook group run by someone described as “an independent historian inside Mosul.” Several other blogs and websites also have reported this claim, but no one has able to independently verify it.

“Here’s what I want to tell the Arab world and Turkey. We’re not going to send 100,000 troops. You’re going to do the fighting this time and we’re gonna help you. We paid for the last two wars, you’re gonna pay for this one.”

– Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (South Carolina)

While the United States was largely on the hook for the cost of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Graham appears to have forgotten that the first Persian Gulf War — waged in 1991 under President George H.W. Bush — was largely underwritten by Arab allies.

“U.S. allies provided $54 billion against the estimated $61 billion of incremental costs,” the Defense Department said in a 1992 report to Congress. “Roughly two-thirds of these commitments were from the Gulf states directly threatened by Iraq, with the other one-third largely coming from Japan and Germany.”

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates paid about $32 billion in cash and in kind.

“New York Police Department had a very active program using intelligence in certain Muslim communities — consistent with our Constitution, consistent with civil rights – so that they can have the intelligence as to where these sermons are being given, and who is being radicalized. And they stopped and prevented dozens and dozens of attacks in New York.”

– former New York governor George Pataki

Pataki falsely claimed success for this controversial NYPD program.

The Associated Press revealed in 2011 that the Demographics Unit in NYPD’s intelligence unit was covertly monitoring mosques, and that the department was watching for the “likelihood of them being infiltrated by al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups.” In the initial report, the AP cited a former NYPD official as saying in a deposition that there was only one way to measure the program’s success: “They haven’t attacked us.”

But the program never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the AP revealed in 2012.  Assistant Chief Thomas Galati testified as part of a federal civil rights case that none of the information collected by the Demographics Unit led to a case.

“Related to demographics, I can tell you that information that have come in has not commenced an investigation,” Galati testified.

There have been repeated claims in the media — including ones made by the NYPD — that the department has helped prevent 14 terrorist plots against New York since 9/11, ProPublica reported. But the figure “overstates both the number of serious, developed terrorist plots against New York and exaggerates the NYPD’s role in stopping attacks,” according to ProPublica. In response to this report, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “we’ll never know” how many plots the department truly thwarted.

A group of Muslims sued the city of New York, claiming the department’s surveillance violated their constitutional rights. It was dismissed, but it was revived in October 2015 after an appeals court decided the plaintiffs “had standing to sue and had presented valid claims under the Constitution,” the New York Times reported.

The program was shut down in 2014.

“I’d like to stop sending $350 billion overseas to buy oil from people who hate our guts, wouldn’t you?”


Graham completely overstates the contribution of Arab nations to U.S. oil imports.

The total annual value of crude oil imports is more than $300 billion. But according to the Energy Information Administration, for the year to date, Canada is responsible for about 42 percent — compared to just 15 percent for Saudi Arabia and 6 percent for other Arab nations. While Saudi Arabia is the second biggest supplier of crude oil to the United States, another friendly U.S. neighbor, Mexico, ranks third.

Canada and Mexico together account for more than 50 percent of U.S. imports. Last time we checked, they don’t hate Americans’ guts.

================================================================================================ Jan 2016

“Someone who lies to the families of those four victims of Benghazi can never be the president of the United States.” 

–Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

Rubio once again claimed that then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton lied to the families of the victims of the Benghazi attacks and asserted that the attack took place because of a YouTube video.

As we have noted, the evidence for this claim is murky and open to interpretation. But Rubio really goes too far in suggesting that she told this to all of the families of the four who were killed in the terrorist attacks. Here’s the rundown of what we know:

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens

bulletHis father says Clinton did not mention a video.

State Department Information Specialist Sean Smith

bulletHis mother says every administration official, including Clinton, cited the video.

Former Navy Seal Tyrone Woods

bulletHis father says Clinton cited the video as the cause
bulletHis mother says Clinton did not mention the video

Former Navy Seal Glen Doherty

bulletHis mother says Clinton did not mention a video
bulletHis sister says she did not mention a video but referenced a “spontaneous protest”

At the very least, Rubio cannot so sweepingly declare that she made such statements to “the families of those four victims.” Some of those family members say they did not hear that.

