Senator Marco Rubio on the Truth-O-Meter
By Amy Sherman
Published on Thursday, August 30th, 2012 at 4:07 p.m.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has the critical role of introducing Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Aug. 30.
A former state legislator from West Miami elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, Rubio’s star has quickly soared as a young, charismatic Hispanic politician who was considered a vice presidential contender. Republicans are hoping that Rubio’s speech will win over coveted Hispanic voters, and it will give Rubio his most prominent national spotlight of his career.
PolitiFact has fact-checked several of Rubio’s statements; review his complete record on the Truth-O-Meter. Here, we will review some of the topics Rubio often touches on: the economy, immigration -- plus some hard-charging criticism of President Barack Obama and the Democrats.
Economy: Debt, taxes and jobs
During his 2010 campaign, Rubio often repeated this statistic: "Forty cents of every dollar being spent by the federal government is being borrowed from my children. I think that's outrageous. We have to stop doing that." We checked the numbers and ruled that claim True.
In April 2011, Rubio said the U.S. "corporate taxes will soon be the highest in the industrialized world" a claim we ruled Mostly True. At the time of his statement, the United States ranked second just to Japan, and Japan planned to cut its own rate as early as April 2011. The business-backed Tax Foundation told us that the U.S. is the highest in the industrialized world as of August 2012. Japan lowered its corporate rate in April of this year to 38.01 percent placing it below the U.S.’s rate of 39.1.
In a July op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel, Rubio said, "Obamacare is bad policy that adds around $800 billion of taxes on the American people. It does not discriminate between rich and poor. It hurts everyone." We ruled that claim False, because Rubio cherry-picked the highest number he could find on estimates of taxes in the new law. He omitted that these "taxes" would be garnered over 10 years. His statement also indicated that rich and poor people will feel the effects of the law’s various revenue-raising provisions with the same degree of pain. That’s not true. The law taxes wealthier Americans to a greater degree to provide more services for the poor.
During a 2011 speech at the Ronald Reagan library, Rubio said both Democrats and Republicans created programs and levels of spending that -- while well intentioned -- were doomed to fail from the start. "When Social Security first started, there was 16 workers for every retiree. Today there are only three for every retiree and soon there will only be two for every retiree." We ruled that claim True.
In a video-taped statement in July Rubio said, "President Obama does not support the free enterprise system. He has virtually admitted as much himself. A week ago in a speech on the campaign trail he said that if you own a business that you didn’t build that, someone built it for you. And I think clearly from his record what he means by that someone is government." We fact-checked a similar claim from Mitt Romney, who said Obama thought success was "the result of government," not "hard-working people" when he said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." We ruled that claim False because Romney twisted the president's remarks and ignored their real meaning.
Rubio said on Fox News in July that it’s been "six months or more" since Obama met with his jobs Council. We fact-checked a similar claim from the Republican National Committee that Obama has held more than 100 fundraisers in the past six months, yet his jobs council didn’t meet once. We ruled that claim True.
Earlier this year, Rubio said he was working on his own version of the DREAM Act, the legislation designed to help illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. while children. But Obama stole his thunder, when he signed an executive order in June 2012 allowing illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to obtain work permits.
During a Fox News interview on June 18, 2012, Rubio said that "a million people a year come into the U.S. legally. No other country even comes close to that figure." We ruled this claim True. That’s a claim that Rubio repeated on the eve of the convention in an interview on Face the Nation.
Attacks on Obama
In a January interview on CNN, Rubio said "no candidate has run more negative ads in American history than Barack Obama did in 2008, especially in the general." We ruled that claim Mostly True. In sheer numbers, that statement is correct: Obama bought many more ads than McCain did, both positive and negative. Nevertheless, two studies suggest that, overall, Obama's ads were not significantly more negative than his rival. He ran the most negative ads because he ran the most ads.
Rubio on Rubio
Rubio may repeat his comment from January that Mitt Romney "was one of the first national Republican leaders to endorse" him, a claim we ruled Half True. Romney did endorse Rubio before Republican Gov. Charlie Crist dropped out of the primary in 2010 to run as an independent. But it was clear at the time that Rubio would have thumped Crist in a primary.
And we’re pretty sure if Rubio talks about his parents journey from Cuba he won’t repeat this mistake: the biography on his website declared his parents "came to America following Fidel Castro's takeover." PolitiFact ruled that claim False, because Rubio’s family came to the U.S. in 1956 three years before Castro took over.
See individual fact-checks for complete sources.