Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Fact-checking the calls on the robocalls

A screen shot from the Pink Slip Rick website, touting their robocalls to Gov. Rick Scott.
A screen shot from the Pink Slip Rick website, touting their robocalls to Gov. Rick Scott.

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott and a liberal-leaning group, Pink Slip Rick, are engaged in a robocall spat that has made national news.

Scott sent out robocalls after the 2011 legislative session to boast about his accomplishments. Floridians answering the phone heard Scott say:

"Hi this is Gov. Rick Scott. I wanted to personally call and share some very encouraging news about our efforts to get Florida back to work. ... Unemployment is down for five straight months, bucking the national trend."

Scott's calls also talked about property tax cuts, fighting drug abuse and vetoing "wasteful special interest projects" by GOP legislators.

Not everyone was happy to get a call from the governor. Pink Slip Rick invited Floridians to call Scott back and more than 300 responded, recording their own messages. Pink Slip Rick forwarded the calls to Scott's office in August.

We decided to fact-check a couple of the messages that were highlighted Aug. 17, 2011 by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow:

Chris S. said: "I really can't believe that you cut PBS of all things. My kids sit around and watch PBS in the early morning. They learn so much from it. And to have the state cut funding for PBS is despicable." Scott's budget vetoes did cut funding for public television, but cuts to children's programs are not expected. We rate this claim Mostly True.

Debra B. said: "Uh yeah, Gov. Rick Scott, you've got a lot of nerve spending a quarter of a milllion of our tax dollars to robocall people and tell them how good a job you're doing."  But Scott didn't spend tax dollars -- the Republican Party of Florida picked up the tab. We rate this claim False.