It is also the case that that Rubio-Schumer amnesty bill, one of the things it did is it expanded Barack Obama’s power to let in Syrian refugees. It enabled him — the president to certify them en masse without mandating meaningful background checks.

–Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

This is false. Cruz previously earned Four Pinocchios for making this claim in an ad.


The 2013 immigration bill, known as S.744, was forged by a bipartisan group known as the “Gang of Eight”and passed the Senate but was never taken up in the House. The Cruz campaign has cited an analysis that the bill would have allow categorical refugee status on various groups of refugees. But immigration experts have said that this is simply wrong. 

The provision in the bill is simply a codification of something known as the Lautenberg amendment, which was enacted in 1990 as a rider in an appropriations bill and, thus, must be renewed each year. The provision eases the burden of proof for the applicant after the State Department has invited a particular group to apply for refugee status for reasons of “humanitarian concern,” such as religious persecution.


The Lautenberg amendment originally was aimed at refugees from the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia but over time has been expanded to include religious minorities. Essentially, it streamlines the process but does not waive many background checks.


With or without the Senate immigration bill, Obama had the authority to admit refugees, from any country, under the Refugee Act of 1980, as long as they are refugees and are admissible. Every president since the passage of the law — Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama — has exercised that right repeatedly for hundreds of thousands of refugees.

“First, I didn’t support Sonia Sotomayor. Secondly, I never wrote a check to Planned Parenthood.”

–New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R )

Christie is being misleading on both fronts.

He did support President Obama’s nomination of Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court, although begrudgingly.

Christie first opposed her nomination, saying in a radio interview during the 2009 gubernatorial primary she was “not my kind of judge.” Then, in July 2009, Christie released a statement expressing support, even though she “would not have been my first choice.”

His statement supporting Sotomayor read: “After watching and listening to Judge Sotomayor’s performance at the confirmation hearings this week, I am confident that she is qualified for the position of Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Elections have consequences. One of those consequences are judicial appointments. While Judge Sotomayor would not have been my choice, President Obama has used his opportunity to fill a seat on the Supreme Court by choosing a nominee who has more than proven her capability, competence and ability.”

On Planned Parenthood, it’s not clear exactly what happened. In 1994, Christie was quoted as saying that he supported “Planned Parenthood privately with my personal contribution and that should be the goal of any such agency, to find private donations.” (Christie was pro-choice in 1994, but then became pro-life.)

Now, he says he never made the donation. His campaign said there is no record of the donation – of course, given that Planned Parenthood is a non-profit and doesn’t disclose private donations, there wouldn’t be a record. Planned Parenthood couldn’t confirm a donation either, because of its policy not to disclose donors’ information.

Christie recently said he was misquoted in that 1994 article, which was even quoted in a 2012 biography of Christie by Bob Ingle and Michael Symons. Why it took 22 years to point out this error publicly, we’re not sure.

“If you look at my record as governor of New Jersey, I have vetoed a .50-caliber rifle ban. I have vetoed a reduction in clip size. I have vetoed a statewide-ID system for gun owners, and I have pardoned six out-of-state folks who came through our state and were arrested for owning a gun legally in another state, so they never had to face charges.”


Christie has a mixed control on gun control. While he highlights the pro-gun actions he took, Christie also signed into law 10 other measures that tightened gun restrictions in New Jersey. The state is considered to have some of the toughest gun restrictions.

Christie endorsed gun reform bills when he became governor in 2009. He called for a ban on the .50-caliber rifle. Then, in 2013, Christie vetoed the .50-caliber rifle ban sent by the legislature, saying he had wanted a narrower ban.

In fact, in 2013, Christie touted his support for banning the .50 caliber rifle and requiring photo identification for firearms purchasers as measures “responsibly expanding New Jersey’s already stringent gun control measures.” The news release is still on the Governor’s Office website.

