Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Familiar claim in Ron Paul ad slamming Rick Santorum

This ad from U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas says his Republican presidential rival Rick Santorum isn't a fiscal conservative.

In a new video ad, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas targets rival Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, questioning the former U.S. senator's fiscal conservative credentials — and repeating a claim we've fact-checked.

Peppered with humorous graphics, including a headshot of Santorum on a tie-dye background and text that says "not groovy," Paul's ad makes several claims about Santorum, including that he "doubled the size of the Department of Education."

We have not looked into Santorum's role, if any, in growing the department.

But we dug into the recent budget history of the Education Department in January 2012 after Paul made a similar statement — albeit not focused on Santorum — in an interview the day after finishing second in the Republican Party's New Hampshire presidential primary.

Speaking to Charlie Rose of CBS News, Paul criticized Republicans' spending record when they had control of the federal government, saying: "When we've had the House and the Senate and the presidency, we coalesced, and we increased the (national) debt, and we increased the spending, we doubled the size of the Department of Education, we passed (the) No Child Left Behind (Act), we passed Sarbanes-Oxley. Why should we coalesce behind conservatives who aren't conservative?"

Our fact-check of Paul's statement on the Education Department focused on spending over much of the first six years of Republican George W. Bush's presidency, when Republicans controlled Congress. (From June 2001 into November 2002, Democrats narrowly held the Senate.) And in the last federal budget adopted when Republicans held full sway (2007), the Education Department's appropriation was 60 percent higher than in 2001, 36 percent accounting for inflation. That's an increase, but not a doubling. Paul's statement rated Half True on the Texas Truth-O-Meter.