Friday, October 31st, 2014

The Truth-O-Meter report card on John Cornyn

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn speaks about health care at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn speaks about health care at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.

On Feb. 10, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., announced he wouldn’t run for re-election when his term ends in 2012, sparking speculation over who will seek his leadership post as Senate minority whip in 2013.

Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe four days later, Cornyn said: "When he leaves the Senate, the Whip spot will be open, and I’m going to be part of that contest."

We don’t know whether Cornyn will become Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s right-hand man. But we’re taking this opportunity to review where the Texan’s claims have landed in Truth-O-Meter tests.

So far, we’ve checked 11 statements that Cornyn has made.

Cornyn has not drawn a Pants on Fire, our rating reserved for ridiculous statements, but he has earned two Falses.

Example: In September, Cornyn issued a statement saying he had voted against a defense measure because it included "language that would require military hospitals to provide abortions on demand. We found that the bill included language allowing military hospitals to provide abortions in cases beyond the existing permissible instances of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is endangered. But it had no mandate. Also, whether a doctor is willing and available to perform an abortion, among other factors, chips at Cornyn’s "on demand" claim.

Cornyn earned one Barely True for saying that "spillover violence in Texas is real and it is escalating." We found that the threat of spillover violence exists along the border and there have been sporadic, violent acts, but officials including law officers closest to the border said there was no surge spilling into Texas.

And Half True? Cornyn has earned four, including one for his boast that Fort Hood is "the largest military installation in the free world." It’s not the largest in acreage, and more military personnel were stationed at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg when we checked. However, the exact number of soldiers at both posts fluctuates. At times, Fort Hood is the largest.

Cornyn has one Mostly True to his name: In August, he said "taxpayer money will provide iPod Touch devices to high school students in Utah, BlackBerry smart phones to smokers who kick the habit and funding for exotic ants in East Africa." Sprint provided the phones for free, among other hitches.

Cornyn racked up three Trues, one for saying in May that U.S. Supreme Court-nominee Elena Kagan "spent her entire professional career in Harvard Square, Hyde park and the D.C. Beltway."

Lastly, Cornyn garnered a Half Flip on the Flip-O-Meter.

When former President George W. Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court in 2005, Cornyn celebrated her lack of judicial experience as a plus. Last year, though, he stressed Obama nominee Elena Kagan’s lack of judicial experience as a weakness, and later voted against  her confirmation.