Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Rand Paul's numbers stumble, Nancy Pelosi and Mike Simpson not yet quite best friends: PolitiFact Oregon Roundup

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that the number of Obamacare-related cancellations exceeds the number of Kentuckians who got coverage under the law by a margin of 40 to 1. Is that correct?
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that the number of Obamacare-related cancellations exceeds the number of Kentuckians who got coverage under the law by a margin of 40 to 1. Is that correct?

Spoiler alert: Truth takes a beating in today’s PolitiFact Oregon Roundup.

This is by no means the first time we’ve included a batch of claims where most of the ratings are Pants on Fire. Nor do we expect it will be the last.

The May primary, after all, is just around the corner and truth seems to get 86’d even faster than usual this time of year. Daylight’s burning so let’s go.

1. Nancy Pelosi and Mike Simpson -- new BFF's?

In Idaho, eight-term Republican Congressman Mike Simpson faces Bryan Smith in this month’s primary. The Madison Action Fund, a conservative super PAC, rolled out an ad linking Simpson with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

PolitiFact National’s check found that the ad cherry picks a handful of votes to create the impression that Simpson and Pelosi are best buddies. "Suggesting any substantial alliance between Simpson and Pelosi is ridiculous," the piece concluded. "We rate the claim Pants on Fire!"

2. A M*A*S*H up of the truth

Remember the television show M*A*S*H? Well, it’s been a long time. At any rate, Wayne Rogers, who played "Trapper John" on the show is now an investor and Fox News pundit. He recently said of President Barack Obama, "He’s not just willing to lie. There are over 200 documented cases where he has lied, you know, you can keep your plan if you like it. You can keep your doctor if you like it. Those are the obvious lies."

Rogers didn’t respond to PunditFact’s request for proof. The story said the former actor appears to have gotten his information from an online list of 252 perceived transgressions by Obama (those include lying, broken promises, ethical lapses and objectionable policies). It added, "But we can say with certainly that the ‘documented’ total does not reach ‘over 200.’ Rogers’ claim is ridiculously false." He walked away with his trousers aflame.

3. When the word "rate" really matters

Things are getting testy in Rhode Island’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. Candidate Gina Raimonda, the Ocean State’s general treasurer, said, "Residential property taxes (in Providence) are up nearly 27 percent" under that city’s mayor and her rival, Angel Taveras.

PolitiFact Rhode Island found that Raimonda erred in saying taxes had climbed that much. If she’d said the tax rate was up nearly 27 percent under Taveras, her claim might have been viewed differently. As it was, she earned a Pants on Fire.

4. A pair of smoking pantaloons for the senator, please

The White House is all but claiming victory now that more than 8 million Americans have signed up for coverage under Obamacare. However, the health-care law still has its staunch critics, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., among them. In a recent newsletter, Paul said, "For every Kentuckian that has enrolled in Obamacare, 40 have been dropped from their coverage."

Paul’s math is hopelessly flawed, according to PolitiFact’s check. "In fact, it’s reasonable to argue that more people in Kentucky have coverage through Obamacare than have been canceled," its piece concluded. "Paul’s statement is so wildly off that we rate it…" You know the rest.

5. A claim that ran out of energy

A little closer to home, PolitiFact Oregon recently looked at the race between Rep. Jules Bailey, D-Portland, and businessman Brian Wilson for a seat on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners. Wilson, in an email to supporters, said Bailey was, "…instrumental in creating the Business Energy Tax Credit that let companies like Wal-Mart profit by $11 million while costing the Oregon general fund $33 million."

Our check showed that the program, although certainly controversial, was created long before Bailey was elected, and that a significant expansion to the program took place two years before Bailey was sworn in as a legislator. Far from helping funnel money into corporate pockets through tax credits available through the program, Bailey worked to clamp down on it, according to a state economist. Wilson’s claim was rated Pants on Fire.

We’re still working to compile enough "True" ratings to assemble an entire roundup. This time of year, apparently, that’s not an easy trick to pull off. Stay tuned – we’re trying.