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Politics

Fact or fiction? What they say, what's said about them

Associated Press
Published January 26, 2008


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SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

U.S. senator from New York, first elected in 2000. She previously served as first lady when her husband, Bill Clinton, served two terms as president.

No records, but there are witnesses

The statement

"Look, I believe in accountability. In 1983, I led the effort in Arkansas to improve our schools."

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sept. 13, 2007, in a forum hosted by Slate/Yahoo/Huffington Post

The ruling

Press clippings and interviews with people who were there support her account.

* * *

Clinton promoted children's health care

The statement

"There are 7,000 kids in New Hampshire who have health care because I helped to create the Children's Health Insurance Program."

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jan. 5, 2008, in a debate in Manchester, N.H.

The ruling

She accurately says she helped to create SCHIP, and she gets the number right.

* * *

NIH funding is up under Bush

The statement

"It's just outrageous that under President Bush, the National Institutes of Health have been basically decreased in funding."

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oct. 30, 2007, in Philadelphia

The ruling

No matter how you slice the numbers, National Institutes of Health funding has gone up.

* * *

ATTACK

RNC number-crunchers crunch Clinton accurately

The statement

"If Sen. Hillary Clinton could enact all of her campaign proposals, taxpayers would be faced with financing more than $777.6-billion in new spending over one White House term."

Republican National Committee, Nov. 26, 2007, in a "Spend-O-Meter" on its Web site, www.gop.com

The ruling

We find the Republicans are doing a reasonably good job of accounting. In 19 out of 24 examples cited by the RNC, the Spend-O-Meter correctly explained Clinton's proposals.

* * *

ATTACK

Polarizing, yes, but electable, too

The statement

"The fact of the matter is that my colleague from New York, Sen. Clinton, there are 50 percent of the American public that say they're not going to vote for her."

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Oct. 30, 2007, in a debate in Philadelphia

The ruling

Dodd is accurate when he cites polls that show 50 percent of the U.S. public won't vote for Clinton. But the rest of the story is that it's not a dealbreaker as far as electibility goes.

* * *

JOHN EDWARDS

Former U.S. senator from North Carolina who was John Kerry's running mate in 2004. Also a personal injury attorney. He is married to Elizabeth Edwards, who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Hold on, it's not really never, ever

The statement

"John Edwards never - has ever from the beginning of his political career has never taken PAC money or the money of Washington lobbyists. Ever."

Joe Trippi, senior campaign advisor to John Edwards, on Sept. 20, 2007, in a television interview

The ruling

Edwards accepted $14,900 from employees at lobbying firms through June 2007. Given the absolute ironclad statement, we rule it Half True.

* * *

President can't snatch Congress' health care

The statement

If Congress won't pass universal health care, he'll tell Congress: "I'm going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you."

John Edwards, Nov. 12, 2007, in a TV ad

The ruling

The president can't just "take away" health care from Congress. As a former member of the U.S. Senate, Edwards should know better.

* * * 

He's juicing the numbers with these apples

The statement

"Our children's safety is potentially at risk because nearly half of the apple juice consumed by our children comes from apples grown in China."

John Edwards, Oct. 29, 2007, in a speech in Manchester, N.H.

The ruling

His numbers are off, but his point about lots of our apple juice coming from China is true. It's also true that its safety standards don't meet ours.

* * *

ATTACK

Edwards a significant player on several bills

The statement

"John doesn't have a record in the Senate. John's only passed four bills. They're all about post offices."

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., Dec. 31, 2007, at a campaign event in Ames, Iowa

The ruling

Edwards had a respectable record of accomplishments during his single term in the chamber.

* * *

ATTACK

Edwards was tagged 'populist' early on

The statement

"John wasn't this raging populist four years ago" when he ran for president.

Barack Obama, Nov. 8, 2007, in Chariton, Iowa

The ruling

Edwards has consistently raised issues of economic inequality his entire political career.


* * * 

SEN. BARACK OBAMA

U.S. senator from Illinois. Previously served in the Illinois state Senate and was an instructor at the University of Chicago Law School. He is married.

