Friday, August 28th, 2015

Nancy Badertscher

Staff Writer

Nancy Badertscher has worked at the AJC for 13 years and has spent her career covering politics, education and governments throughout Georgia. She has won more than 25 state and national writing awards and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.


The latest Truth-O-Meter items from Nancy Badertscher


Many urban dwellers sweet on idea of backyard chickens

Mostly True

The goal is uniform standards promoting professionalism


Church shooting labeled early as "hate crime"


Lighnting strikes bring homeowners' claims

Recent stories from Nancy Badertscher

Carson cuts own path in pursuit of GOP nomination

The field for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination includes members of political dynasties, a developer turned reality TV star and two candidates who have not won any other office. Dr. Ben Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon, is one of the two GOP hopefuls with complete outsider status. Today, we look at our checks on claims he has made as part of our weekly series looking at candidates from both sides of the aisle.

Christie hopes his take-charge style will set him apart

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie entered the 2016 race for president, promising to bring his "tell-it-like-it-is" style to Washington and the nation’s problems. So far he’s struggled in the polls and in his efforts to stand out in a field of 17 Republican candidates, many of whom are better financed and arguably better liked. However, he did snag one of 10 coveted spots in the first presidential debate last week. Christie, 52, considers his now famously brash persona his biggest positive. ''We need strength, decision-making and authority back in the Oval Office,'' he said in his announcement speech. Christie was considered a rising star of the national Republican party in his first term as governor in traditionally Democratic New Jersey. He was encouraged to run for president in 2012, but said the time was not right and backed Mitt Romney. Because of his high profile, he was picked to give the keynote speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention. But, a month before the presidential election, Christie publicly praised President Barack Obama’s relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy, a gesture that party conservatives considered a self-serving and troubling misstep. News reports out of the Northeast say a large percentage of New Jersey has soured on Christie as promises of an economic rebound have been replaced by sluggish job growth and a series of credit downgrades. Christie’s administration also has been plagued by problems with the state pension system and with scandals, including allegations that a major traffic tie-up at the George Washington Bridge in 2013 was orchestrated as payback against a mayor who did not support Christie’s re-election bid. Christie has said he had no prior knowledge lane closings. Christie voters are likely to come from the moderate wing of the Republican Party. He has strongest appeal with party activists and business people. But he may appeal to Republicans who are eager to recapture the White House, with his track record of winning twice in a heavily Democratic state. As of Aug. 4, Christie’ statements have been rated on the Truth-O-Meter 93 times. True or Mostly True ratings have come his way 39 times, or on 42 percent of his statements. He had 25, or  27 percent, Half Truths, 8 or 9 percent Mostly False, 14, or 15 percent, False and 7, or 8 percent, Pants on Fire ratings. See them all at:

10 to meet in prime-time presidential debate

The first official debate of the 2016 Republican race for president airs in prime-time Thursday night, featuring 10 of the 17 announced candidates. The debate, which airs live from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fox News, is being billed as the first major opportunity for the candidates to try to distinguish themselves from the pack and from frontrunner, Donald Trump. PolitiFact will be live-tweeting during the debates and sharing fact-checks we’ve done of the candidates’ past statements. Check them out for yourself below. Want to comment on our rulings or suggest one of your own? Just go to our Facebook page ( You can also follow us on Twitter (  

Walker wants to build on early positives

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series from PolitiFact Georgia on the 2016 presidential candidates that appears on Mondays. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker entered the crowded Republican race for president July 13 with an edge over some of his competitors: a national conservative following built around his efforts against public employee unions. In his announcement speech, Walker, 47, said he will run for president as a Washington outsider who will cut taxes and reduce the size of the federal government.   Walker was first elected to a four-year term as governor of Wisconsin in 2010. But he was forced to face state voters again in 2012 after Democrats and organized labor collected enough signatures to force a recall election. They were upset by Walker's controversial plan to strip most public workers of union rights. Walker survived the recall election and was re-elected in 2014. "My record shows that I know how to fight," he said in a 45-minute speech announcing his candidacy for president. "And I know now, more than ever, that Americans need a president who can fight and win for America." PolitiFact has checked numerous statements by Walker in his tenure as governor and in the months that he has traveled the country in anticipation of entering the presidential race. As of last week, PolitiFact has fact-checked 145 statements by Walker, rating 16, or 11 percent, True; 32, or 22 percent, Mostly True; 27, or 19 percent, Half True; 22, or 15 percent, Mostly False; 38, or 26 percent, False; and 10, or 7 percent, Pants on Fire.

