Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Fact-checking Ed Gillespie

Ed Gillespie accepts the GOP nomination for the U.S. at a Republican state convention on June 7.
Ed Gillespie accepts the GOP nomination for the U.S. at a Republican state convention on June 7.

Ed Gillespie, the newly-minted Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate,  for the Republican Party, has been the subject of five Truth-O-Meters.

Gillespie, who runs against incumbent Democrat Mark Warner in the Nov. 4 election, has previously earned one True rating, two Mostly True ratings, one Half True and one False. We will note that PolitiFact doesn’t judge a candidate’s overall truthfulness, just the veracity of individual statements.

Here’s a rundown of our Gillespie Truth-O-Meters.

Mark Warner voted for "nearly $1 trillion in new taxes and $7 trillion in new debt."

Warner voted last year for the Senate budget, crafted by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., that included $975 billion in new taxes over the following decade, primarily through eliminating breaks for high income earners and corporations. Those taxes were supposed to be matched by an equal amount of budget cuts.

The budget also included an increase in the total debt from $17.1 trillion in fiscal year 2013 to $24.4 trillion in fiscal year 2023, or a $7.3 trillion increase. While this is not the preferred method for economists to discuss national debt, it is a valid look at the country’s promised spending. The statement was rated True.

"Obamacare passed by just one vote in the Senate. It wouldn’t have passed without Mark Warner’s vote."

Obamacare, introduced as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, required 60 votes to close debate and prompt an up-or-down vote on the bill. On Dec. 23, 2009, the Senate voted 60-39 to halt debate. Warner was one of 58 Democrats and two independents who supported the vote.

The actual bill passed the next day on an identical 60-39 vote with Warner’s support. But since it only required a simple majority in the 100-member Senate to approve the legislation, Warner’s vote was not essential this time around. The actual Obamacare bill would have passed with or without him. We rated Gillespie’s claim Mostly True.

The Chamber of Commerce says new carbon regulations will kill "244,000 jobs a year" and cost average families "$1,200 a year."

Gillespie was referring to a May 28, 2014 chamber study that wrongly assumed the White House would set a benchmark of reducing carbon emissions by 42 percent before 2030 -- a standard that the report said could only met by requiring the construction of natural gas plants with expensive carbon capture capabilities. The regulations, released June 2, actually put forward a 30 percent reduction within that timeframe and did not require carbon capture.

There was opportunity for Gillespie to realize the chamber’s assumptions were unreliable. Five days before his comments, the EPA announced that carbon capture would not be part of its upcoming proposals. Gillespie not only continued to use numbers from the report, he overstated some of them. We rated his statement False.

When Mitt Romney was governor, "the fact is that the average income for a family in Massachusetts went up by $5,500."

U.S. Census data for median incomes in Massachusetts from 2002, the year before Romney became governor, through 2006, his final full year in the office, show that it increased $5,475. But the income increased at about 2.8 percent annually over those years, while the national consumer price index, a measure of inflation, grew 2.9 percent over that time, outpacing median income growth.

Additionally, governors have very little control over the macroeconomic situations of their states. For example, Massachusetts was hurt more when the tech bubble burst and was slower in recovering. Gillespie’s statement left out important details and gave the wrong impression. The statement was Half True.

Under President George W. Bush, the U.S. had "52 months of ... uninterrupted job creation" and "revenues were at an all-time high in 2007."

The nation actually enjoyed 46 consecutive months of job growth from September 2003 through June 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. July and August 2007 each had more jobs lost than created before a few more months of job creation.

And by the numbers, tax collection was the highest the nation had seen in 2007 -- $2.57 trillion. But compared to the nations gross domestic product, which gives scale compared to the country’s economy, tax revenues represented 18.5 percent of GDP, which, at the time, was 16th compared to the years after 1934 and 7th compared to the years starting in 1996. Gillespie’s statement neglected some needed context, so it was rated Mostly True.