Christie has become more pro-gun since he took office in 2009 as governor. Recently, The Fact Checker found that Christie flip-flopped in his description of how his experience as United States attorney in New Jersey for seven years shaped his views on gun laws. In 2009, he said his law enforcement experience made him more pro-gun control. Now, he says the experience helped shape his pro-gun views.

“When I looked at the migration, I looked at the line … where are the women? They look like — very few women, very few children — strong, powerful men. Young. And people are looking at that, and they’re saying, ‘What’s going on?’”

–businessman Donald Trump

In answering a question about refugees from Syria, Trump incorrectly cited refugee demographics data.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) data show men and women are split evenly among 4.6 million registered Syrian refugees. These numbers reflect Syrian refugees registered by UNHCR in a number of countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. According to the data as of Dec. 31, 2015, 6.5 percent are “young men” of 12 to 17 years old. Another 22.2 percent of the refugees are men over 18 years old. The rest are women, girls and boys.  So clearly, this data set does not support Trump’s description of refugees as mostly young men.

There is another dataset, the “sea arrivals,” that supports his claim. This is the UNHCR count of refugees and migrants who cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. There were just over one million arrivals by sea in 2015, and 49 percent of them were men. Women comprised 19 percent and children comprised 31 percent. But Syrians comprise 48 percent of the total sea arrivals.

“The FBI director told the American people, told Congress, that he could not guarantee that he could vet them [Syrian refugees] and it would be safe.” 


Christie overstated what FBI director James Comey said in congressional testimony.

Comey made his remarks in response to a bill that would have required Comey to personally certify that every single refugee admitted into the country was not a security threat. “Could I certify to there being no risk associated with an individual?” Comey said on Dec. 9. “The bureau doesn’t take positions on legislation, and we don’t get involved in policy decisions. But that practically would be impossible.”

Comey has made it clear that the process in place to vet refugees has gotten better but there is nothing that is “risk-free.”

“We have the lowest percentage of Americans working today of any year since 1977.”


The labor participation rate fell to 62.4 percent in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is the lowest since 1977, when it touched 62.3 percent. (The rate inched up to 62.6 percent in December.)

When Obama took office in January, 2009, the workforce participation rate was 65.7 percent. So there has certainly been a decline. But the rate had already been on a steady downward track since it hit a high of 67.3 percent in the last year of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

A key reason? The composition of the labor force has been affected by the retirement of the leading edge of the Baby Boom generation.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2012 concluded that just over half of the post-1999 decline in the participation rate comes from the retirement of the baby boomers. Critically, the research showed that the problem is only going to get worse in the rest of the decade, with retirements accounting for two-thirds of the decline of participation rate by 2020. In other words, the rate will keep declining, no matter how well the economy does.

“Look, I have an A plus rating in the NRA and we also have a reduction in gun violence because in Florida, if you commit a crime with a gun, you’re going away. You’re going away for a long, long while.”

–former governor Jeb Bush (R-Fla.)

Some types of gun violence decreased while Bush was governor of Florida, but not all. And after Bush left office in 2007, Florida saw a spike in gun violence for a few years.

Overall crime decreased while Bush was governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. The downward trend continued after he left office, and is consistent with crime rates overall in the country.

This is not an exhaustive look at gun violence in Florida, but we crunched the numbers in three key categories of gun violence to see how they fared between 1999 and 2006 – and how they fared two years after Bush left office. Murders by firearm were at three per 100,000 in 1999, then four per 100,000 in 2006. But it increased to 4.4 per 100,000 in 2007, and then came back down to 3.5 per 100,000 in 2014.

Aggravated assaults with firearms and gun robberies went down while Bush was in office, but also spiked right after he left. But the rates per 100,000 for both categories were far lower in 2014 than when Bush first took office, indicating an overall decrease in firearm violence over nearly two decades.

The Sun-Sentinel reported in 2015 that Bush enacted pro-gun measures in Florida while in office, including the Stand Your Ground law. An investigation by the Sun Sentinel in 2007 found that 1,400 Floridians who had pleaded guilty or no contest to felonies still obtained concealed-weapons licenses.