Obama has consistently opposed the war

The statement

"I opposed this war from the beginning. I opposed the war in 2002. I opposed the war in 2003. I opposed it in 2004 and 2005 and 2006."

Barack Obama, Sept. 12, 2007, in Clinton, Iowa

The ruling

Obama opposed the war as a little-known state senator from Illinois and spoke out notably at a Chicago antiwar rally in 2002. He has been vocal in the years since.

* * *

If it quacks like a lobbyist, it's a lobbyist

The statement

"Leading by example, refusing contributions from PACs and Washington lobbyists."

Barack Obama, Aug. 21, 2007, in a TV ad

The ruling

Obama accurately says he doesn't accept money from federally registered lobbyists, but he accepts thousands from people in the influence industry.

* * *

He says universal, but it's no guarantee

The statement

"I do provide universal health care."

Barack Obama, Nov. 15, 2007, in Las Vegas

The ruling

Even if you buy his argument that his plan will create the market conditions to make health care universally available, his plan doesn't guarantee it.

* * *

His record on bipartisanship is split

The statement

"During (Obama's) tenure in Washington and in the Illinois state Senate, Barack Obama has accumulated a record of bipartisan success."

Barack Obama, Sept. 6, 2007, on the campaign's Web site

The ruling

He has co-sponsored many bills with GOP members, but 2007 records show he voted with his party's position 96 percent of the time.

* * * 

ATTACK

Obama's hand was on the Bible

The statement

When Obama was sworn into office, "he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Kuran."

Chain e-mail, Dec. 19, 2007

The ruling

Two press reports from Obama's swearing-in ceremony in January 2005 mention specifically that Obama took the oath of office by placing his hand on his own copy of the Bible.


* * * 

RUDY GIULIANI

Former mayor of New York City. Previously served as a federal prosecutor, as well as an associate attorney general under President Ronald Reagan. He is married.

Hard to measure, but he's a tax cutter

The statement

"And delivered more tax relief than the other Republicans combined."

Rudy Giuliani, Jan. 16, 2008, in a TV ad

The ruling

Given many confirming sources, it's clear Giuliani has a strong record on tax cutting. However, it's next to impossible to accurately judge the rest of his claim.

* * *

Creative math by an abortion-rights mayor

The statement

"We reduced abortion. We increased adoptions by 135 percent."

Rudy Giuliani, Dec. 12, 2007, in a debate in Johnston, Iowa

The ruling

While he has his numbers right on abortion rates, it's a stretch for the abortion-rights mayor to take credit. We also find he has inflated the adoption figures by getting fancy with his math.

* * *

The turn-around started before Rudy did

The statement

"I brought down crime more than anyone in this country - maybe in the history of this country - while I was mayor of New York City."

Rudy Giuliani, Oct. 21, 2007, in a debate in Orlando

The ruling

Violent crime in New York actually began falling three years before Giuliani became mayor in 1994. Nor was New York unique in its crime trends.

* * *

ATTACK

Giuliani left Iraq panel- or it left him

The statement

"He was a member of the Iraq Study Group and was either fired or quit from a very important commission that was trying to figure out the way forward in Iraq."

John McCain, Nov. 26, 2007, in interview on Fox News

The ruling

It's unclear whether he was fired or forced to quit, but during his two-month tenure on the panel, he attended no meetings and was replaced by Edwin Meese III, former attorney general.

* * *

ATTACK

Giuliani was welcomingto immigrants

The statement

"The mayor said ... 'if you happen to be in this country in an undocumented status . . . then we welcome you here. We want you here. We'll protect you here.' "

Mitt Romney, Nov. 28, 2007, in a debate in St. Petersburg

The ruling

Romney is referring to a statement Giuliani made at a 1994 news conference. Giuliani now emphasizes the need for more border security and tougher enforcement by the federal government.


* * *

MIKE HUCKABEE

Served as governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. Has worked as a Baptist minister. He is married.

The roads are better - but still rank near the bottom

The statement

"I took on the worst road system in the country, according to Trucker's magazine. When I left, they said it was the most improved road system in the country."

