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The GOP presidential debate on CNN fueled many of PolitiFact Florida's most-clicked fact-checks in September.
Claims by three of those candidates -- retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson of West Palm Beach, former Gov. Jeb Bush, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- dominated our Top 5 most clicked-on reports in September, as did a couple of attacks on frontrunner Donald Trump.
Here’s a look at our most popular reports from September, counting down to the most popular:
5. "There has never been a panther attack in the history of Florida." Ron Bergeron, who serves on the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, made this claim during a meeting about panther conservation. Historically, there have been accounts of people tangling with the big cats. But many of those stories come from newspaper articles that date back a century or more. Wildlife experts agree that in modern times, there have been no verified panther attacks on a person in Florida. Bergeron would have been better served if he had used the words "verified panther attack." We rated this claim Mostly True.
4. Rubio said that President Barack Obama said an attack on Syria "was going to be a pinprick." Rubio made this claim during the debate. In reality, Obama said the exact opposite, stating several times that a U.S. military response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its citizens would involve a significant show of force. While the president’s full strategy was somewhat unclear, Rubio at the debate echoed Obama’s own past statements that the U.S. military was not built for small-scale engagements that could be characterized as "pinpricks." We rated Rubio’s claim False.
3. "Trump proposed enacting the largest tax increase in American history." Bush made this claim in a fundraising email in August. In 1999, Trump proposed a historically large one-time tax increase. Trump said the tax would have raised $5.7 trillion and wiped out the national debt. It would have applied only to the wealthiest Americans. We rated this claim True. (In late September, Trump released his new tax plan.)
2. "When he (Trump) asked Florida to have casino gambling, we said no." Bush made this claim during the debate; it pertains to when Bush was running for governor in 1998. We didn’t find that Trump directly petitioned the state for gambling, but there’s a pile of evidence that Trump was pursuing a deal to operate casinos on Seminole land in Florida. And at the same time, Trump gave money to Bush and the state party during Bush’s campaign. We rated this claim Mostly True.
1. Carson said during the debate that pediatricians have cut down on the number and proximity of vaccines because they recognize there have been "too many in too short a period of time." Leading medical organizations have concluded that the scheduling of vaccines -- including multiple ones at once -- is safe. While there is evidence that some parents do ask pediatricians to delay vaccines, that’s a decision based on parents’ wishes and isn’t based on scientific evidence. We rated this claim Pants on Fire.
PolitiFact will fact-check the first Democratic debate Oct. 13 and the next Republican debate Oct. 28. Spot a claim in need of fact-checking? Tweet us with #PolitiFactThis on Twitter or email us at [email protected]
Tax Foundation, "Details and analysis of Donald Trump’s tax plan," Sept. 29, 2015
See individual fact-checks for sources