Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Bill Clinton sets the stage for President Obama

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton gestures while speaking during day two of the DNC in Charlotte on Wednesday night. President Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech is tonight.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton gestures while speaking during day two of the DNC in Charlotte on Wednesday night. President Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech is tonight.

"Since 1961 … our private economy produced 66 million private-sector jobs. So what's the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million." - Former President Bill Clinton

Are Democratic presidents better than Republican presidents at job creation? Clinton said so in his speech to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

"Since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24," Clinton said. "In those 52 years, our private economy produced 66 million private-sector jobs. So what's the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million." In the packed convention hall, it was one of the night’s biggest applause lines.

In 2010, we checked a similar claim from Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. After crunching the numbers back to President Harry Truman, we found that jobs did indeed grow faster under Democratic presidents when adjusted for a president’s years served in office. So we rated the claim True.

Partisans are free to interpret these findings as they wish, but on the numbers, Clinton’s right. We rate his claim True.


The stimulus program "cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people." - Former President Bill Clinton

In making the case for President Barack Obama’s re-election, Clinton vouched for job creation under Obama’s reign despite the "deeply damaged economy" he inherited.

Clinton singled out Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus program, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as a positive step for the economy.

"In 2010, as the president's recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around," Clinton said in his keynote Democratic National Convention speech. "The Recovery Act saved or created millions of jobs and cut taxes -- let me say this again -- cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people."

Clinton borrowed this factoid from Obama, who made it part of his 2008 campaign and bragged about it in his 2010 State of the Union speech. PolitiFact rated that claim True.

Ahead of the 2008 election, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center analyzed the effects of Obama’s tax proposals for workers. The center determined 94.3 percent of tax filers would receive a tax cut under Obama's plan based on the tax credit to offset payroll taxes.

Again, we rate the claim True.


Mitt Romney said we should let foreclosures "hit the bottom." - California Attorney General Kamala Harris

To demonstrate the contrast between Obama and Romney, Harris pointed to the housing crisis.

"We don't have to guess what Mitt Romney would have done if he were president. Because he told us," Harris said in a Sept. 5 speech at the Democratic National Convention. "He said we should let foreclosures—and I quote—’hit the bottom’ so the market could—I quote—’run its course.’"

The Democratic National Committee made this claim in an ad last year, and PolitiFact checked it out. We found that a significant portion of Romney’s quote was omitted.

Harris quoted Romney as saying the housing market should be allowed to "hit the bottom" so the crisis could "run its course."

He did say that, but he also said that when new investors come in and rehab homes, the market could then "turn around and come back up." Romney also suggested he’d be open to refinancing options that would help some homeowners stay in their homes.

That’s important context omitted from Harris’ speech. We rate her statement Half True.



Women "receive only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns."  - Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo.

DeGette invoked a well-worn statistic to illustrate how women earn less than men during her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

"More and more in this economy, the women are the family breadwinners. We are managing our family budgets, struggling to pay healthcare bills and facing the challenge of saving for college," DeGette said during her Sept. 5, 2012, speech. "We feel it in our paychecks when we receive only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns."

We’ve heard this statistic often, and not during just the convention. Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of Obama’s first signed bill, used it in her speech the night before, and Obama used it -- inaccurately -- in a campaign ad this summer.

DeGette claimed women "receive only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns." The measure comes from a valid source, though other comparisons indicate the gap is tighter. Also, some occupations have smaller gaps than others.

We rate the claim Mostly True.


When it comes to jobless workers, "Mitt Romney says he likes to fire people."  - Delaware Gov. Jack Markell
   
Just because Romney was successful in business doesn’t mean he deserves to be president, Markell said at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

He then told a story about a refinery closing in Delaware, noting his own efforts to help laid-off workers find jobs.
   
"Let me ask you: What do you think Mitt Romney would have done if that call came in? Well, Mitt Romney already told us what he would do. Mitt Romney says he likes to fire people. And Barack Obama? He likes to see people hired," Markell said.
   

Markell is cherry-picking Romney’s words from a Jan. 9, 2012 speech at the Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce and putting them in an entirely different context. What Romney actually said was, "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," and he was talking specifically about switching health insurance companies if a provider isn’t giving good service.
   
We rate Markell’s statement False.