Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Greatest hits of the 2012 presidential campaign

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama meet at the first presidential debate on Oct. 3 in Denver.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama meet at the first presidential debate on Oct. 3 in Denver.

It's been a busy campaign for PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter, which has rated more than 800 claims by the presidential candidates, the political parties and super PACs. Here are some of the most significant fact-checks of the campaign.

Barack Obama: "Mitt Romney's companies were pioneers in outsourcing U.S. jobs to low-wage countries."
July 3, in a campaign commercial
Half True. Bain invested overseas but it's a stretch to call them "pioneers." The trend was well-established by the time Romney and Bain joined in.   

Mitt Romney: President Obama promised "he'd keep unemployment below 8 percent" if the stimulus passed.
May. 17, at a private campaign fundraiser
The ruling: Mostly False. Obama didn’t say that. Rather, his Council of Economic Advisers predicted that the stimulus would hold it to that level. Their report included heavy disclaimers that their number was a projection and might not hold true.

Barack Obama: The Obama administration has created "5 million jobs … over the last 30 months in the private sector alone."
Oct. 16, in the second presidential debate
The ruling: Half True. It’s correct only using the most cherry-picked time frame. A more reasonable method -- starting the count at the beginning of the recovery -- shows a gain of 3.6 million jobs.

Jennifer Granholm: Romney's response to the auto crisis was 'Let Detroit go bankrupt.'
Sept. 6, at the Democratic National Convention
The ruling: Half True. Romney did not support Obama’s plan for the auto industry, which ultimately proved successful. This line came from an op-ed Romney wrote for the New York Times, suggesting he wanted to let the auto companies go out of business. Actually, he advocated a managed bankruptcy for the automakers.

Mitt Romney: Stimulus dollars paid for "windmills from China."
July 18, in a campaign ad
The ruling: Mostly False. Many American firms connected to the wind industry expanded during the years of the stimulus. In some cases, they purchased wind turbine parts from companies in China. But no windmills were built in China using stimulus money.

Barack Obama: Says Mitt Romney "backed a bill that outlaws all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest."
Oct. 24, in a TV ad
The ruling: Pants on Fire! There’s no evidence that Romney ever specifically opposed exceptions for rape and incest. While he supported the "human life amendment," there are many versions and the most recent ones allow abortion after rape or incest. Romney said recently he supports those exceptions.

Paul Ryan: President Obama "funneled" $716 billion out of Medicare "at the expense of the elderly."
Aug. 29, at the Republican National Convention
The ruling: Mostly False. The law limits payments to health care providers and insurers in order to spur efficiency and reduce the rapid growth of future Medicare spending. The cuts do not reduce benefits. Those savings, spread out over 10 years, are used to offset costs created by the health law, so that it doesn’t add to the deficit.

Bill Clinton: Paul Ryan attacked the president for "the same amount of Medicare savings that (Ryan) had in his own budget."
Sept. 5, in a speech at the Democratic National Convention
The ruling: True. Both Democrats and Republicans are trying to rein in future spending, and Ryan included Medicare savings from the health care law in his own budget. Ryan said later he did so only because it is current law.

Barack Obama: Romney "would turn Medicare into a voucher program."
Aug. 15, in remarks at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa
The ruling: Mostly True. The Romney-Ryan approach pretty much matches the dictionary definition of "a form or check indicating a credit against future purchases or expenditures."

Mitt Romney: Barack Obama "sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China." at the cost of American jobs.
Oct. 29, in a campaign ad
The ruling: Pants on Fire! Italy-based Fiat was in talks to buy Chrysler before Obama took office. The Jeeps it makes in China are sold in China. Meanwhile, its American auto plants have expanded and added jobs since the auto bailout.
   
Barack Obama: Says Mitt Romney plans to "fire" Big Bird.
Oct. 8, at a campaign event
The ruling: Pants on Fire! Romney wants to cut federal funding for PBS, and his idea isn’t specific to Big Bird. A Sesame Street executive said the show itself receives little funding through PBS, and the character is safe.

Mitt Romney: "We're only inches away from no longer being a free economy."
Jan. 7, at a Republican primary debate
The ruling: Pants on Fire! International statistics show that the United States still ranks low in total tax burden and high in economic freedom.

