Friday, October 31st, 2014

Barack Obama debuts stump speech

Barack Obama speaks to a crowd of supporters during his campaign stop in Richmond on Saturday.
Barack Obama speaks to a crowd of supporters during his campaign stop in Richmond on Saturday.

President Barack Obama landed in Virginia Saturday to make the case for another term in front of a Richmond crowd just two days after GOP front-runner Mitt Romney visited Portsmouth.

In his rally at the Siegel Center, President Obama made some new claims, which PolitiFact will examine in the coming weeks. The president also made a handful of statements PolitiFact has heard before.

Here’s how PolitiFact rated those claims earlier:

Obama claim: "We inherited a trillion dollar deficit."

PolitiFact national examined a similar statement that Obama made in July, 2011 in which he said the deficit was "on track to top $1 trillion the year I took office."

Obama entered the White House in January 2009, several months into the 2009 federal fiscal year.

That same month -- just before Obama took office -- the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected a $1.2 trillion deficit for the 2009 fiscal year.

The CBO cited a number of factors for why the situation would be "dramatically worse" in 2009 than 2008.

The factors included reduced tax revenues from corporations and individuals, more federal spending -- primarily to address the housing and financial market crises, and the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The CBO also said unemployment compensation and nutrition assistance would boost federal spending and the deficit. PolitiFact noted that Dean Baker, a liberal economist, blamed the recession, not presidential policies, for the unsustainable deficit projections.

After Obama took office, the Democrat-controlled Congress passed a massive economic stimulus package. And, due in large part to the stimulus, the actual deficit for 2009 ended up about $200 billion more than the CBO projected in January 2009.

In its original ruling, PolitiFact said it didn’t want to wade into a debate over how much of the deficit should be assigned to policies from either administration but pointed out the economic downturn was in full bloom when Obama took office.

PolitiFact rated the claim True, noting that the CBO projected the $1.2 trillion shortfall before any of Obama’s policies had been put in place.

Obama claim:  Health care reform allowed "2.5 million young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance."

PolitiFact national weighed in on an identical claim Obama made in March.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, all insurers must provide dependent coverage for children up to age 26. That provision took effect in September 2010.

The claim is based on analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services on a survey that found an 8.3 percent increase in the number of 19- to 25-year-olds who had insurance coverage between the third quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2011. The total number of Americans in that age range was 29.7 million, so 8.3 percent comes to about 2.5 million.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded the number was a little smaller, based on annual and semi-annual data, at about 1.3 million. The Obama camp chose to repeat the higher figure, which earned them a Mostly True rating.

Obama Claim: "By the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon."

The PolitiFact national team called Obama’s 2008 pledge to raise fuel economy standards a "Promise Kept," after regulations Obama signed went into effect in 2010.

Those regulations raised the average efficiency for cars and light trucks from 28.3 miles per gallon to 35.5 mpg.

Last year, the White House announced stricter standards for model years 2017 to 2025, which will require manufacturers to create a car and light truck fleet that averages 54.5 mpg.