Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Elections are over, but the Truth-O-Meter abides

Is Obama's trip to India a $200 million-per-day Taj-Mah-Boondoggle? Read on and find out.
Is Obama's trip to India a $200 million-per-day Taj-Mah-Boondoggle? Read on and find out.

Barry Garner, Fulton County elections chief: The vote count will be finished by 11:30 p.m. on election night.

This election's boldest promise didn't come from a politician. It came from Garner.

In an Election Day article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Garner said, "By 11:30 p.m., we'll be finished. That's my pledge."

As long as polls closed as scheduled by 7 p.m., his office would post results online by that self-imposed deadline.

We gasped. What about 2008?

Absentee ballot processing went so slowly that year that Fulton County hired FedEx to overnight nearly 4,000 ballots to voters. Workers counted absentee ballots for 53 hours after polls closed. Candidates campaigned after Election Day, uncertain whether they were in a runoff.

Garner promised big changes when he took over in 2009. On Tuesday, the department came close to meeting his high expectations.

Four of the county's 333 precincts missed the cutoff. Those precincts had to keep their doors open until 9 p.m. because of high turnout. Almost all absentee ballots were tallied on time.

Mostly True.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.: "The president of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day."

This price tag has been echoed by conservative pundits across the land.

Bachmann told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday that it was the latest example of excessive spending in the Obama administration.

But is it true? No way, the White House said.

Bachmann said the number came from news reports. But only a news agency in India ran with the figure, citing an anonymous Indian official. 

Experts questioned how an Indian official would know. No one tells them. They also said the estimate is way, way off.

A report by the nonpartisan General Accounting Office backs that up: A trip to India by President Bill Clinton, then regarded as perhaps the most expensive in history, cost about $10 million per day.

We wish we could find the true cost. But the White House won't release it, citing security concerns.
 
Still, we think Bachmann has a responsibility to prove what she claimed. She didn't.

False.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio: Members of Congress did not have three days to read the bill "when the stimulus was rushed into law."

During his last Saturday radio address before Tuesday's elections, Boehner called for greater congressional transparency, using the above claim as an example why.

The stimulus bill, or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was first passed by the House, then the Senate with amendments. It went to a joint House-Senate conference committee to iron out differences. The final bill was passed by both chambers before being signed by President Barack Obama.

The first version clearly passed the House less than three days after it was introduced. A compromise version passed the Senate roughly three days after it was formally introduced.

Both chambers passed the final version that became law within 24 hours of the bill's filing. So in all cases except the main Senate vote, it's clear Boehner is correct. And with the Senate version, it was close.

That's strong support for Boehner's claim, so we rate it True.