Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Getting fired up in St. Paul

SUMMARY: After losing a day because of Hurricane Gustav, Republicans — and their new ally Joe Lieberman — try to make up for lost time with lots of praise of John McCain and a few digs at Barack Obama. We check the facts.

Hurricane Gustav was powerful enough to pretty much shut down the Republican National Convention on Monday, but the GOP moved switfly on Tuesday to establish the party's narrative for the fall campaign.

They portrayed John McCain as an American hero with a life-long commitment to helping people.

"Public service is more than his profession," Tommy Espinoza, a McCain friend, told the crowd. "It is his passion."

First Lady Laura Bush told the crowd that, "John McCain has what it takes to face the challenges ahead."

The night was primarily about McCain, with former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson telling stories from the Arizona senator's autobiography about his time as a prisoner of war and an "exotic dancer" McCain dated in Florida. The biggest fireworks came from Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-Independent Democrat, who concluded the night with hearty praise of McCain and some sharp criticism of Obama.

We checked several claims from the speeches and other recent statements:

• Lieberman said that Obama had voted to cut funding for soldiers "on the battlefield." We rated that one Barely True.

• We also checked Lieberman's claim that Obama had not been involved with Republicans on any significant legislation. We rated that one False.

• We checked Sen. Lindsey Graham's comment from a Sunday talk show that Sen. Joe Biden voted against the first Gulf War, opposed the troop surge in Iraq and wanted to partition Iraq. We rated that True.

• We found Rudy Giuliani was right when he said Palin "already has more executive experience" than Barack Obama and Joe Biden "combined." Another True.