Fact-checking the CNN debate in South Carolina

The CNN debate included Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.
The CNN debate included Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

Updated Friday, Jan. 20, 6:36 a.m.


The presidential debates are shrinking, but they're just as lively as ever.

With Rick Perry now out of the race, there were four candidates on stage Thursday night for the CNN debate in Charleston, S.C.  We'll be posting new fact-checks later today, but here's a recap of some of the claims we've addressed before.

Ron Paul made one of his favorite points, that it was the Republicans who led the last big expansion of Medicare when they added the prescription drug benefit under President George W. Bush. "But even when we had the chance to cut back on it, when we had a Republican Congress and a Republican president, we gave them prescription drug programs." We've rated that True.

Mitt Romney always finds himself on the defensive about the Massachusetts health care plan and he once again reminded people it's very popular in the state. "First of all, the system and my state is not a government-run system. Ninety-two percent of the people had their own insurance before the system was put in place and nothing changed for them. They still had the same private insurance. And the 8 percent of the uninsured, they brought private insurance, not government insurance. And the people in the state still favor the plan 3-1."

We've checked the polls about its popularity and rated that claim True.

Rick Santorum criticized Newt Gingrich for supporting the individual mandate, the requirement that people get health insurance. "It is government, top-down, telling every business, every American what kind of health care you will have. That is the problem with Obamacare at the core of it, and the Speaker supported it repeatedly for a 10-year period." We looked into that when Michele Bachmann made the same claim and rated it Mostly True.

Romney said there is a "$500 billion cut in Medicare to pay for Obamacare," a claim we've rated Half True.

Gingrich criticized Romney because the Massachusett's health care plan "does pay for tax-paid abortions." We rated a similar claim from Gingrich's TV ads -- that "Romney signed government-mandated health care with taxpayer funded abortions" -- as Mostly False