Truth-O-Meter report card on Kay Bailey Hutchison
Published on Friday, January 14th, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.
Drumroll, please: U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will not seek re-election in 2012.
"When my current term is up, I will have served Texas for 19 years in the United States Senate," she said in a Jan. 13 letter announcing that she won’t run again in 2012.
Amid speculation about who’ll seek the to-be-available seat — including Hutchison, who has changed her mind about not running for re-election before — we look back at how she’s fared against the Truth-O-Meter.
The Gentlelady from Texas has earned three Trues, most recently in April, after she blasted a budget request President Barack Obama sent to Congress that effectively dashed hopes of funding additional space shuttle flights after the last mission now slated for April. In a March press release, Hutchison, the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said: "If the space shuttle program is terminated, Russia and China will be the only nations in the world with the capability to launch humans into space."
Hutchison has made mostly-truthful statements on a couple occasions, too. During her unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign, she blasted Gov. Rick Perry for misspending, saying in a February radio ad he "spent over a million dollars on D.C. lobbyists asking for more federal money and lives in a luxury house that costs taxpayers $10,000 a month. We rated that Mostly True: State offices controlled by Perry or his appointees spent more than $1 million on Washington lobbyists, and his monthly rent is $9,000.
She also has four Half Trues to her name. In a Nov. 22 op-ed piece in the Austin American-Statesman, Hutchison said: "It has been reported that, on average, Democratic congressional districts received 81 percent more stimulus funds than Republican districts." Hutchison accurately cited a study of stimulus spending by a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. However, the study’s methodology was criticized because it ignored the fact that huge amounts of stimulus funds were flowing through state capitals, skewing the study’s results. After excluding state capitals from the analysis, the researcher found that Democratic districts on average received only 29 percent more stimulus funds than GOP districts.
Hutchison’s December 2009 claim that she "quadrupled agents to secure our border" earned her one of two Barely Trues. While she has advocated increasing border agents, being one of 100 senators, she didn’t personally quadruple anything.
In her note to constituents, Hutchison says that one of the reasons she stayed in office was to fight "the government takeover of our health care system." In a November 2009 TV ad, she landed one of her four False ratings for saying "everything about (the health care law) is going to raise costs, raise taxes and lower the quality of health care." The Senate’s version of the health care legislation was projected to increases costs at the onset and increase taxes, but it was also supposed to slow long-term federal spending.
Lastly, another laurel Hutchison can add to her two-decade tenure?
No Pants on Fire!
There’s plenty of time for more ratings, though. Hutchison said she’s going to serve out her term, which extends through 2012.
PolitiFact Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison’s file
We want to hear your suggestions and comments. Email the Texas Truth-O-Meter with feedback and with claims you'd like to see checked. If you send us a comment, we'll assume you don't mind us publishing it unless you tell us otherwise.