Run, Georgia, Run!
By Willoughby Mariano
Published on Sunday, May 29th, 2011 at 6:00 a.m.
With the entry of former pizza CEO and talk show host Herman Cain into the 2012 presidential race, our fair state now boasts two presidential prospects.
This means PolitiFact Georgia has the pleasure of checking both of them.
Newt Gingrich, whose campaign offices are in Buckhead, earned a True on health care. Cain scored a Mostly True on his claim about food stamp use and False on a gaffe about the U.S. Constitution.
Not to ignore national politics, we gave U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi a Pants on Fire for a chart she posted about the national debt. Her Republican counterpart, U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, earned a Mostly True for a statement he made on U.S. coal to the Atlanta Press Club.
Run, Georgia, run!
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Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: "A large number of the uninsured earn $75,000 or more a year."
Gingrich made this claim about the uninsured during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on May 15, when the conversation turned to health care.
Host David Gregory and Gingrich discussed a requirement that everyone have health coverage, and Gingrich criticized "free riders" -- people who go without insurance on the assumption that they'll still receive care if an unexpected emergency happens.
We consulted the latest U.S. census data and found they estimated that there were 50.7 million uninsured people in the United States, or about 17 percent of the total population.
Among the uninsured, about 10.6 million, or some 21 percent, made $75,000 or more. We rate Gingrich's statement True.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain: U.S. has "47 million people on food stamps. That’s 14 million more than when the current occupant of the White House took over."
With the fire of a Baptist preacher, Georgia’s newest presidential prospect warned a crowd of thousands that the country has gone astray under President Barack Obama. He used the food stamp statistic as an example.
What’s with Georgia Republicans and food stamps lately?
The previous week, the state’s other presidential contender, Newt Gingrich, said Obama deserves to be called "the most successful food stamp president in American history" because "47 million Americans are on food stamps."
We ruled Gingrich’s statement Half True. For the most part, Gingrich got his facts straight but oversimplified who was to blame. Since Cain’s numbers were in the ballpark, but his rhetoric was less pointed, Cain earned a Mostly True.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain: In the U.S. Constitution, "there’s a little section in there that talks about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Cain’s announcement May 21 that he is running for president included the above statement, as well as an exhortation that we reread the Constitution.
So PolitiFact Georgia did. That language isn’t in the Constitution.
It’s in the second paragraph of the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, which was written in 1776, 11 years before the Constitution was drafted during the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Cain earns a False.
U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.: The United States is "the Saudi Arabia of coal."
Cantor, one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, made this statement to the Atlanta Press Club, arguing that President Barack Obama is not doing enough to take advantage of this resource.
The numbers show that Saudi Arabia is tops in oil exports and reserves.
Cantor’s argument is supported by data that show the United States currently has the world’s largest coal reserve. America has fallen far behind China in terms of coal production, and is behind several other nations in exporting coal.
But on balance, Cantor’s claim is Mostly True.
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: Promotes a chart saying that Barack Obama has "increased the debt" by 16 percent, compared with George W. Bush, who increased it by 115 percent.
Pelosi posted this chart on her Flickr site, and we found it’s significantly off for both Bush and Obama. Bush had an 86 percent increase, not 115 percent as the chart said. Debt under Obama grew by 34 percent, more than double the 16 percent cited in the chart.
Using the corrected figures does mean that, superficially, Democrats have a point. But other problems undercut even this conclusion.
The chart glossed over significant variations in time served in office. It cherry-picked the measurement that was favorable to its cause. And it is contradicted by statistics for GDP-adjusted debt, which show Obama to be the most, rather than the least, debt-creating president of the past five.
Pants on Fire.
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