Booker vs. the Truth-O-Meter
By Caryn Shinske
Published on Thursday, December 20th, 2012 at 11:10 a.m.
Next year's governor's race isn't set yet but Newark Mayor Cory Booker won't be in it. Booker announced today he won't run for the Democratic nomination and raising speculation that he would contend for Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat in 2014.
Lautenberg (D-NJ), is the Garden State’s senior senator. He has not announced if he will seek re-election. New Jersey’s other senator, Democrat Robert Menendez, was re-elected in November.
Booker has gone up against the Truth-O-Meter 12 times and had more truthful statements than not: four True rulings, four Mostly True rulings and four False rulings.
As we did with Buono, let’s sample some of Booker’s rulings on the Truth-O-Meter. To see a complete list of Booker rulings, click here.
Health care claims
During a Planned Parenthood rally in September at the Democratic National Convention, Booker criticized Gov. Chris Christie for slashing funding to Planned Parenthood that resulted "in the reduction of hours, the elimination of days, elimination of access to women in my city and all over my state." Booker’s claim rated True. Christie eliminated nearly $7.5 million for family planning services in the fiscal year 2011 budget, leading to the closure of six family planning clinics around the state.
Booker took issue nearly a year ago with what the nation spends on health care, as a percentage of gross domestic product. GDP is the total value of the country’s goods and services. Booker claimed the nation’s health care costs total 17 percent of the GDP – a figure that should be reined in since other nations competitive with the United States have health care costs in the 12 percent of GDP range. That claim also was deemed True.
Booker had Devils managing partner Jeff Vanderbeek in his cross hairs when he claimed in April that Vanderbeek refused to give to the Newark any of the money required under a lease with the Prudential Center to city charities and for job training. Booker made the claim after an arbitration panel ruled for the Devils after a long-running feud between city and team officials over unpaid rent, parking revenues and other issues. The claim was Mostly True. Arbitrators determined that the Devils paid $346,576 toward youth and community sports programs and job training programs for the first year of the contract, but did not pay $1.5 million in combined payments over the next three years of the deal.
Booker discussed crime in the Brick City during an October 2011 radio interview on WBGO, citing what he called "startling" statistics about shooting victims in the criminal justice system. Booker claimed that people shot in Newark have over an 80 percent chance of having been arrested an average of 10 times. That’s Mostly True. Booker’s claim was generally on target but should have said "shot and killed" to be completely accurate.
Ahead of his annual State of the City Address, Booker in February said Newark’s unemployment rate had fallen 2 percentage points in 2011. His data was flawed, though, because it wasn’t adjusted for seasonal fluctuations such as holiday and summer hiring. An economist with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics told us that when reviewing nonseasonally adjusted data, it’s best to compare annual averages or year-over-year data, meaning one month from one year to the same month the next year. Following that principle, Newark’s actual unemployment decrease was 0.7 percent. Booker’s claim was rated False.
The city police department was the focus of a May 2011 claim, when Booker appeared on WNYC-FM’s Brian Lehrer Show. In discussing allegations made by the American Civil Liberties Union against the city police department, Booker claimed the ACLU never asked for an investigation of the department, but instead requested a federal monitor to review hundreds of allegations of misconduct against citizens. That claim also was ruled False. An ACLU letter to the U.S. Department of Justice requests an investigation in the first sentence of the document. Use of a federal monitor is mentioned in the final pages of the document, as an option to an investigation.
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Researchers: Caryn Shinske
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