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Pence vs. the Truth-O-Meter

By Robert Farley
Published on Friday, January 28th, 2011 at 12:04 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence has formally shut the door on running for president in 2012, ending months of speculation and encouragement from supporters.

According to a posting on the Indianapolis Star website (, Pence sent a letter to supporters on Thursday, January 27, 2011, stating, "In the choice between seeking national office and serving Indiana in some capacity, we choose Indiana. We will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012."

The paper said all indications are that Pence will instead run for governor of his home state, Indiana. Pence said he would make a decision about that "later this year."

Pence had been mulling a presidential bid for months, and just last week, ABC News ran a story about the emergence of two "draft Mike Pence" groups, including an effort spearheaded by former Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., and former Reagan administration official Ralph Benko. A website,, has been gathering signatures encouraging Pence to run for president.

The story noted that Pence did not fare well in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents; just two percent said Pence was their top choice among potential 2012 GOP presidential candidates. But in September, Pence won a straw poll at the conservative Family Research Council's annual Values Voter Summit.

Pence is a six-term congressman and former chair of the House Republican Conference. And because of his high profile on the national politics front, he has been no stranger to PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter.

How has he fared? Of the 12 statements we checked, we rated three True; two Half True; two Barely True; and five False.

Most recently, in a review of the "job-killing" label being applied by Republicans to many Democratic initiatives, we explored Pence's claim that the financial regulatory bill "will kill jobs." We found that, while even supporters acknowledged that some jobs will likely be lost, or never created, due to passage of Dodd-Frank bill, Pence's statement ignored the principle that preventing financial shocks like the recent recession -- the goal of the bill -- is job-saving, and we rated the statement Barely True.

In November, we looked into Pence's claim that raising taxes lowers tax revenues and found that the historical data didn't back him up. We rated that one False.

Pence also scored a False with the claim last summer that, if  Democrats got their way, every income tax bracket would increase on Jan. 1, 2011 -- "every single one." In fact, the Democrats sought to eliminate the tax cuts only for wealthy Americans.

And in May, when Pence claimed the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress have been "systematically cutting funding to border security since the Democrats took control," we again gave him a False. Funding for border fencing is down, but funding for border security is up. Way up.

In the contentious health care debate, Pence has also been a forceful and vocal opponent of the Democratic plan. And twice, we found Pence cherry-picked government reports to denigrate the Democrats' health care plan and boost the Republican alternative. We gave a Barely True to Pence's claim that the Democratic plan would force families to spend an additional $2,100 a year to keep their current health care. That was true only for a small percentage of families. And we gave a Half True to a claim Pence made about the alternative Republican health plan. Pence claimed it would reduce insurance premiums up to 10 percent. That was true only for the roughly 15 percent of people in the small market group (generally businesses with two to 50 employees).

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