As we often warn at The Fact Checker, there are trends within a city or state that can’t be accredited to the policy decisions of one city or state executive. The Center for Public Integrity’s investigation into gun violence in Florida found that there is no clear answer to explain the trend in murders by guns in Florida from 2000 to 2013.

Gun control advocates believe the increase in gun murders during those years are related to the increase in gun ownership in Florida. But pro-gun advocates say that’s misleading, because overall rates of crime and homicides have gone down over the decades.

“I stood yesterday with 75 construction workers. They’re tough, they’re strong, they’re great people. Half of them had tears pouring down their face. They were watching the humiliation of our young ten sailors, sitting on the floor with their knees in a begging position, their hands up. And Iranian wise guys having guns to their heads.


In his closing statement, Trump referenced the brief capture of U.S. sailors by Iran, who had wandered into Iran’s territorial waters. The sailors were quickly released, but the incident was frequently mentioned in the debates.


We were struck by Trump’s claim that the Iranians had guns to the heads of the Americans. While he is correct that the men were on their knees, we reviewed the 12 photographs released by Iran and the video (below) and did not see such an image. Briefly, one can see an Iranian sailor holding a firearm on a boat floating near the American vessel. 


“We have record numbers of men out of work. We have record numbers of women living in poverty.”

–Carly Fiorina

The first part of this statement is a bizarre claim, apparently touted by right-leaning Web sites. The former corporate chief executive appears to be referring to the number of men not in the labor force. The figure in the December jobs report reached a total of 38,233,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But only about 2.6 million of those men actually want a job, while a little under a million are marginally attached to the labor force (such as discouraged from seeking work). The other 34 million men are retired or simply are not interested in working, such as stay-at-home parents. So it’s highly misleading to claim that these men are “out of work.”

As for the number of women in poverty, that’s correct in terms of raw numbers, according to the Census Bureau. But raw numbers are inherently misleading, as the population of the United States continues to grow, and so the official poverty rate has not changed over the years. An alternative poverty rate, known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure, indicates the rate had dropped significantly since the mid-1960s.

“The hate crimes in this country — over 5,500 — about 1,100 were religious hate crimes. And of those, 58 percent were directed toward Jews. Only 16 were toward Muslims.”

–Former governor Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.)

Huckabee’s reference to FBI’s Uniform Crime Report hate crime figures checks out. But there are some caveats to note.

The 2014 Uniform Crime Report’s hate crimes data show that of the 6,727 hate crime incidents, 1,140 were victims of anti-religious hate crimes. Of those 1,140, 56.8 percent were victims of crimes motivated by anti-Jewish bias, and 16.1 percent were victims of anti-Muslim bias.

Crime data in the Uniform Crime Report are vastly underreported, as it only captures voluntary reporting from a fraction of police jurisdictions in the country. (The FBI has promised to improve its crime tracking system, particularly on fatal police shootings, after The Washington Post revealed just how underreported the police shootings were in 2015.)

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that anti-Muslim hate crimes have been rising since 2012, although hate crimes in general decreased in 2014. Given other figures reported in Bureau of Justice Statistics studies, the real number of hate crimes could be 25 to 40 percent higher than FBI totals, which “means the real 2014 total of anti-Muslim hate crimes could be as many as 6,000 or more,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

As our Wonkblog colleagues reported, anti-Muslim hate crimes rose more than tenfold after the 9/11 attacks, and in the years since, have hovered in the 100-150 range. This is about five times higher than the rate prior to 9/11 attacks.

“It’s the smallest navy we’ve had since 1915, when my grandfather got on a destroyer in World War I when he was in the U.S. Navy.”


This zombie claim gets repeated in literally every GOP debate, and apparently won’t ever go away. Fact checkers repeatedly debunked this in the 2012 presidential elections, and it’s being repeated again this time around. We awarded Three Pinocchios when it re-entered the campaign rhetoric last year. So, let’s review it again.

