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Texas fact checks in August topped by look into Wendy Davis claim about Greg Abbott and a rapist
By W. Gardner Selby September 5, 2014

Several fact-checks of Gov. Rick Perry collectively fanned online reader interest in August, but our Mostly True of a hard-edged charge by successor-want-to-be Wendy Davis, the Democratic senator from Fort Worth, proved the month’s runaway reader favorite.

Perry first: His July reference to over 3,000 homicides allegedly committed by illegal immigrants -- Pants on Fire! -- placed fourth among reader favorites the next month while his flawed recap of several men from Ukraine getting arrested in West Texas rounded out our August top 10. The governor’s Mostly False statement about Congress being on vacation landed No. 8.

Our Aug. 8 story rating Mostly True an ad claim by Davis that her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, sided with a company over a woman raped by the company’s salesman generated the most sizable reader interest.

In her ad, Davis said Abbott held that a company whose vacuum cleaners were sold door to door "had no responsibility" in the hiring of a salesman who raped a customer in her home.

As a member of the Texas Supreme Court, Abbott said in 1998 the manufacturer had no duty, to be precise. Notably, Davis’s claim failed to include the substantive detail that Abbott, unlike the court majority, considered most significant an existing agreement between the manufacturer and distributors explicitly giving full responsibility for such hirings to the distributors who, Abbott implied, had control over checking the background of applicants.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz got it wrong in July when he said President Barack Obama had promised amnesty to illegal immigrants. Our breakdown of the issue placed No. 9 among reader faves in August. A Democratic group’s charge that Cruz was bribed by the Koch brothers caught Pants on Fire; that story placed sixth for readers.

Comeback fact-checked politico? Sarah Palin. Her incorrect statement that the Travis County district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, convened the special grand jury that indicted Perry ranked No. 5 for the month. Her accurate reference to Lehmberg purchasing more than 70 bottles of vodka landed No. 2.

Two oldies made the August top 10. Our Mostly False rating of U.S. Rep. Roger Williams’ July 2013 claim about Obama driving up gas prices placed seventh. And our January look into the U.S. Census Bureau’s Mostly True claim Americans must answer its surveys finished third.

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Texas fact checks in August topped by look into Wendy Davis claim about Greg Abbott and a rapist