Mike Huckabee, Jan. 10, 2008, in a debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The ruling

While Huckabee is right that the state earned the honor for the most improved roads in his term, it's a stretch to say that was the case when he left office. And Arkansas still lags behind other states.

* * *

Not quite the best education record

The statement

Says he has "the most impressive education record" of the Republican candidates.

Mike Huckabee, Dec. 12, 2007, in a debate in Des Moines, Iowa

The ruling

Education improved in Arkansas under Huckabee's watch. But as for his boast of being the best, take that with a grain of salt. Mitt Romney's Massachusetts record also was impressive.

* * *

Huckabee's nickel-and-dime defense

The statement

"As governor of Arkansas, I cut taxes and fees almost 100 times, saving the taxpayers almost $380-million. I left a surplus of nearly $850-million."

Mike Huckabee, Aug. 2, 2007, in a news release

The ruling

Huckabee correctly toots his own horn about a major tax cut and he did leave a big surplus when he left office. But we give him a Half True for mischaracterizing his fiscal policies in between.

* * *

1 out of 56 equals 'most'? No, it doesn't

The statement

The signers of the Declaration of Independence were "brave people, most of whom, by the way, were clergymen."

Mike Huckabee, Oct. 21, 2007, in Orlando

The ruling

We'd like to give Huckabee every benefit of the doubt, but even if you consider former clergymen among the signers the most you come up with is four. Out of 56. That's not "most."

* * *

ATTACK

The liberal label doesn't quite stick to Huckabee

The statement

"He's a good man, but he's a pro-life liberal. He's right on the pro-life part, but he's a liberal."

Fred Thompson, Nov. 7, 2007, in a Nashville radio interview

The ruling

Can you oppose withdrawal from Iraq, as Huckabee does, and still be liberal? Can you support a flat sales tax and still be liberal? Given the subjective nature of the term, we rate this Half True.


* * *

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN

U.S. senator from Arizona, a post he has held since 1986. Previously served two terms in the U.S. House. Spent his career in the military, including 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war. He is married.

He was front and center, uncovering wasteful mess

The statement

"I saved the taxpayers $2-billion on a bogus Air Force Boeing tanker deal where people went to jail."

John McCain, Nov. 28, 2007, in a debate in St. Petersburg

The ruling

It is well documented in media and government reports that McCain was quick to identify the deal as a bad one for taxpayers. He found it tucked into a little-noticed amendment to a defense budget.

* * *

There are a few blips on the senator's record

The statement

"I have never asked for nor received a single earmark or pork-barrel project for my state."

John McCain, Jan. 6, 2008, in a debate in Manchester, N.H.

The ruling

We find three examples of McCain seeking pork-barrel projects for Arizona, which puts a few blemishes on an otherwise stellar record against pork.

* * *

McCain is right: He told them so!

The statement

"One man opposed a flawed strategy in Iraq. One man had the courage to call for change. One man didn't play politics with the truth."

John McCain, Oct. 1, 2007, in a TV ad

The ruling

As far back as mid 2003, McCain has been one of the Senate's strongest and most vocal advocates of the war in Iraq, and also one of the Bush administration's biggest Republican critics.

* * *

McCain's immigration plan is no free ride

The statement

"The fact is it's not amnesty."

John McCain, Jan. 5, 2008, in a debate in Manchester, N.H.

The ruling

While McCain is more receptive to giving undocumented workers a path to citizenship than most of his GOP rivals, the many hurdles included in his plan do not meet the "amnesty" definition of a general pardon of offenders by a government.

* * *

ATTACK

Yes, McCain changed his mind on the tax cuts

The statement

"Sen. McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts. Now he's for them."

Mitt Romney, April 26, 2007, in Stratham, N.H.

The ruling

When the cuts were first proposed, McCain voted against them, saying tax cuts needed to be paired with lower spending. In 2006, when the cuts were extended, McCain voted yes because he said opposing the extension of cuts already in place would amount to a tax increase.