A lot has changed in 100 years, including the need and capacity of ships. After all, it’s a now a matter of modern nuclear-powered fleet carriers, versus gunboats and small warships of 100 years ago. The push for ships under the Reagan era (to build the Navy up to 600-ship levels) no longer exists, and ships from that era are now retiring.

There are other ways to measure seapower than just the sheer number of ships, according to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus: “That’s pretty irrelevant. We also have fewer telegraph machines than we did in World War I and we seem to be doing fine without that. … Look at the capability. Look at the missions that we do.” Plus, the Navy is on track to grow to just over 300 ships, approximately the size that a bipartisan congressional panel has recommended for the current Navy.

“The bottom line is, I put the original sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program when I was in the United States Senate.”

–Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.)

 Bottom line, this is a ridiculous embellishment of the historical record.

As we have documented before, in 2004 Santorum introduced a bill to help foster democracy in Iran but it went nowhere; in 2005, he introduced a similar bill that also would have included some sanctions, but it also went nowhere. In 2006, he tried to attach the bill to a defense spending bill — and was defeated, in large part because the Bush administration opposed it, fearing it would undo delicate efforts to begin a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff.

A revised version of legislation, giving the president waiver authority to terminate the sanctions with as little as a three-day notice, eventually was approved. But it’s false to claim that this bill were the “original sanctions.” In effect, the law made relatively minor modifications to the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996, which was the first law that authorized U.S. penalties against third-country companies involved in Iran’s nuclear activities.

The Congressional Research Service in a 2014 report says that no sanctions have been imposed using the sanctions section of Santorum’s law. In fact, the comprehensive CRS report, over 78 pages, barely mentions the Santorum legislation, which was relatively minor footnote in the effort to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. 

“There are criminals running around with guns who shouldn’t have them. We don’t prosecute any of them. Less than 1 percent.”


Fiorina appears to be referring to claim we have examined before—that only 44 people (out of nearly 73,000 denials) were prosecuted in 2010 for trying to buy a gun. Almost 35,000 people had felony convictions and nearly 14,000 were fugitives, but the prosecutions amounted to just 0.06 percent of denials.

The FBI referred these cases to an arm of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), but after a review 90 percent were not deemed worthy of further investigation while another 4 percent turned out to be incorrect denials. But then even of the relatively small percentage of cases referred to ATF field offices, another quarter turned out to be a case of mistaken denial and most of the rest had no prosecutorial merit.

But it’s worth noting that these were federal cases, and prosecutors often are reluctant to conduct “paperwork prosecutions.” But there is evidence in state reports that hundreds of fugitives every year are captured when they tried to buy guns. Local authorities are notified by FBI examiners that a fugitive is at a gun store, leading to an arrest and trial on the outstanding warrants. But those convictions are not captured in the federal data.

Rand Paul on ‘The Daily Show’

“Here’s a regulation: The Clean Water Act says you cannot discharge pollutants into navigable streams. … Over time, we’ve decided dirt is a pollutant and my backyard is the river. I do object to that. I think we’ve gone too far interpreting things. We put a guy in Mississippi in jail for 10 years for putting dirt on his land. We have 48 federal agencies that have SWAT teams. I mean, with helmets, body armor, the works. The Department of Education has a SWAT team. I think that might be an indication we’ve gone too far.”

–Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), interview on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah,” Jan. 13, 2016

Paul, in a one-on-one “singles debate” with host Trevor Noah, repeated two Four Pinocchio claims — one of which even made our list of the biggest Pinocchios of 2015. After being relegated to the undercard round, Paul boycotted the GOP debate and instead opted for a solo appearance on the show, to talk about his policy stances over sips of Kentucky bourbon.

These are two of Paul’s favorite talking points about federal government overreach. But they’re both exaggerated so much to the point of inaccuracy.

There was, indeed, a Mississippi man who was imprisoned nearly 10 years for environmental regulations. Paul says the man was imprisoned just for “putting dirt on his land.” But the man was convicted of mail fraud, conspiracy and environmental violations for his role in developing 67 mobile home lots inside federally protected wetlands, building on wetlands without approval and knowingly selling land with illegal sewage systems that were likely to fail.

