Factchecking Scott Walker's presidential announcement

Gov. Scott Walker announced July 13, 2015 in suburban Milwaukee that he was a candidate for president in 2016. (Michael Sears photo)
Gov. Scott Walker announced July 13, 2015 in suburban Milwaukee that he was a candidate for president in 2016. (Michael Sears photo)

Here’s a quick fact-check review of Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential announcement, made July 13, 2015 at a suburban Milwaukee convention hall.

The Wisconsin Republican, who has been fact checked 144 times on our Truth-O-Meter, spent most of his speech outlining his values and talking about what he would do in the White House.

But he made a number of points that we’ve covered before.

Revisions

Climate change: Walker said in his speech that President Barack Obama has called global warming, or climate change -- he used both terms -- the top threat facing future generations. That's a narrower version of a Walker claim we checked in June 2015.

In that claim, Walker said Obama had told the U.S. Coast Guard Academy "that the number one threat to the military and the world today is global warming." That drew a rating of Mostly False.

We noted in that item that Obama had on various occasions, and in a general context, had said there is no greater threat to the world than climate change. But in the speech Walker cited, the president told Coast Guard graduates that climate change was a serious threat, not the number one threat to the military or the world.

Common Core: Walker boldly stated in his speech, "No Common Core." But such a flat statement belies his record on the school standards.

In January 2015, we gave Walker a Half Flip on our Flip-O-Meter for shifting his position. We found that as governor, Walker initially showed tacit support for Common Core, then paused further implementation of the standards, then called for outright repeal -- only to say later that he didn’t want school districts required to use Common Core.

Talking points

Tax cuts: Walker bragged that he has cut taxes by $2 billion. We have rated that claim True, as he has reduced taxes, primarily on income and property, by more than that amount.

ACT scores: Walker said during his announcement that four years after Act 10 -- his signature law sharply curtailing collective bargaining for most public employees -- that Wisconsin scores on the ACT college-entrance exams were now second-best in the country.

That’s virtually the same as a June 2015 Walker claim that we rated Mostly False. Wisconsin's rank moved from third to second in 2012, the year after Act 10. But the rank didn’t improve because of an improvement in Wisconsin’s score. Rather, Iowa’s scores dropped slightly. And there is no evidence that Act 10 affected the ranking.

Other measures: Walker also claimed in the speech that four years after Act 10, Wisconsin graduation high school rates and third-grade reading scores are up. That goes further than a claim we rated in June 2015. In that earlier claim, Walker didn’t cite Act 10, he merely said the scores were up since he took office, earning a Mostly True.

And finally

Walker made references to his political hero, Ronald Reagan, and his favorite department store, Kohl’s. At one point, he mentioned both in the same sentence, though he spent more time talking about the frugal shopping he does at Kohl’s.

In April 2015, we rated True a Walker claim that he bought a sweater for a dollar at Kohl’s. We found that he could have made such a purchase, taking advantage of a variety of discounts and coupons.


More Scott Walker

Go here to see a lengthier review of our key Walker Truth-O-Meter and Flip-O-Meter ratings.