PolitiFact's Top 5 for May 2015
This month, we fact-checked statements about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, The Supreme Court, and antacids. Here’s a summary of our most popular reports for the month of May, counting down to the most popular.
Did Obama refuse to sign a plan in place to leave 10,000 troops in Iraq?
During a town hall meeting with voters in Reno, Nev., former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush claimed that the Obama administration did not go through with appropriate planning for the end of the Iraq War. "We had an agreement that the president could have signed that would have kept 10,000 troops, less than we have in Korea, that would have created the stability that would have allowed for Iraq to progress," Bush said. But did President Barack Obama really have the chance to sign such a deal?
When he took office, Obama inherited a plan known as the Status of Forces Agreement, which called for the withdrawal of all U.S forces in Iraq by the end of 2011. The Obama administration did consider leaving 10,000 troops in Iraq after 2011, but it was never stated in an official agreement. Leadership in both the United States and Iraq had objections to a final deal.
Bush was correct that Obama considered leaving 10,000 troops in Iraq, but it was never a formal agreement that could be signed, so we rated it Mostly False.
Can the Supreme Court overrule the other branches?
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee says no.
Huckabee said current politicians are allowing the Supreme Court to partake in what he refers to as "judicial supremacy." "We are sworn to uphold the Constitution and law," Huckabee said. "And it has to be consistent and agreed upon with three branches of government -- one can’t overrule the other two." The president and Congress have ways of achieving supremacy over the Court by amending the Constitution or appointing new justices. However, the Supreme Court does have the authority to overrule laws passed by the President and Congress through judicial review. Huckabee thinks that current leaders may need a refresher on their civics, but he overlooks a key part of the Supreme Court’s power. We rated his statement Mostly False.
Boehner: "We spend more money on antacids than we do on politics."
During an interview with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, House Speaker John Boehner claimed that Americans spend more money a year on antacids than on politics, dismissing the notion that special interests and other political activities undercut what Washington does for average Americans.
Boehner’s staff cited trade publication Drug Topics, which shows a $10 billion annual market for antacids, while the Center for Responsive Politics shows that total spending on 2014 federal campaigns was $3.7 billion. The problem is that the $10 billion a year market in antacids is the figure for the entire world. The United States only spends $2 billion a year on antacids.
Boehner’s math falls far short of the reality. We rated his statement False.
Fact-checking the Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama trade fIght
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has been very vocal against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trade Promotion Authority, two trade bills supported by Obama. Warren has said that proposed fast-track legislation would allow presidents to "easily use a future trade deal to override our domestic financial rules."
The notion that a trade deal can have an impact on domestic financial rules is not outlandish. Many banks in the European Union are trying to include financial regulation with their negotiations. But the process of these deals isn’t always easy, and many obstacles can stop financial regulations from making it into a deal. We rated Warren’s statement as Half True.
Huckabee says he "raised average family income by 50 percent" in Arkansas
Huckabee released a video touting his economic record, saying that "as governor of Arkansas, I cut taxes and welfare, balanced the budget every year for 10 years, and raised average family income by 50 percent."
Huckabee’s camp pointed to data from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis that showed an impressive increase of 59 percent between 1995 and 2006. However, that number doesn’t factor in inflation. With inflation, the real figure is at 20 percent, not 59 percent. That increase trailed nationwide trends, making the Arkansas record less than impressive. We rated his statement Mostly False.