Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Fact-checking the CNN-think tank debate

The podiums are ready for tonight's debate, which is sponsored by CNN and two conservative think tanks.
The podiums are ready for tonight's debate, which is sponsored by CNN and two conservative think tanks.

The CNN Republican debate on national security Tuesday night had some of the most lively and substantive discussion of the campaign. The eight candidates answered questions posed by policy experts from the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

The result was some fresh insight into how the candidates agreed and disagreed on style, diplomacy and military strategy.

We'll be fact-checking some of the claims and will be posting them here.

Asked about his plans for dealing with Iran, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he planned to close the country's main bank. "When you sanction the Iranian Central Bank, that will shut down the economy." We checked that claim with experts and found a mixed reaction about whether it would have that big an impact. PolitiFact Texas rated it Half True.

Mitt Romney repeated a claim we've heard a few times before, that President Obama "apologizes for America." We've looked in detail at Obama's speeches and found that's not true. We've rated it Pants on Fire.

In a discussion about the need to attract more skilled immigrants, Michele Bachmann said that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had told Obama he had to build a factory in China because it had the 30,000 engineers that were needed. Bachmann's account matches a description in the new biography of Jobs by Walter Isaacson. We rated her claim True.

Newt Gingrich touted his proposal for overhauling Social Security, which he said is based on a pair of private-sector retirement-security programs -- one in the South American nation of Chile and one in Texas. He said, "In Chile, for example, they have 72 percent of the GDP in savings." We initially gave that a rating of False. But we've gotten some additional information about the claim, so we'll be publishing a revised item soon.