Priorities USA Action: Says Romney wants to "take away early childhood education, slash K-12 funding, and cut college aid … to pay for a $250,000 tax break for multi-millionaires."
Oct. 8, in a campaign ad
The ruling: Mostly False. The Ryan budget that Romney supports could impact education, but the ad takes liberties as it tries to fill in the blanks.

Mitt Romney: "Under President Obama: $4,000 tax hike on middle-class families."
Oct. 10, in a campaign ad
The ruling: Pants on Fire! The campaign makes a giant leap and assumes interest on the public debt will be paid for with increased taxes on all income levels. We actually don’t know how the tax code will spread around the pain of paying for the debt. Obama proposes tax increases only on high earners.

Barack Obama: Says Mitt Romney "called the Arizona law a model for the nation."
Oct. 16, in a presidential debate
The ruling: False. Romney was actually praising Arizona’s mandate that employers electronically verify the legal status of employees, which was passed in 2007, and was not part of the later law that allowed local police to ask people for immigration papers.

Mitt Romney: The U.S. military is at risk of losing its "military superiority" because "our Navy is smaller than it's been since 1917."
Jan. 16, at a Republican primary debate
The ruling: Pants on Fire! A wide range of experts told us it’s wrong to assume that fewer ships means a weaker military. The United States is the world’s unquestioned military leader today because each ship is stocked with top-of-the-line technology and highly trained personnel.

Barack Obama: "Over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of" President George W. Bush’s policies and the recession.
Sept. 23, in an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes
The ruling: False. Obama misstated his own source by using four years rather than the 10 included in the analysis. And he engages in cherry-picking by assigning pricey programs to Bush’s column even though he himself supported, or supports, many of them.

A chain email: In July 1996, Mitt Romney helped locate the missing teenage daughter of a partner at Bain Capital.
Jan. 30, circulated on the Internet
The ruling: True. The effort by Bain employees was central to the effort to locate the girl, and Romney reportedly played a significant role. She was found and returned safely to her parents.

Mitt Romney: "Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt."
June 28, at a press conference
The ruling: False. The government’s official estimates find that the health care law does not add to deficits, due to its new taxes and reductions in future Medicare spending.

Barack Obama: Says Romney wants to add $2 trillion to the defense budget that the military hasn’t asked for.
Oct. 3, in a presidential debate
The ruling: True. Independent analysts confirm that number, which the Romney campaign does not refute. Military leaders have testified in support of the president’s spending plan, and we found no evidence of disagreement behind the scenes.

Paul Ryan: Says six studies verify that the math adds up for Mitt Romney’s tax plan.
Oct. 11, in a vice presidential debate
The ruling: Mostly False. We found only one fully independent study out of the six claimed. None of the studies could accurately model Romney’s tax plan because he has said so little about how  it would work.

Mitt Romney: "Redistribution" has "never been a characteristic of America."
Sept. 19, in a press conference
The ruling: Pants on Fire! Reasonable people can disagree about the wisdom of it, but redistribution has been a basic principle of the U.S. tax system and many federal programs that have long attracted support from Republicans.

Crossroads GPS: Oil production is "down where Obama's in charge."
April 10, in a Web ad
The ruling: Half True. The decline represents a single year that followed years of substantial gains and occurred only offshore in the wake of a major oil disaster. Also, federal policies take years to affect oil production.

Mitt Romney: Obama promised to "cut the deficit in half."
Oct. 3, in a presidential debate
The ruling: True. Obama promised in his early presidency to cut the deficit in half, which he never achieved. When asked about it, Obama said the recession was deeper than anyone knew at the time.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "Mitt Romney is the first major party candidate for president of the United States in modern times not to release at least 12 years of tax returns."
Aug. 12, in an interview on FOX News
The ruling: False. While Romney has only released two years of tax returns, other candidates have also chosen to release only a few years, such as Ronald Reagan.

Barack Obama: "A few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia."
Oct. 22, in the final presidential debate
The ruling: Half True. Romney has twice drawn the distinction between his concerns about Iran and Russia, calling Russia the biggest geopolitical foe or enemy for the U.S. -- but he has said the biggest threat is Iran.