Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Christie named keynote speaker for GOP convention

Gov. Chris Christie introduces Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a campaign fundraiser in December.
Gov. Chris Christie introduces Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a campaign fundraiser in December.

Gov. Chris Christie didn't land a spot on the Republican presidential ticket, but the consolation prize isn't too shabby: the keynote speech at the Republican National Convention.

Christie -- who decided against his own presidential run last year despite calls from top Republicans to jump into the race -- has been chosen to deliver the address later this month in Tampa, Fla.

During the past year, Christie has rallied behind Romney while criticizing President Barack Obama on everything from unemployment to deficit reduction.

Here’s a review of some of those claims that PolitiFact New Jersey put to the Truth-O-Meter.

‘A margin-of-error race’

As a top Romney surrogate, Christie tried to deliver some perspective on the presidential race to a national television audience around the Fourth of July.

"If you look at most of the polls, this is a margin-of-error race on Fourth of July between Mitt Romney and the president," Christie said July 3 during an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

"And if for any Republican, if I had told them in January, in the middle of the scrum between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary with Mitt Romney getting beaten up by all those people on the stage, ‘Don't worry. On Fourth of July, it'll be a dead heat race between the president and Mitt Romney’ every Republican would have signed up for that. So let's keep everything in perspective. This is a margin-of-error race," Christie said.

At the time, we reviewed 13 polls from different organizations, nearly all of which put Obama ahead of Romney. Only two of those polls showed the president with a lead outside of the margin of error.

So Christie earned a True.

A presidential promise?

Christie misfired on a claim about unemployment in a February appearance on CBS News’ "Face the Nation."

The governor rehashed a Republican talking point, saying Obama "said unemployment was never gonna go over 8 percent if we passed the stimulus plan."

PolitiFact debunked this claim several times before Christie trotted it out. Neither Obama nor his administration ever guaranteed that the unemployment rate would not surpass 8 percent.

Two economic advisers projected the stimulus plan would keep unemployment below that level, but said their estimates were subject to considerable "uncertainty."

That’s an element of truth that kept the Truth-O-Meter at Mostly False.

‘Completely, intellectually dishonest’

Once Christie announced his decision to not run for president, he traveled to New Hampshire to throw his support behind Romney.

There, Christie went after people comparing Romney’s health care reform in Massachusetts to Obama’s national health care law.

"Any attempt to try to compare what happened in Massachusetts and what the president has done to the United States of America with his plan is completely, intellectually dishonest," Christie said at an Oct. 11 news conference. "Governor Romney did not raise one tax in doing what he did in trying to improve the health care system in Massachusetts."

Though Romney’s reform raised no taxes, it included several core elements similar to those in the national health care law.

And to deny those similarities exist would be dishonest so Christie got a Mostly False.

Obama didn’t ‘stand up’

Before Christie endorsed Romney’s presidential bid in October, Republicans across the country were calling on the governor to enter the race himself.

Adding to the speculation over whether Christie would run for president was his Sept. 27 speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., when he claimed Obama failed "to stand up for the bipartisan debt solutions of the Simpson-Bowles Commission."

Created in February 2010, the panel, officially known as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was charged with recommending measures to address the nation’s debt problem.

It’s true that Obama did not fully embrace the commission’s recommendations at the outset, but the president later outlined deficit reduction measures similar to those proposed by the commission.

In fact, the commission’s co-chairs -- former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles under President Bill Clinton, and former Republican U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson -- said just that.

"We are encouraged that the President has embraced a balanced, comprehensive approach to deficit reduction similar to that outlined in the Fiscal Commission report," Bowles and Simpson said in an April 13, 2011 press release.

Christie received a Mostly False for his claim.

‘Government takeover’ up in flames

The governor set the Truth-O-Meter ablaze when he repeated the Republican talking point that the national health care reform was "a government takeover of health care." Christie made that claim during an Oct. 19 interview on The Dom Giordano Show on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.

That statement had been debunked by fact-checkers numerous times before, and was named PolitiFact’s 2010 Lie of the Year.

The health care law, approved by Obama in March 2010, expands federal involvement to a significant degree, but the reform is largely built upon the existing private health insurance industry.

The private market remains intact under the reform and also stands to gain more enrollees. One of the law’s key elements is setting up health insurance exchanges where one can purchase coverage.

Christie’s claim was singed with a Pants on Fire!

‘Nothing’ claim ignores stimulus

While campaigning for Romney in New Hampshire, Christie took aim at Obama for doing "nothing" to spur job growth during his first two years in office.

"But remember this: (Obama) can complain about Republicans in the House as much as he wants," Christie said during a Nov. 9 interview on the ‘New Hampshire Today’ radio show. "But in the first two years, he had, you know, huge majorities in the House and Senate, and did nothing with them to create jobs in America."

Apparently, Christie had never heard of the federal stimulus bill signed into law less than a month into Obama’s presidency.

The stimulus bill -- known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 -- has been credited by various economists for creating or saving jobs. Experts have offered differing projections.

At the time of our fact-check, Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, estimated that without the stimulus bill, the country would have had 1.75 million fewer jobs as of the third quarter of 2011.

"The debate is how much, not whether it had a benefit," Zandi said.

Once again, Christie walked away with a Pants on Fire!

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