PolitiFact Georgia recounts Mitt Romney's Greatest Hits
By Willoughby Mariano
Published on Monday, October 31st, 2011 at 6:00 a.m.
Editor’s note: With the Iowa caucuses only two months away, PolitiFact Georgia will dedicate this week to summaries of key fact-checks on the leading GOP candidates as well as President Barack Obama’s performance on his 500 campaign promises. Today we look at Mitt Romney.
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"The people in Massachusetts like [the state health care plan] by about a 3-1 margin."
This was a defense of his record on health care -- when he was governor of Massachusetts -- during an Oct. 11, 2011, debate in Hanover, N.H., where he took heat for signing into law a health care program similar to the reforms passed nationally in 2010.
Romney has strong support for this claim. A recent survey by a credible pollster found the ratio of support to opposition for the Massachusetts law at 3 to 1, and other polls suggest levels of support even higher. So we rate Romney’s statement True.
"I don't think I've ever hired an illegal in my life."
The former Massachusetts governor, in an Oct. 18, 2011, Republican presidential debate, said this when primary foe Rick Perry accused him of hiring illegal immigrants to work at his home.
The first time Romney was running for president, in the 2008 race, the Boston Globe broke a story about his hired help.
The Globe said Romney, for an entire decade, used a landscaping company that relied on illegal Guatemalan immigrants. Employees at the company, Community Lawn Service With a Heart, said its owner hadn't asked them to provide documents showing their immigration status.
The workers said they were paid $9 to $10 an hour, in cash, for working sometimes 11 hours a day.
Romney has made the argument he hired the company, not the specific workers. Still, they were doing hired work on his property. We find his claim Mostly False.
Says he worked with Massachusetts's Democratic Legislature to balance spending with revenues so that "at the end of my four-year term, the rainy day fund was established at more than $2 billion."
Romney usually stresses his business background rather than his time as Massachusetts governor. But with President Barack Obama still reeling from the Standard & Poor’s credit downgrade, Romney used this statement Aug. 8 to remind voters of his bipartisan budget-cutting with the Legislature when he was governor.
The state's financial records back up that he left behind a rainy day fund that topped $2 billion.
But it's important to note that the spending reductions he touts occurred in just one year, 2003. Other years, thanks to economic growth, Romney and the Legislature were able to increase spending.
And besides the spending reductions in that one year, Massachusetts also earned a revenue windfall from a surge in capital gains receipts.
We rate his claim Mostly True.
"We're inches away from no longer having a free economy."
Mitt Romney made this remark during the Republican presidential debate in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 11, 2011. But some of the the strongest evidence against it comes from, of all places, the conservative Heritage Foundation.
It’s true that the government’s footprint on spending has grown over the past few years, due in large part to the recession. But while the statistics show that the government continues to have a large influence on the economy, there is little indication that the government’s role has risen dramatically enough over the past few years to threaten the kind of free market that the U.S. has operated under in recent decades.
And international comparisons show that the U.S. ranks low in both total tax burden and high in economic freedom -- at least as measured by the Heritage Foundation.
We rate Romney's statement Pants on Fire.
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Names in this article: Mitt Romney
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