Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Nancy Pelosi on soccer, the 'new' Bin Laden, Rush's red face: PolitiFact Oregon Roundup

Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, shown here in an Associated Press photo, topped PolitiFact Wisconsin's most-clicked items for April.
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, shown here in an Associated Press photo, topped PolitiFact Wisconsin's most-clicked items for April.

The World Cup is in full swing, which means PolitiFact Oregon is pretty much running on one cylinder.

How bad are things? When a colleague said ‘good morning’ yesterday, the entire PolitiFact Oregon staff flopped to the ground. (The colleague received a red card, for which we’re not about to apologize.)

So it only seems appropriate that a World Cup-related claim lead off today’s roundup. Sprinkle in Hillary Clinton, Paul Ryan and Rush Limbaugh and you’re looking at a starting front you don’t even want to dream about tackling.

1. Nancy Pelosi makes a (false) pitch about soccer

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., addressed immigration reform on Twitter. Her tweet was accompanied by a photograph of the U.S. Men’s National Team. Omitted were the faces of 11 players. That’s how many immigrants play on the team, the tweet indicated.

PolitiFact National’s check showed that none of the 11 players in question are immigrants. Some aren’t even the children of immigrants. Pelosi’s claim was called a handball, which is to say it was rated False.

2. Hillary Clinton plays on

Hillary Clinton, in her recently published memoir Hard Choices, argues that, "by 2006, the American people were overwhelmingly against the Iraq war."

Since military conflicts are once again flaring in Iraq, PolitiFact checked her claim. Polls at that time show that about 65 percent of the U.S. public opposed the war by the second half of 2006. But whether that was enough to constitute "overwhelming" opposition, Clinton was allowed to play on with a Mostly True ruling.

3. Questions of identity and more

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, in tying President Barack Obama to the current Sunni uprising in Iraq, said, "The head of this band of savages is a man named Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the new Osama Bin Laden." He was, she claimed, released by Obama in 2009, one year before founding the current Islamist military movement.

PunditFact, noting several caveats, wrote, "…the legal contract between the United States and Iraq that guaranteed that the United States would give up custody of virtually every detainee was signed during the Bush administration." The claim, deemed off-side, was rated False.

4. Estonia aside, Congressman Ryan is on the mark

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., recently argued in favor of a U.S. military build up. But he also called on U.S. allies to step up their own efforts, arguing that only three of the 28 members in NATO – Britain, Greece and the U.S. – meet their pledge of directing at least 2 percent of their economies to defense spending.

PolitiFact Wisconsin's check found that he neglected to count a fourth member, Estonia. "But that oversight doesn’t negate his larger point," the story said, "which is that few NATO countries meet the 2 percent benchmark." The claim contacted the ball before digging deep into the opposing player’s shin, giving it a Mostly True.

5. Rush gets it patently wrong

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh jumped into the fray after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the trademark registration of the Washington Redskins football team because it disparages American Indians. Limbaugh sought to place the blame elsewhere in saying, "This is not the Patent and Trademark Office. This is Barack Obama."

PunditFact found that the court involved issued the same decision in 1999. "This time," it added, "the two judges who found the trademarks disparaging were appointed in the Bush years." Limbaugh’s claim was rated a head-buttingly False.

Have we exhausted our soccer references? Don’t count on it. We have players warming up on the sidelines, all ready to get their kick on. Thoughts on the roundup? Leave ‘em here.