August High Five: Walker runs the table

Scott Walker campaigns in Iowa in August 2015 (photo courtesy of Walker campaign)
Scott Walker campaigns in Iowa in August 2015 (photo courtesy of Walker campaign)

There are two ways to classify the items that showed up in our list of the most-clicked items from August: Statements by Scott Walker and statements about Scott Walker.

Yes, after a less Walker-centric July, the governor and Republican presidential candidate was again the focus of our readers -- including many who found and read an article from 2013 about his departure from Marquette University.

Here’s a look at the High Five for August.

1. A Facebook meme said Walker "had a 2.3 GPA when he was asked to leave Marquette University for cheating." We rated that statement False.

We’ve reported extensively (see item No. 4) on Walker’s tenure at Marquette, including the fact that he dropped out in May 1990 when he was a senior to work for the American Red Cross. Walker has not released his transcripts, which has left some to question his departure from Marquette. But the university has made clear he left in good standing.

2. Liberal MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow said that under Walker the middle class in Wisconsin is "shrinking at a faster rate than any other state in the country." We rated her statement False.

Maddow pointed to a study by a nationally respected research firm that compared 2000 to 2013 and found the percentage of households in the state that were middle class dropped by a larger percentage than any other state. But 2000 was more than a decade before Walker took office.

Using the same data, we compared 2010, the year before Walker took office, to 2013, the latest year for which data are available. In that comparison, Wisconsin ranked 24th among the 50 states in terms of shrinkage of its middle class.

3.  In an In Context item, we explored Walker’s tangled explanations about his position on so-called "birthright citizenship," which is covered by the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.

The subject drew interest after GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump proposed to end automatic citizenship for the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. Walker was asked about his stance repeatedly in a one week period and seemed tied in knots on the issue until settling on clear opposition to any constitutional changes.

4. A 2013 article that explored the "mystery" of  Walker's college years continued to be popular among PolitiFact readers.

Since its publication, and especially since Walker launched the national campaign, that definitive account of Walker’s Marquette years has been among our most-read items.

5. A claim by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that Walker left women with "nowhere to turn" by defunding Planned Parenthood was rated Half True .

Clinton’s claim runs counter to statements made by Walker, who has said during his presidential campaign that he simply transferred money from Planned Parenthood to other organizations. And the statement went too far. Walker’s move affected only some parts of the state and it is wrong to say women in those areas had "nowhere else to turn."