Monday, September 22nd, 2014

He said, she said

SUMMARY: The Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach featured sharp comments by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. We found Clinton continued to distort Obama's comments about Ronald Reagan, while other claims were closer to the truth.

The Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Jan. 21, 2008, turned into such a battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that John Edwards had to remind the CNN moderators that he was on stage.

"There's a third person in this debate," he said.

But alas, the fireworks primarily came from Obama and Clinton, who continued to feud about Obama's statements about Ronald Reagan. And building on comments made over the weekend by her husband, Sen. Clinton continued to distort Obama's remarks.

She said that Obama had talked about "admiring Ronald Reagan" and said, "The facts are that he has said in the last week that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years."

But that's not what Obama said. As we noted in this item on Bill Clinton's attack, Obama did not say he "liked" the Republican ideas or that "the good ideas came from the Republicans."

What he said was that "Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not" and that "it's fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom."

But the Clintons continue to twist those words and have earned a False for repeatedly distorting them.

We also checked these claims from the debate:

* Obama claimed that while he was a community organizer in Chicago neighborhoods that had been hard-hit by plant closings, Clinton was a corporate lawyer on the Wal-Mart board of directors. We gave that a True.

* Clinton said she was fighting Republican ideas when Obama was "practicing law and representing your contributor, (Antoin) Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago." We gave that a Barely True because Obama did little work for Rezko and it was before the slumlord charges surfaced.

* Obama claimed that Clinton had once called NAFTA a "boon" to the economy. Although Clinton in the past has had measured praise for the trade agreement, we couldn't find any evidence she called it a boon and it appears the sole source for the Obama campaign's claim is a Newsday chart summarizing her position. We gave Obama's claim a False.

* Edwards had his facts right with his statement that the net worth of black families is one-tenth the net worth of white families. We gave that a True.

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