Friday, October 31st, 2014

Fact-checking Michele Bachmann

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is seeking the Republican nomination for president.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is seeking the Republican nomination for president.

Michele Bachmann, the House member from Minnesota and a tea party favorite, is winning positive reviews for her performance at Monday night's debate among Republican candidates for president. 

We've been fact-checking Bachmann since 2009. We've rated 23 statements on the Truth-O-Meter. Here's how the tally breaks down:

True 1
Mostly True 0
Half True 2
Barely True 4
False 9
Pants on Fire 7

Bachmann earned her first True for a statement she made Monday night about President Barack Obama's position on the debt ceiling. She said that when Obama was a U.S. senator, he "refused to raise the debt ceiling because he said President Bush had failed in leadership." Obama's voting record and remarks in the Congressional record showed that to be the case. 

Here's a summary of some of Bachmann's other statements that we've rated on the Truth-O-Meter. (Browse all the statements we've rated.)

On the health care law and jobs

Bachmann vehemently opposes the health care law passed by Obama and the Democrats in 2010. "The CBO, the Congressional Budget Office has said that Obamacare will kill 800,000 jobs," she said at the debate. We found that's a major distortion of what the CBO said. Most of the reduction in the labor force would be due to people voluntarily choosing to stop working, because they don't have to work anymore to be eligible for insurance. We rated her statement Barely True.

On funding for the health care law

Bachmann said that Congress was fooled about funding for the health care law. "Secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress, over $105 billion was hidden in the Obamacare legislation." We found there was $105 billion in the law, which is quite lengthy. But it was hardly secret. We rated her statement Barely True. 

On Obama's trip to India

In November 2010, President Obama visited India as part of a major presidential trip. Bachmann said the travel would cost too much. "The president of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day," she said. Presidential travel, though, has never cost that much, and we couldn't find any evidence to back up Bachmann's claim. It seemed to be based on a single report out of India based on anonymous source. We rated the statement False. 

On Pelosi's bar tab

Bachmann attacked then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for running up a big bar tab. "Speaker Pelosi ... has been busy sticking the taxpayer with her $100,000 bar tab for alcohol on the military jets that she's flying." Actually, that tab was for many more types of expenses, including baggage fees, meeting room rentals, meals, ground transportation and lodging. So we rated the claim Pants on Fire.

On oil drilling

Bachmann has attacked the Obama administration for its energy policies. "One. That's the number of new drilling permits under the Obama administration since they came into office," Bachmann said in March. We're not sure what she meant by that, because it's not the case. The Obama administration issued deep-water permits both before and after the BP oil spill. We rated her statement Pants on Fire.

On ACORN and the Census

Bachmann said that the liberal group ACORN was going to help the U.S. Census in its nationwide count back in 2010. ACORN will be a paid partner with the Census Bureau and "they will be in charge of going door-to-door and collecting data from the American public," she said. We found that was not the case, however. The most that could be said was that some of the 1.4 million people who got Census-taking jobs may have learned about them through ACORN. We rated her statement Pants on Fire. 

Bachman also said the Constitution only requires her to tell the census "how many people are in our home." We found that a law passed by Congress actually requires an interviewee to answer "any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in connection with any Census" from the U.S. Census. So we rated that statement Pants on Fire as well.