Despite repeated warnings and cease-and-desist orders, the man continued to build and fill the land. He continued to sell property while his case was under appeal, which violated terms of his bond. Ultimately, the appeals court upheld the lower court’s decision, and the man was sentenced to a nine-year prison sentence in 2008.

And no, 48 federal agencies do not have “SWAT” teams. Only one federal agency does: the FBI.

Other agencies have tactical or specialized teams that some may view as similar to SWAT teams. These teams don protective gear and respond to high-risk situations within the jurisdiction of the specific agency. For example, the Bureau of Prisons has a special team that responds to high-risk situations in prison cells and the Energy Department has a security team to handle events and terrorist attempts associated with hazardous materials.

The Department of Education’s “SWAT team” that Paul is referring to is a team of officers from the DOE’s Office of Inspector General. Offices of Inspector General have special agents that are federal law enforcement officers, and are sometimes issued protective gear.

In 2011, the DOE Inspector General officers raided a Northern California man’s home. It was initially reported that the DOE had called in SWAT for the man’s defaulted student loans. But it turned out that officers were searching for materials related to violations of federal statutes regarding financial aid fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and others. Turns out, the man was involved in a student aid fraud ring, orchestrated by his wife. Both of them were sentenced for their roles in the scheme, along with other fraud ring members.

Jan 28 2016

“The smallest Navy in 100 years.”

— Marco Rubio

Egad, what does it take to kill this zombie claim? This was repeatedly debunked in the 2012 presidential election, and yet at least one GOP contender manages to repeat it in every debate. Now it’s the turn of the senator from Florida.

The current number of ships in the Navy is 273. It is the lowest count since 1916, when there were 245 ships.

But a lot has changed in 100 years, including the need and capacity of ships. Here are some of the types of ships that were part of the Navy in 1916: gunboats, torpedo boats and “monitors” (that’s a kind of small warship).

These types of boats aren’t in the Navy anymore. Instead, the current list of Navy ships includes behemoths such as aircraft carriers, “SSBN” (nuclear-powered, ballistic-missile carrying submarines) and “SSGN” (cruise-missile submarines).

There are other ways to measure seapower than just the sheer number of ships, according to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus: “That’s pretty irrelevant. We also have fewer telegraph machines than we did in World War I and we seem to be doing fine without that…. Look at the capability. Look at the missions that we do.”

The current level of ships is on par with the level reached during the Bush administration, when the number of ships fell to 278 in 2007. The Navy is on track to grow to just over 300 ships, approximately the size that a bipartisan congressional panel has recommended for the current Navy.

“There have been three different investigations that have proven that I knew nothing.”

— Chris Christie

Only one of the investigations conclusively found that the New Jersey governor had no knowledge of the massive traffic jams in Fort Lee, as a result of a two-lane shutdown on the George Washington Bridge. Media outlets had revealed that the traffic delays may intentionally have been caused by the Christie administration because the mayor of Fort Lee did not endorse Christie in a gubernatorial election.

The one “investigation” that found Christie had no knowledge of the scandal before or during the lane closures was actually a study that Christie’s administration commissioned, through the law firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher.

The other two investigations were conducted by the New Jersey legislature and the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey.

The state legislature’s investigation found “no conclusive evidence” as to whether Christie was aware of the lane closure before or during it, PolitiFact said. The U.S. attorney’s investigation did not find criminal evidence that Christie was involved in the scandal, but did not say the case is closed.

“The only budget that Ted [Cruz] ever voted for was a budget that Rand Paul sponsored, that brags about cutting defense spending.”

— Marco Rubio

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas did vote for Paul’s budget proposal in 2013, and the proposal did brag about cutting defense spending. But the budget proposal used misleading language: the “cut” was not in actual defense appropriations, but a reduction relative to the president’s budget and the budget baseline of the Congressional Budget Office.

