Fact checking Hillary Clinton
Now that the former governor of Florida has announced his candidacy for president in 2016, much water-cooler and pundit talk has centered on another Bush-Clinton battle.
But beyond sharing famous last names, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton also share a history of being heavily fact-checked by PolitiFact.
Last week, the focus was on Bush as he officially announced his campaign.
PolitiFact has spent far longer looking at claims from Clinton, including during her four-year tenure as Secretary of State.
We have fact-checked 108 statements by Clinton. Of them, 35 were rated True, 19 Mostly True and 23 Half True. Another 18 were ruled Mostly False, 11 were False, and two rated Pants on Fire.
See them all at http://www.politifact.com/personalities/hillary-clinton/.
Here's a sampling:
"The top 25 hedge fund managers (are) making more than all of America's kindergarten teachers combined." Hillary Clinton on June 13, 2015 in a campaign rally speech.
Based on the campaign rallies she has held so far, Clinton will be a far more humble candidate than she was in her 2008 campaign.
As part of that, Clinton is showcasing a more populist ideology that repeats claims that regular Americans are being left behind as the rich get richer.
"While many of you are working multiple jobs to make ends meet," Clinton said in a June 13 rally, "you see the top 25 hedge fund managers making more than all of America’s kindergarten teachers combined."
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there were 158,000 kindergarten teachers in private and public schools nationwide in 2014. Their combined pay: about $8.5 billion.
By comparison, Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine said top 25 of its ranking of hedge fund managers collectively earned $11.62 billion.
That figure is just an estimate, and a firm number is difficult to verify because no one knows for certain a given manager’s stake in a firm.
But 2014 was "paltry" year for the managers, who earned nearly twice as much, $21.15 billion, in 2013, according to the magazine.
Even in a bad year, that’s a huge gap.
We rated her statement True.
"In Florida, when Jeb Bush was governor, state authorities conducted a deeply flawed purge of voters before the presidential election in 2000" and "in 2004 a plan to purge even more voters was headed off." Hillary Clinton on June 4, 2015 in a speech at Texas Southern University.
Clinton has been the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination even before she officially announced her run, but she appears to see Bush as the main rival in a crowded GOP field.
In a speech calling for an expansion of voting rights, Clinton attacked Bush’s tenure as Florida’s governor in what she said was part of Republican governors’ attempts to restrict voting.
"In Florida, when Jeb Bush was governor, state authorities conducted a deeply flawed purge of voters before the presidential election in 2000," she said. "Thankfully, in 2004 a plan to purge even more voters was headed off."
Florida’s 2000 purge actually began with legislation from 1998, designed remove dead voters and felons after thousands of corrupt votes were cast in Miami’s 1997 mayoral election.
The private company hired to find those ineligible voters warned of a high number of false positives, but the state moved forward.
After the 2000 election drew international news and delayed the naming of a president, news organizations determined at least 1,100 voters were wrongly removed. In 2001, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission concluded government officials, including Bush, were responsible for the mistakes.
Florida compiled a list of 47,000 potential voters before the 2004 election but scrapped the list after just two weeks when multiple news agencies found thousands of voters wrongly included.
Clinton, therefore, is correct to cite the efforts that occurred when Bush was governor. However, she omitted the fact the work was started before he took office.
The statement is accurate but needs additional context. So we rated it Mostly True.
"We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt." Hillary Clinton on June 9, 2014 in an interview on ABC.
Clinton’s efforts to connect with regular voters while also acknowledging her successes has created some claims that bordered on being disconnected with reality.
Take a June interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, when Clinton acknowledged she and former President Bill Clinton had done very well since he left office in 2000 but also claimed they were "dead broke" when he left the White House.
"You have no reason to remember, but we came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt," Clinton said. "We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea's education. It was not easy."
Clinton’s 2000 Senate financial disclosure form showed the couple’s highest possible assets were worth $1.8 million, while their lowest possible debt was nearly $2.3 million – putting them at least $500,000 in the red.
But the assets do not include two personal homes, a $1.7 million house in Chappaqua, N.Y. and a $2.85 million home in Washington, D.C. bought just before the pair left the nation’s capital.
While both homes have mortgages, the equity would have counted toward the assets in the balance sheet.
And experts said the pair was able to buy a $2.85 million house, despite their debt, because of their longer-term earnings potential.
In fact, it’s worth noting the Clintons had erased their debts by 2004, partially from speaking fees and book advances.
That hardly fits the common understanding of "dead broke."
We rated this claim Mostly False.
"I remember landing under sniper fire." Hillary Clinton on March 17, 2008 in Washington, D.C.
During an introduction to a foreign policy speech on Iraq on March 17, 2008, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton reminisced about her days as first lady and a trip to Tuzla, Bosnia, she made in March 1996.
"I remember landing under sniper fire," she said. "There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."
Clinton’s own memoir, "Living History," paints a different picture, as did a 2007 newspaper interview.
In both, she mentioned a corkscrew landing and being told to hustle off the tarmac because of the threat of sniper fire.
There's no doubt flying into Bosnia was dangerous back in 1996. But CBS footage seals the question of whether the threat of fire is the same as actual snipers.
The CBS News video shows Clinton arriving on the tarmac under no visible duress, with enough time to greet a child offering her a poem.
The memory of being under sniper fire would be hard to forget, forcing a harsh look at her hyperbole.
We rated the claim Pants on Fire!
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ROAD TO 2016
Age: 67, born Oct. 26, 1947; Chicago
Political party: Democrat
Political experience: Elected U.S. Senator for New York, 2000; re-elected 2006. Served U.S. Secretary of State, 2008-2012.
Education: Wellesley College, B.A., 1969; Yale University Law School, J.D., 1973
Family: Married to Bill Clinton with one daughter, Chelsea.
Interesting factoid: Began working in politics volunteering with the presidential campaign of Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964. In 1978, became the first first lady in Arkansas to work, as an attorney, while her husband was governor. Led the Task Force on National Health Care Reform in 1993, supporting then-President Bill Clinton’s health care reform bill, which was was later defeated by Congress.
Sources: HillaryClinton.com, VoteSmart.org