Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Fact-checking Kyl and Gates from ABC's 'This Week'

'This Week' host Jake Tapper interviewed Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
'This Week' host Jake Tapper interviewed Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

We're fact-checking several claims made on today's edition of This Week.

• With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, nomination hearings were a major topic on the Sunday shows. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said he thought a filibuster was unlikely, but he wasn't ruling it out entirely. "President Obama himself attempted to filibuster Justice Alito, who now sits on the Supreme Court," Kyl said.

We looked at the record and found Obama did join a Democratic filibuster that ultimately failed. Interestingly, Obama still had some critical words on the filibuster; read our full report. We rated Kyl's statement True.

• Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the Obama administration's  Nuclear Posture Review. Gates, who served in the same job under President George W. Bush, said the policy objectives of the two administrations are not that different. "The policy of the Bush administration was also not to add new nuclear capabilities."

We found Gates' claim to be Half True because he did not acknowledge the Bush administration's early efforts for a nuclear "bunker buster."

• Kyl disputed the premise of a question about immigration reform. Host Jake Tapper asked about remarks Kyl made in Arizona, that "Republicans will use the opportunity to filibuster." Kyl replied, "I don't think I said that," before adding that it would be "very difficult" for Congress to pass comprehensive reform. But we reviewed a report from a Yuma newspaper that quoted Kyl as making the statement, so we rated his statement that he didn't as False.

• Gates answered a question about video that showed American soldiers in an Apache helicopter opening fire on a group of men on Baghdad street, which resulted in the death of two Reuters journalists. Gates said the incident was unfortunate, but "the video doesn't show the broader picture of the firing that was going on at American troops." We examined the video's context in detail and concluded that Gates' statement was Mostly True.

• We examined a statement from Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., about then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor, that "no one questioned that she was out of the mainstream." Actually, we easily found several times that Republican senators said she was out of the mainstream, so we rated Schumer's statement False. 

• We also looked at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement that she doesn't answer hypotheticals. She often doesn't, but we also found a few exceptions. So we rated her statement Half True.