The proposal said: “This budget proposal does not simply reduce military spending, but provides directives to realign the military for the 21st Century.” But it proposed to raise discretionary national defense funding from $521 billion in 2014 to $634 billion in 2023.

So how is it a “cut” in defense funding? The proposal explained: “This budget proposal significantly reduces spending relative to both the President’s budget and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline.”

“Just two weeks ago was the 25th anniversary of the first Persian Gulf war. When that war began, we had 8,000 planes. Today, we have about 4,000.”


Cruz’s data are a bit mysterious. It would be no surprise that aircraft inventory has declined since the Persian Gulf War, because the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a 25 percent cut in military spending (engineered by then-Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney).

But the current aircraft inventory for the Defense Department shows nearly 14,000 aircraft, including 3,290 fighter/attack, 859 attack helicopters and 4,563 airlift and cargo planes. That’s much higher than “4,000 planes.”

Bret Baier: “Can you name even one thing that the federal government does now that it should not at all?” …
Chris Christie: “How about one that I’ve done in new Jersey for six years: that’s getting rid of Planned Parenthood funding.”

Baier: “Anything bigger than that?”

Christie: “Bigger than that? Let me tell you something. When you see thousands upon thousands upon thousands of children being murdered in the womb, I can’t think of anything bigger than that.”

— Exchange at debate

Let’s add some context here. Planned Parenthood federal funding makes up nowhere near 1 percent of the federal budget — and even less from federal discretionary spending authorized by Congress every year.

Planned Parenthood receives about $450 million in federal funds annually, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The majority of federal funding that Planned Parenthood health centers receive is through Medicaid reimbursements or grants through the federal family planning program, Title X. In 2013-14, it received $528.4 million in state and federal funding, which comprised 41 percent of the organization’s revenues that year.

Nearly 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding comes from entitlement programs, or mandatory spending, and the remaining 10 percent comes from discretionary spending, PolitiFact reported. Applying that percentage to annual federal funding for Planned Parenthood ($450 million), that means the organization receives $405 million in mandatory funding and $45 million in discretionary funding.

Federal mandatory spending for fiscal 2015 was $2.45 trillion and discretionary funding for fiscal 2015 was $1.11 trillion. That means Planned Parenthood receives 0.02 percent of the federal mandatory funding and 0.004 percent of discretionary spending.

A long-standing legal restriction bans federal funds from paying for any elective abortions, which are for pregnancies that are not caused by rape, incest or that threaten the mother’s health. So while Christie mentions abortions, pulling federal money would not necessarily affect how Planned Parenthood’s abortions are funded.

“Hillary Clinton lied to the families of those four brave Americans who lost their life in Benghazi.”


This is one of Rubio’s favorite talking points. Rubio again and again claims that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied to the families of the victims of the Benghazi attacks and asserted that the attack on a diplomatic outpost took place because of a YouTube video.

As we have noted, the evidence for this claim is murky and open to interpretation. But Rubio really goes too far in suggesting that she told this to all of the families of the four who were killed in the terrorist attacks. Here’s the rundown of what we know:

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens

bulletHis father says Clinton did not mention a video.

State Department Information Specialist Sean Smith

bulletHis mother says every administration official, including Clinton, cited the video.

Former Navy Seal Tyrone Woods

bulletHis father says Clinton cited the video as the cause.
bulletHis mother says Clinton did not mention the video.

Former Navy Seal Glen Doherty

bulletHis mother says Clinton did not mention a video.
bulletHis sister says she did not mention a video but referenced a “spontaneous protest.”

At the very least, Rubio cannot so sweepingly declare that she made such statements to the “families of those four brave Americans.” Some of those family members say they did not hear that.

“We know that 307,000 veterans have died waiting for health care.”

— Carly Fiorina

Fiorina repeated an inaccurate and widely misreported figure about veteran deaths.

The 307,000 number comes from a Sept. 2, 2015, VA Office of Inspector General report, which detailed the findings of an investigation into alleged mismanagement in processing health-care applications.

