Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Hobby Lobby blowback, Ted Cruz, National Right to Life: PolitiFact Oregon Roundup

Sen. Ted Cruz, predicted to win a presidential straw poll this week, speaks here at a New Orleans conference May 31, 2014 (Associated Press).
Sen. Ted Cruz, predicted to win a presidential straw poll this week, speaks here at a New Orleans conference May 31, 2014 (Associated Press).

It’s been awhile – maybe forever, in fact – since we saw a PolitiFact piece dealing with light rail. Today’s PolitiFact Oregon Roundup rectifies that possible omission.

Toss in claims touching on Hobby Lobby, solar vs. coal and Ted Cruz and we’ve got some heavy lifting ahead. So let’s get right to it.

1. Getting heavy about light rail in Florida

In Florida, critics of the Greenlight Pinellas mass transit initiative are attacking the project, in part by saying that "light rail does not reduce congestion."

PolitiFact Florida's check didn’t find studies showing a strict reduction in congestion. It did, however, turn up work showing that congestion grows more slowly in communities that have implemented light rail, especially if they toss in other options enabling people not to drive. The claim was rated Half True.

2. Hillary on her Hobby Lobby high horse

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby – a 5-4 decision allowing some companies to opt out of providing certain types of contraceptives for their employees – drew sharp criticism from Hillary Clinton.

Clinton’s contention that Hobby Lobby sales clerk "is not going to get contraception" didn’t hold up, according to PolitiFact National’s check. "There’s reason to believe that future court decisions could allow companies to forgo payment for all types of birth control," the piece said, "but Clinton’s claim refers specifically to Hobby Lobby’s policies toward its employees." Her exaggerated claim was rated Mostly False.

3. Whitehouse's solar glow

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., recently claimed that jobs in the country’s solar industry are now outpacing those in coal.

PolitiFact Rhode Island’s check of three sources backed up his claim. The National Mining Association offered a contrary view, but its numbers were dated and counted categories such as off-site transportation workers on coal barges and ocean freighters. Because Whitehouse’s statement was specifically about coal-mining jobs, it was rated True.

4. No amnesty for Ted Cruz's False claim

In Texas, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, attributed  the flood of children streaming across the border into this country to President Barack Obama’s promise of amnesty.

PolitiFact Texas identified factors behind the migration. They included home-country conditions in some Central American nations and a policy reaffirmed by Congress before Obama became president enabling unaccompanied children from places other than Canada and Mexico to settle here with family members or others while waiting for immigration cases to be heard. Lacking any evidence that Obama has promised amnesty, Cruz’s claim was rated False.

5. Just the opposite, Rep. Amash

In Michigan, tea party favorite Rep. Justin Amash is facing a tough test from Republican establishment-backed candidate Brian Ellis. In trying to burnish his conservative credentials Amash ran an ad saying he is rated Michigan’s No. 1 conservative. The names of several groups pop across the screen: National Right to Life, Club for Growth and Freedomworks.

In fact, National Right to Life ranked Amash’s record near the bottom of the GOP caucus from 2011 to 2012. For that and other reasons, his claim was rated False.

Thoughts on today’s Roundup? Something we missed? Let us know and let’s get the conversation started.