Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Rick Perry airs 2010 "lie of year" in fund-raising pitch

Gov. Rick Perry busses his wife, Anita, at an August campaign stop (Associated Press photo).
Gov. Rick Perry busses his wife, Anita, at an August campaign stop (Associated Press photo).

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, lately polling ahead of other Republican contenders for president, sent out a fund-raising letter saying that if the country doesn’t leave the path carved by Democrats, "America will never recover."

His Aug. 13 letter features some familiar, and PolitiFact-checked, claims.

Its opening sentence, for instance, bemoans record debt, widespread unemployment — and a "government takeover of health care," referring to the 2010 Democratic-steered overhaul of federal health care laws.

Record debt? We haven’t rated that precise claim, but came close.

PolitiFact National found Mostly True a June 2011 statement by Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney that by the end of his first term, President Barack Obama will have added as much debt as all prior presidents combined.

Unemployment is high in many states, including Texas, which had a July rate of 8.4 percent, higher than the rates for 26 of the 50 states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We recently rated True U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s statement, tied to June figures, that Texas had worse unemployment than 25 states.

Perry’s "government takeover of health care" claim? It’s identical to PolitiFact National’s 2010 Lie of the Year.

By selecting "government takeover" as Lie of the Year, PolitiFact did not judge whether the health care law is good policy.

The takeover phrase is simply not accurate.
   
Said Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: "The label 'government takeover’ has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a 'takeover.' " PolitiFact’s full analysis is here.

There’s more to Perry’s fund-raising pitch, including: "Since June 2009, Texas has created 40 percent of the net new jobs in America."

That figure traces to research by the Federal Reserve branch in Dallas that determined that between June 2009, the month marked by the National Bureau of Economic Research as the end of the recession, and April 2011, Texas accounted for 37 percent of net job gains nationally, by one calculation, or 45 percent, by another.

Earlier, we rated Half True a June 2011 claim by Perry that since June 2009, about 48 percent of all the jobs created in America were in Texas. We concluded that the time period Perry singled out might be less meaningful than one starting from the month when jobs bottomed out nationally. Also, like some other job-gain claims, his statement did not take into account any jobs gained in states that experienced net job losses in the nearly two-year period.

Lee McPheters, an Arizona State University economist, told us such comparisons have methodological flaws we didn’t entirely spell out in our fact-check; peek at his analysis here.

Of course, it’s our continuing job to gauge all candidate claims. Write us at politifact@statesman.com and join us on Facebook and Twitter.