Trump makes provocative entry into 2016 presidential race

Real estate tycoon and reality television star Donald Trump carried his legendary reputation for making provocative remarks into his opening foray into the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump’s comments about illegal Mexican immigrants snagged the spotlight in the already crowded presidential contest and set off political fireworks. Three weeks later, Trump is still fending off criticism for saying Mexico is sending people with drug and criminal problems, even "some rapists," across the border into the United States. Millions of Americans know Trump from the reality television show "The Apprentice" and its catchphrase "You’re Fired." He’s also been in and out of the news for decades for his high-profile business ventures, his marital woes and romances, political jabs and trivia spats. Remember his persistence with the birther claim on President Barack Obama? The feud with Rosie O’Donnell? Some of Trump’s statements have crossed our path. We’ve fact-checked 20 statements, none of which we rated True. We rated two (9 percent) Mostly True, three (14 percent) Half True, 10 (45 percent) False and five (23 percent) Pants on Fire. Click the headline to read a sampling of our fact-checks, plus a brief bio.

Ted Cruz is in the race

ROAD TO 2016 The Ted Cruz file Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz Age: Born Dec. 22, 1970 ( 44) Political party: Republican Political experience: Domestic policy advisor to the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign; associate deputy attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, director, Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission; solicitor general, state of Texas; elected in 2012 as the 34th U.S. Senator from Texas. Education: Graduated with honors from Princeton University, with high honors from Harvard Law School, was law clerk to William Rehnquist, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the first Hispanic to serve in that position. Business: Private law practice Family: He and his wife Heidi live in Houston with their two daughters, Caroline and Catherine. Interesting factoid: Father was born in Cuba, survived being imprisoned and tortured. He fled to Texas in 1957, penniless and not speaking a word of English. He made 50 cents an hour washing dishes, put himself through the University of Texas and started a small business in the oil and gas industry. His father is now a pastor in Dallas. Source: Cruz Senate website, news reports  

Jeb joins the pack

ROAD TO 2016 The Jeb Bush file John Ellis "Jeb" Bush Age: 62, born Feb. 11, 1953 in Midland, Texas Political party: Republican Political experience: Served as Florida secretary of commerce, 1986-1988; ran unsuccessfully for governor of Florida, 1994; elected governor of Florida, 1998 and 2002 Education: Graduate of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., University of Texas with degree in Latin American affairs Business: Real estate development Family: Married to Columba Bush since 1974 and has three children, George P. Bush, Noelle Bush, John Ellis Bush Jr. Interesting factoid: parents are first lady and former President George H.W.. Bush and brother is former President George W. Bush. Fluent in Spanish.

PolitiFact at 5: True-rated fact-checks

What better way to close out our celebration of PolitiFact Georgia’s five-year anniversary than to look at claims that we researched and found were true. Just as the claims we’ve rated False or Pants On Fire point out when politicians got it wrong or played it fast and loose with the facts, the True-rated fact checks highlight when they did their homework and were right. That was the aim five years and more than 1,000 fact checks ago when The Atlanta Journal-Constitution launched PolitiFact Georgia, a unique journalistic attempt to parse political truth from political fiction. Summaries of a few of our True fact checks through the years are below. To comment on our rulings or suggest one of your own, go to our Facebook page ( You can also follow us on Twitter through our Twitter handle @politifactga.  

PolitiFact Georgia at 5 shares some favorite claims

PolitiFact Georgia continues celebrating its fifth anniversary today by showcasing some head-turning claims we’ve fact-checked over the years from politicians, newsmakers and social media. Some of the hard-to-believe claims proved to be true, and those easy to accept were sometimes shown to be rather outlandish. But all of them provided interesting fodder for our fact-checkers. Summaries of a few of our favorites are below. To comment on our rulings or suggest one of your own, go to our Facebook page ( You can also follow us on Twitter through our Twitter handle @politifactga.    

PolitiFact at 5 looks at some favorite Falses

PolitiFact Georgia is celebrating its fifth anniversary this week with a look today at claims that have ended up on the wrong end of the AJC Truth-O-Meter over the years. The Truth-O-Meter arrow struck False in these cases, even if the speaker didn’t always admit to an error. In other instances, we received the email or phone call that essentially said: Oops. My bad. I was wrong. Mea culpa. Summaries of a few of our favorite False rated statements through the years can be found below. To comment on our rulings or suggest one of your own, go to our Facebook page ( You can also follow us on Twitter through our Twitter handle @politifactga.