Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Get the Truth-O-Meter ready! Alan Grayson's running

Former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, announced he will run for Congress in 2012.
Former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, announced he will run for Congress in 2012.

Former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, announced on July 11, 2011, that he would try to return to Congress in 2012.

The news was welcomed by many progressives, who are uneasy with Democrats dealing with Republicans on potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits, and also by many conservatives, who view Grayson's blunt, in-your-face-style as off-putting to most Americans.

The news made us happy, too.

Grayson's statements, as well as statements about him, have been some of the more colorful we've checked at PolitiFact Florida.

For instance, the Republican Party of Florida claimed back in 2010 that Grayson once "compared a former vice president to a vampire ... and compared America's health care system to the Holocaust." The lines were deemed Mostly True. The vampire claim -- about former Vice President Dick Cheney -- is pretty much spot on (and if you don't believe us, just watch the video). The RPOF lost points on the second claim because Grayson wasn't specifically referencing the Holocaust associated with World War II. He was using the word in a broader sense, citing a study that found that 44,789 Americans die every year because they have no health insurance.

Then there was Grayson's response to Florida Republicans -- saying in a press release that the "Republican Party of Florida smells worse than a rotting carcass."

"The stench reaches all the way to the Georgia state line. For goodness' sake, on the day that their state leader resigned in disgrace, a 'Shred-It' truck rolled up to Republican headquarters."

We didn't try to measure the smell, but on the 'Shred-it' truck claim, Grayson scored a True. (Though a party spokeswoman said the timing of the 'Shred-It' visit was just a coincidence. The mobile shredder comes monthly and just happened to coincide with the day that deposed former party chairman Jim Greer was announcing his resignation.)

During his unsuccessful 2010 campaign against Dan Webster, Grayson produced several provocative ads -- the most noteworthy being an ad suggesting Webster said wives should submit to their husbands. This one actually was a finalist for PolitiFact's 2010 Lie of the Year award.

The meat of the ad is a back-and-forth between a female narrator and Webster, speaking his own words. Here's the transcript:

Female narrator: (Speaking over images of terrorists holding guns and people burning the American flag) "Religious fanatics try to take away our freedom in Afghanistan, in Iran and right here in Central Florida."

Webster: (Black-and-white video, dressed in a suit, holding a microphone) "Wives submit yourself to your own husband."

Female narrator: "Daniel Webster wants to impose his radical fundamentalism on us." Background type: Daniel Webster wants to MAKE DIVORCE ILLEGAL.

Webster: "You should submit to me. That's in the Bible."

Female narrator: "Webster tried to deny battered women medical care and the right to divorce their abusers."

Webster: "Submit to me."

Female narrator: "He wants to force raped women to bear the child."

Webster: "Submit to me."

Female narrator: "Taliban Daniel Webster. Hands off our bodies. And our laws."

The audio and video of Webster come from a 2009 speech he made for the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a Christian teaching organization that provides training and instruction on how to find success by following God’s principles found in Scripture.

But the Webster quotes are severely clipped, PolitiFact Florida found. Here's what Webster actually said:

"Have verses for (your) wife. I have verses for my wife," Webster said in an unedited video excerpt. "Don't pick the ones that say, 'she should submit to me.' That's in the Bible, but pick the ones you're supposed to do (laughs). So instead (laughs) that you'd love your wife -- even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it ... and, as opposed to wives submit yourself to your own husband. She can pray that if she wants to, but don't you pray it."

Webster goes on to make the same point about praying for children. "Pick out the ones that have your responsibility listed into it," Webster said. "Yes, children are to obey their parents, but more importantly we're as fathers to, um, not provoke them to wrath."

So in his message Webster was telling fathers that they should not pray for the first half of the passage in Ephesians (Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands) but pray for the second (Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it).

In the end we rated the claim False based on the heavy-handed editing.

Grayson lost his seat to Webster. But not his knack for making interesting statements.

During one of his final floor speeches during the lame duck session of Congress, Grayson said that "the Republican plan for tax cuts is to give each millionaire -- the top 1 percent of income in this country -- $83,347 a year in tax cuts."

Grayson said the wealthiest could use the money to buy a 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan, once a year, every year for the next decade. Or they could buy a Hermes "Birkin" handbag every year or a bottle of 1787 Chateau d'Yquem wine.

"Here's something else they can do," Grayson said. "They can buy 20,000 jars of their favorite mustard, Grey Poupon. Twenty thousand jars. That's certainly enough for them, their family, their friends, even a few poor people.

"Thank you Republican Party."

On the numbers, this time, Grayson was Mostly True -- accurately citing one study that was supported by another.

We could go on, and on. But we've got new Grayson statements to check now. So while we do that, read the rest of our Grayson file by clicking here.