* * *

REP. RON PAUL

Texas physician in his second stint in Congress. Was in the House from 1977-1985, and was the Libertarian Party nominee for president in 1988. Elected again to Congress in 1996. He is married.

Lots of bills, but not the most of any member

The statement

"Introduces numerous pieces of substantive legislation each year, probably more than any single member of Congress."

Ron Paul, Sept. 17, 2007, in a statement on his campaign Web site

The ruling

In the last Congress, he was 25th overall in the number of bills introduced, with 71 bills, 66 of which could be called substantive.

* * *

He's a consistent supporter of gun rights

The statement

"Has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership."

Ron Paul, Sept. 17, 2007, in a statement on his campaign Web site

The ruling

Paul has voted consistently to keep the Second Amendment from being limited in any way.

* * *

In campaign donations, a military victory for Paul

The statement

"I get the most money from active duty officers and military personnel."

Ron Paul, Nov. 28, 2007, in a debate in St. Petersburg

The ruling

Paul, the only Republican candidate for president who opposes the war, is on the money here. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that from January to late November of 2007, he received at least $53,670 from U.S. military personnel, tops among presidential candidates.

* * *

So true, he's understating the situation

The statement

"It used to be the policy of the Republican Party to get rid of the Department of Education. We finally get in charge and a chance to do something, so we double the size of the Department of Education."

Ron Paul, Dec. 12, 2007, in a debate in Johnston, Iowa

The ruling

The size of the Education Department didn't just double with Republicans in charge of Congress, it nearly quadrupled between 1994 and 2006, increasing from $27-billion to $100-billion.

* * *

ATTACK

Exceptions to his small-government principles

The statement

"Never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution."

Ron Paul, Sept. 17, 2007, in a statement on his campaign Web site

The ruling

An examination of Paul's record shows that although he usually adheres to his principle, he has sometimes voted for programs that aren't "expressly authorized" in the Constitution.


* * *

MITT ROMNEY

Served single term as governor of Massachusetts. Worked as a turn-around expert for private companies. Took over management of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He is married.

His effort was Olympic, if a little overstated

The statement

"Took on the Olympics and turned them around."

Mitt Romney, Sept. 26, 2007, in a television ad

The ruling

Romney's implication that he single-handedly rescued the Games is a sore subject in Utah. But there is nothing to dispute that Romney played a vital role in rescuing a very troubled Olympics.

* * *

This depends on your definition of a tax increase

The statement

"The Republican governor who stood up and cut spending instead of raising taxes."

Mitt Romney, Sept. 21, 2007, in a television ad

The ruling

That's only half of the story. Romney closed loopholes in the corporate income tax, which effectively increased taxes for some companies. And he and the legislature increased myriad fees.

* * * 

Actually, his campaign is ankle-deep in lobbyists

The statement

"I don't have lobbyists running my campaign."

Mitt Romney, Jan. 17, 2008, in a news conference in a Staples store in Columbia, S.C.

The ruling

We don't accept the idea that you must be on the payroll to be involved in "running" the campaign. And there's no question some key people in the Romney campaign are well-connected lobbyists.

* * *

Consistent on gay marriage, not amendment

The statement

"I have not changed my position on the (gay) marriage amendment or anything else related to marriage."

Mitt Romney, Sept. 14, 2007, in an interview on MSNBC

The ruling

He is correct that he has been consistent in his opposition to same-sex marriage, but has changed his position on what he would support in an amendment.

* * *

ATTACK

Inconsistent on abortion, Romney now opposes it

The statement

"I'm pro-life. (Romney)'s not."

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, former candidate for president, speaking on Aug. 21, 2007

The ruling

Romney says he is pro-life, but acknowledges he has not been consistent on the issue over the years. Romney said he changed his mind on abortion after meeting with a Harvard stem-cell researcher in 2004.

Politifact.com, Sorting out the truth in politics

For more rulings on the candidates, go to Politifact.com Updated regularly with new Truth-o-Meter rulings

[Last modified January 26, 2008, 01:56:41]


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