Monday, November 24th, 2014

Rick Santorum and the Truth-O-Meter

Three-fourths of Rick Santorum's ratings have been Half True or lower.
Three-fourths of Rick Santorum's ratings have been Half True or lower.

Editor's Note: The is the third in a series of stories summarizing our ratings on the Republican candidates for president. We'll be publishing them through Dec. 31.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is known for being a passionate social conservative, a quality that endears him to some and infuriates others.

And in the fact-checking realm, that makes for a pretty colorful record.

Santorum’s most memorable appearance on PolitiFact was in March 2011, when he claimed that President Barack Obama had said that "any child born prematurely ... can be killed." He was referring to legislation meant to protect infants who survive "botched" abortions. But he was nowhere near accurate about what Obama said, and we rated him Pants on Fire.

Also on the topic of abortion, Santorum made a bizarre logical leap in claiming that "a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion, because one in three pregnancies end in abortion." We found the actual rate to be less than one in fourand rated his claim False.

He drew a similarly erroneous conclusion in saying that church attendance rates are low in Europe because churches there are supported by taxes. Our ruling: Mostly False.

But Santorum was right on the money in claims about unemployment among college graduates and the history of the balanced budget amendment. He correctly characterized Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s action on providing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

All told, Santorum's PolitiFact report card shows he has three True ratings, no Mostly Trues, four Half Trues, two Mostly Falses, three Falses and one Pants on Fire.