Fact-checking the early Fox News presidential debate

The first seven GOP presidential candidates debated at 5 p.m. Thursday. The remaining 10 debate at 9 p.m. (AP)
The first seven GOP presidential candidates debated at 5 p.m. Thursday. The remaining 10 debate at 9 p.m. (AP)

Published Thursday, August 6th, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

The first of two GOP presidential debates just wrapped up from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

The first batch of candidates -- those who didn’t qualify for the 9 p.m. debate -- spent much of their time attacking 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and the policies of President Barack Obama.

Here’s some of what we heard.

Perry on jobs

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry touted his job-creating credentials, repeating a claim from him that we’ve heard before. Perry said he oversaw the creation of 1.5 million jobs "during the worst economic time this country has had since the Great Depression, while the rest of the country lost 400,000 jobs."

We rated a similar claim from Perry Mostly True.

We found that Perry’s numbers were solid, though he cherry-picked a time period arguably giving Texas more of a gloss than it might get if you looked at other periods. More generally, no governor determines job gains or losses in a state; outside factors tend to prevail. In Texas, an oil and gas boom comes to mind. And governors don’t create oil and gas fields.

Santorum on college degrees

Rick Santorum brought up one of his frequent talking points -- that 70 percent of Americans don’t have a college degree.

Several different data sets agreed when we last looked at this claim in April. We rated the claim True.

Graham on oil spending

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., rehashed a talking point we heard back in the last presidential campaign from Republican Jon Huntsman.

On Thursday, Graham said, "I am tired of sending $300 billion overseas to buy oil from people who hate our guts."

That statement ignores the fact that a lot of that money actually goes to our friends, such as Canada.

So back in 2011, we rated that claim Half True.

Perry talking Trump

Fox News moderators couldn’t help but ask some of the seven candidates about Donald Trump, who is scheduled to debate at 9 p.m.

Perry described Trump as a celebrity and asked, "How can you run for the Republican nomination and be for single-payer health care?"

Perry is on to something here, but also leaves out some important details, leading us to rate that claim Half True.

Fifteen years ago, Trump was decidedly for a universal healthcare system that resembled Canada’s system, in which the government pays for care for all citizens. Recently, he's said he admires Scotland’s single-payer system and disses the Affordable Care Act as incompetently implemented.

However, a Trump spokesman denied that the candidate supported "socialized medicine" and suggested Trump prefers a "free-market" solution. Other than that, though, the Trump campaign has been silent about what his specific health care policies are; perhaps Trump will be pressed on this point in a few hours. Stay tuned.