Ted Cruz, win or lose, has the Texas Truth-O-Meter

Texan Ted Cruz smiles stumping in Indiana May 2, 2016. He's hoping for an upset in the Hoosier State's Republican presidential primary (Getty Images).
Texan Ted Cruz smiles stumping in Indiana May 2, 2016. He's hoping for an upset in the Hoosier State's Republican presidential primary (Getty Images).

We admit to having a soft spot for Texan Ted Cruz, the first-term senator who ended his bid for president after losing this week's Indiana Republican presidential primary to Donald Trump. (See PolitiFact's recap of Cruz dropping his bid.)

Not that we cut him (or anyone) slack on the Truth-O-Meter.

But the feller has unusual undeniable, even sometimes charming, gumption.

It seems just a rain shower ago that Cruz paused from the hustings to talk us through his dramatic-for-Texas claim that his lead opponent for the Senate seat, then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, had advocated a state income tax (which Texas doesn't have). Pants on Fire, we concluded in February 2012.

The Harvard Law grad didn't back down. He closed his telephone inveigh: "I would not say things that I did not believe were true."

Cruz defeated Dewhurst and then his Democratic opponent that year, turning next to confront (rather than court) what he'd later call the "Washington cartel." Of note, the senior Texas senator, John Cornyn, recently told KERA's Krys Boyd that clearly, Cruz "didn’t come here to remain in the Senate. He came here to run for president."

At the least, Cruz arrived in the capital intent on rattling china.

In a 2013 commentary posted by Politico, for instance, Cruz made a provocative claim about Chuck Hagel, the Republican nominated by President Barack Obama for Defense secretary. Hagel's nomination, Cruz said, "has been publicly celebrated by the Iranian government."

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman had expressed hope that with Hagel as secretary, Washington would become "respectful of the rights of nations" and if so, he said, Iran’s hatred of U.S. policies would decrease.

But there was no Hagelian party in Teheran, we found. Pants on Fire!

We lit a match again for Cruz's claim around the same time that Democrats told the Catholic Church that they’ll use federal powers to shut down church charities and hospitals if the church doesn’t change its beliefs.

Catholic bishops had said that potential accumulated fines resulting from refusals to carry out the contraception mandate will cause some institutions to shut down. But we found no sign of such a statement by Democrats-- or anything close.

To be sure, Cruz's full PolitiFact report card is far from entirely aflame:





Finally here, we're re-sharing our June 2015 look at Cruz's critique of fact-checking efforts. We found flaws in his pokes, as our story notes. Still, we took his jabs as backhanded recognition that we try to gauge accuracy every day, whatever happens at the polls.

Just this week, Cruz's campaign posted an ad stating Trump once had a $1 million court judgment against him "for hiring illegals."

That ad lists PolitiFact as the source of that information.

But hold that quesadilla.

The relevant PolitiFact fact check, posted in February 2016, says it was a Trump contractor, not Trump himself, who hired 200 undocumented Polish workers to demolish a building to make room for Trump Tower in Manhattan. Trump said he didn’t know. The lawsuit at issue sought $1 million in damages, and a judge ruled that Trump had to pay $325,000 plus interest. Next, the case was appealed and before it was retried, Trump settled out of court, so it’s unclear how much he ultimately paid out.

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