Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Austin's Lee Leffingwell survives debut at PolitiFact

It's Lee Leffingwell's autograph on this bat, which was not part of his inaugural fact check by PolitiFact Texas.
It's Lee Leffingwell's autograph on this bat, which was not part of his inaugural fact check by PolitiFact Texas.

Flashing back to the week that was at PolitiFact Texas...

Andy Brown, chairman of the Travis County Democrats, overreached when he said nobody in higher education believes $10,000 bachelor’s degrees are possible. We rated that False last week. But another Austin Democrat drew a True rating in his debut against the Texas Truth-O-Meter. Mayor Lee Leffingwell said four-year City Council terms are the norm in cities like Austin.

Similarly, New  York Times columnist Paul Krugman rang True for saying the poorest 40 percent of Texans average less income than counterparts nationally (though it’s a close call).

Three legislators--state Rep. Carol Alvarado and Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston and Sen. Glenn Hegar of Katy--also went fact-checked. Alvarado made a Mostly True statement on the need to use a vaginal sonogram if a sonogram is undertaken early in pregnancy. Patrick proved Barely True when he made a flawed comparison between the number of workers for all Texas school districts combined versus individual corporations. And Hegar sunk to False with his boast about Texans eating more catfish than residents of alleveryone in other states combined.

The reader favorite of the week, based on web views, was our review of Times’ columnist Gail Collins’ claim that Texas has very high rankings for teen pregnancies. She would have been perfectly correct by referring to birth rates.That truth test touched off reader comments including this: "You seemed to be harping on Ms. Collins saying birth rate instead of pregnancies - but since pregnancy rates should be higher than birth rates by definition (you don’t get one without the other, but some pregnancies don’t end in births) it seems like you are needlessly nit-picking."

Beyond Texas, PolitiFact National smelled smoke on this Pants-on-Fire statement from former Pennylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum: "Any child born prematurely, according to the president, in his own words, can be killed." Another GOP prospect, Mike Huckabee, came out Barely True on his statement that statistically, "most single moms are very poor, under-educated, can't get a job and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death."

Our colleagues in Washington also concluded that President Barack Obama has broken his campaign promise to close the facility holding terrorist suspects at Guantanamo.

Want a nudge by e-mail when future flashbacks post? Write us at politifact@statesman.com . We’re also on Twitter (@politifacttexas) and Facebook (politifacttexas). We’re happy too to hear what you think or to be pointed toward fresh statements for possible review.