Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Mile-high medley

SUMMARY: As the Democratic convention gets underway in Denver, we examine claims from Obama, his wife, Michelle, running mate Joe Biden and the party platform.

With chants of "John McCain is wrong!" the Democratic Party kicked off its 2008 convention by criticizing the Bush administration and telling the life story of Barack Obama.

We doubt we'll be able to verify that Michelle Obama memorized every episode of the Brady Bunch when she was a kid, as her brother Craig Robinson claimed. But we did check several other claims from the convention's first day, as well as the weekend introduction of Obama's running mate, Sen. Joe Biden:

• We found Biden was cherry-picking with his claim that Sen. John McCain "supported George Bush's policies 95 percent of the time." We gave Obama a True for a similar claim, but Obama correctly specified he was referring to 2007. Biden didn't, and gave a misleading impression of McCain's support of the Bush administration, which has been as low as 77 percent. So Biden earned a Half True.

• Obama was in the ballpark when he said the Bush administration's latest plans for troop withdrawal from Iraq are "more or less the same time frame I announced two years ago." He was off slightly in the time frame, but he was right that there are similarities between the plans. He earned a Mostly True.

• We found the Democratic platform was accurate with its claim that the United States spends "more on health care than any other country, but we're ranked 47th in life expectancy and 43rd in child mortality." That earned a True.

• Nancy Pelosi repeated a claim we've heard from the Obama campaign that he has "has bridged partisanship to bring about significant reform." We found that while he has had some bipartisan success, his voting record is almost in lockstep with the Democratic Party. So we gave Pelosi's claim a Half True.

• Michelle Obama invoked a claim that we saw in some of Obama's TV ads, that he succeeded in "moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hard-working families." We found the welfare claim Mostly True and the tax claim also Mostly True.