Friday, December 19th, 2014

Benghazi, Florida DREAMers, Kareem's carom: PolitiFact Oregon Roundup

Did former U.N. ambassador not attribute the whole Benghazi attack to a YouTube video as television news commentator Cokie Roberts claimed? It's in today's PolitiFact Oregon Roundup.
Did former U.N. ambassador not attribute the whole Benghazi attack to a YouTube video as television news commentator Cokie Roberts claimed? It's in today's PolitiFact Oregon Roundup.

The May primary election is just over two weeks away and PolitiFact Oregon is holding its collective breath waiting for politicians and other prominent public figures to make last-second claims on behalf of their respective causes.

It’s the time of year for political junkies, in other words, that tops even the best vacation. Today’s roundup gives just a hint of what lies – lies? – ahead.

1. Cokie Roberts serves Rice on television

The Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack that led to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi continues to roil with controversy. On ABC’s This Week, commentator Cokie Roberts came to the aid of former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, claiming that Rice didn’t attribute the whole attack to outrage over a YouTube video.

PunditFact sifted through a number of interviews that Rice gave to media outlets in the days after the attack. In five different interviews, she said the attacks were not pre-planned, mentioned al-Qaida only once and even then to say she wasn’t sure they were involved and never once used the word "terrorism." Roberts’ defense of Rice merited a Mostly False rating.

2. Rick Scott flops in DREAMers tuition claim

State legislatures around the country have been wrestling with in-state tuition levels for DREAMers – college students who were brought to the United States illegally as children. In Florida, where immigration is an especially hot-button issue, Republican Gov. Rick Scott said last month that he supports setting in-state tuition for DREAMers at the same level paid by any state college student.

PolitiFact Florida checked that statement against how Scott viewed the same topic in a September 2011 interview. At that time, he said he "completely" opposed in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. His more recent claim was given a Full Flop.

3. Hey governor (candidate), leave those kids alone

In Texas, candidates are vying to see who will succeed Republican Gov. Rick Perry. The Democratic nominee, Wendy Davis, recently said Greg Abbott, her Republican counterpart, would force 4-year-olds to take standardized tests.

PolitiFact Texas’ check showed she largely missed her mark.  While Abbott does have a proposal to administer standardized tests to Texas students enrolled in public pre-k  at the start of each school year, he also lists alternate assessment methods and says "district who volunteer for his pre-k program should be left to pick an assessment approach from various options fashioned by the state." Davis’ claim was rated Mostly False.

4. Pretty soon, it adds up to real money

In Virginia, the state Democratic party claims the state is losing out on $5 million a day in federal funding by not expanding its Medicaid program. The Republican-led House, the assertion goes, is to blame.

PolitiFact Virginia’s check found that the claim is close, but not entirely accurate. The federal contribution would be about $4.5 million a day during the budget year that starts in mid-2015. The claim was rated Mostly True.

5. Kareem of a ghostly crop

Former NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabber, appearing on ABC’s This Week, said racism remains part of the American culture. "More whites believe in ghosts," he told host George Stephanopoulos, "than believe in racism."

PunditFact’s check concluded that Abdul-Jabber "seems to have interpreted polling about white Americans’ views of discrimination as their belief in racism." It added, "Experts told us that defining racism is difficult in terms of a poll and that a comparison with believing in ghosts in problematic." The claim was rated Mostly False.

From ghosts to Benghazi, there’s a lot to digest in today’s roundup. Thoughts of your own? Something we missed? Dunk it here and let’s get the conversation started.