Bernie Sanders leads our High Five for July

A claim Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made at a rally in Madison topped our High Five most-clicked items for July 2015. (AP photo)
A claim Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made at a rally in Madison topped our High Five most-clicked items for July 2015. (AP photo)

For the first time in several months, the PolitiFact Wisconsin High Five wasn’t dominated by statements made by or about Gov. Scott Walker, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

It’s not that Walker was absent from headlines -- he formally announced for president and began campaigning in earnest during the month -- but other candidates and groups were among those that drew the most clicks.

Here’s our High Five for July, our most-clicked items.

1) Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a July 1, 2015 rally in Madison said "the top one-tenth of 1 percent" of Americans "own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent."

We rated his claim Mostly True. It was based on a finding from a study by two internationally known economists, and other economists we contacted supported the figure. The study has been criticized for not including Social Security in the wealth calculations.

Wealth, of course, is different than income. And someone with a nice, steady income can have zero wealth, if -- for instance -- he or she has a major home loan, a car loan, credit card debt or a combination of the above.

2) Restoration PAC, a group backing U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, ran a TV ad with an image showing President Barack Obama shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The ad was critical of a deal that the Obama administration reached aimed at limiting the nuclear weapons capability of Iran.

There’s no evidence that Obama and Rouhani ever met and the ad was later changed to no longer show the two men in the same picture. The claim that they met was ridiculous, earning a rating of Pants on Fire.

3) Walker told conservative commentator Laura Ingraham that if women seeking an abortion see their ultrasound, "the odds are pretty high they're going to keep the baby."

There is some evidence that some women considering an abortion opt to continue the pregnancy after seeing their ultrasound, although experts said that decision is typically based on counseling or other services that are offered along with the ultrasound.

Meanwhile, the latest academic study we found shows that nearly all women who are more certain about their decision proceed with an abortion even after seeing the ultrasound. And we found no independent studies to back Walker’s statement. We rated the claim Mostly False.

4)  Walker also drew attention for a new twist the massive protests in Madison in 2011 following the unveiling of his bill to eliminate collective bargaining for most public employees. Walker said his political opponents "brought 100,000 protesters into our state."

Tens of thousands of protesters -- and perhaps as many as 100,000 on some days -- participated in daily demonstrations near the Capitol to protest Walker’s bill, which became Act 10. But there is no evidence to indicate that all or nearly all were from outside of Wisconsin.

We rated the claim False.

5) An Independence Day article looked at our nation’s founding fathers, and whether Walker is correct when he describes them as "ordinary people."

We interviewed experts who told us that -- with some exceptions -- central figures in the nation’s founding generally came from privileged backgrounds, attended college at a time when very few people did and, by 1776, were prominent and wealthy.

Finally, we did a roundup of Walker statements as a preview of his presidential announcement, and a subsequent article fact-checking his announcement speech. If combined they would have made the Top 5. We list them now because they are a good primer for the first GOP presidential debate, scheduled for Aug. 6, 2015 in Cleveland.