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Fact-checking the first Republican debate
Five Republican presidential candidates met for a debate on May 5, 2011, in Greenville, S.C. Five Republican presidential candidates met for a debate on May 5, 2011, in Greenville, S.C.

Five Republican presidential candidates met for a debate on May 5, 2011, in Greenville, S.C.

Bill Adair
By Bill Adair May 6, 2011

Thursday night's presidential debate -- the first for the 2012 campaign -- had the feel of a Spring Training game. Only half the squad was there and they weren't throwing very hard.

The participants were Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum. But many of the possible candidates did not attend, including Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.

We're fact-checking several claims from the debate and will post them here as we complete them.

For our first item, we checked a claim by Johnson that the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. We rated that Mostly True.  Johnson would like the corporate income tax abolished.

Tim Pawlenty attacked President Barack Obama's record on health care. Pawlenty said that Obama, the night of the Iowa caucuses in 2008 "promised the nation that he would do health care reform focused on cost containment, he opposed an individual mandate, and he said he was going to do it with Republicans. He broke that promise." We looked into Obama's statements that night and found Pawlenty's statement Mostly True.

Ron Paul said that people vote from their bellies, and Obama's re-election chances aren't good, since "prices are going up, unemployment is continuing to go up."  PolitiFact Texas looked into the most recent statistics and found that Paul was more accurate on prices than on unemployment. We rated his statement Half True.

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Fact-checking the first Republican debate