The Veterans Health Administration’s Health Eligibility Center, which processes eligibility and enrollment information, maintains about 22.3 million records in its system. Out of those records, about 867,000 records were in a “pending” status. That means the veteran applied for enrollment but the VA needed additional information (often financial) before approving the veteran for benefits. Of those, 307,173 were for people who were reported as deceased by the Social Security Administration.

That sounds like 307,000 veterans died waiting for care, right? Nope.

There’s no way to know whether those 307,000 veterans who died ever applied for health care through the VA. The database includes records of veterans who died even before the VA’s health care enrollment began in 1998. There also are records of veterans who never sought care from the VA, because millions of records from another VA data source were entered into the system in December 2013.

In short, it’s an unreliable data system which is what the VA’s inspector general found.

“I cut 94 taxes in a state that had never had a general major tax decrease in its history.”

— Mike Huckabee

Some talking points just don’t go away; Huckabee has repeated this line since 2007. What he doesn’t say is that there was a net tax increase under his leadership.

There were 90 tax cuts when Huckabee was Arkansas governor, from 1996 to 2007. Many of them were narrowly tailored. The tax cuts ranged from tiny cuts, such as a $500 sales tax break for manufacturing machinery, to larger items such as $2.7 million annually in car lease exemptions for the rental car tax.

But the effect of these cuts was offset by 21 tax increases. That resulted in a $505 million net tax increase when Huckabee was governor.

“Hillary Clinton famously asked, what difference does it make how four Americans died in Benghazi?”


This comment by Hillary Clinton, made during a hearing on May 8, 2013, is frequently taken out of context.

She uttered it at the end of a tense six-minute exchange with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), in which he pressed her why she had not tried to immediately contact survivors of the 2012 Benghazi attacks to find out whether they were preceded by a protest. (She said she did not want to interfere with an FBI investigation.) Johnson asserted that “we were misled that there were supposedly protests” and “the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.”

“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” Clinton responded. “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.” She added that it was “less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.”

“The reality is, most Americans find this practice [fetal tissue donation] horrific.”


Fiorina is referring to the previous practice of taking reimbursement for fetal tissue donations, as revealed through the Center for Medical Progress’s videos. She overstates by saying “most” Americans oppose Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue donations, and/or accepting reimbursements for the donations.

Our review of polling data showed there was one survey that specifically addressed fetal tissue donations, and meets The Washington Post’s polling standards. Fox News in August 2015 asked: “Which of the following comes closer to your reaction to the [Planned Parenthood] videos?” Of the respondents, 49 percent said the videos are “disturbing, and the use of fetal tissue from abortions in research should be stopped,” and 43 percent answered that the videos are “disturbing, but if medical research needs this fetal tissue to save lives, it should continue.”

The options may have biased respondents toward more negative answers, because the response options both included the word “disturbing,” The Washington Post’s polling expert Scott Clement told us. The use of the word “disturbing” implied to respondents that the videos are, in fact, disturbing. More neutral language is preferred in effective polling.

“We saved 80,000 jobs. We went on to grow to 160,000 jobs.”


In defending her record as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina reached for a talking point that has been found misleading in the past.

The number of employees was 84,800 in 1999 and 151,000 in 2004, according to the 10-K reports. On paper, that certainly looks like an increase in jobs. But much of the growth came from an ill-fated merger with Compaq.

Before the merger with Compaq, HP had 86,200 employees and Compaq had 63,700 employees. That adds up to 149,900. HP’s filings show that the combined company had 141,000 employees in 2002 and 142,000 employees in 2003. By 2005, the number was 150,000. In other words, the number of employees barely budged from the pre-merger total — and people lost jobs as a result.

Fiorina ultimately fired more than 30,000 workers in the wake of the Compaq merger.

The Los Angeles Timesevaluating Fiorina’s record when she ran for the Senate in 2010, noted that during her tenure HP also acquired more than a dozen other companies with at least 8,000 employees.

FactChecking the Ninth GOP Debate

Six remaining Republican candidates misrepresent the facts on the Supreme Court, immigration, abortion and other issues.

Glenn Kessler - Washington Post Source