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President Joe Biden speaks on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 9, 2022. (AP) President Joe Biden speaks on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 9, 2022. (AP)

President Joe Biden speaks on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 9, 2022. (AP)

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson April 25, 2023
Maria Ramirez Uribe
By Maria Ramirez Uribe April 25, 2023
Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman April 25, 2023

President Joe Biden is running for re-election in 2024, facing a potential rematch with former President Donald Trump.

PolitiFact has fact-checked more than 260 statements by Biden since 2007, when he was a U.S. senator from Delaware seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. 

We have also tracked Biden’s progress on 99 campaign promises on our Biden Promise Tracker.

Biden enters the Democratic primary field against long shot contenders Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. On the Republican side, Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and others have announced their bids, while U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina launched an exploratory committee. More Republicans are likely to announce soon, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence. 

Here’s a look back at some of our recent fact-checks of Biden about the economy, immigration and Social Security — and for fun, one about the dangers of rugby versus football

Spot a claim by any presidential candidate we should fact-check? Email [email protected]

How Biden talks about the economy

President Joe Biden tours the building site for a new computer chip plant for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., on Dec. 6, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP)

Biden has made his record on the economy a central talking point in his speeches. Many of his recent statements about unemployment, the national debt and jobs have rated Half True

For example, in a White House speech in January, Biden said "one quarter" of the $31.4 trillion federal debt "was accumulated in the four years of my predecessor." 

His number is accurate, but omits important context about how the debt increased under Trump. Assigning debt to a particular president can be misleading because so much of it traces back to decades-old, bipartisan legislation that set the parameters for Social Security and Medicare. 

Biden said in a February speech in Philadelphia, "We created more new jobs in two years than any president did in their entire term."

We also rated this statement Half True. In raw numbers, Biden did oversee greater job growth than any post-World War II president’s first term in office (but not their entire tenure in office, if those presidents served more than one term).

But this achievement comes with asterisks. Measured by percentage increase from the time the presidents took office, Biden rates in the middle of the pack. 

Biden has singled out Republicans repeatedly for favoring tax policy that benefits more wealthy Americans. In a July speech in Cleveland, he said the "average federal income tax" paid by the richest Americans is "8%. … If you’re a cop, a teacher, a firefighter, union worker, you probably pay two to three times that." 

We rated his statement False. The richest Americans pay an effective tax rate of more than 20% of their income as counted under the current tax code, not 8%. Meanwhile, among households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 a year, the vast majority paid effective tax rates of between 0% and 15%, which is not two to three times the rate that the richest pay. 

Attacking the GOP on Social Security and Medicare

President Joe Biden talks about Social Security and Medicare Nov. 3, 2022, at a campaign event to support Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif., in San Diego. (AP)

As he reaches out to older Americans, an important voting bloc, Biden has described his efforts to make Medicare more affordable and cast Republicans as trying to take away benefits.

When he unveiled his proposed budget in March, Biden said, "Medicare finally has power now to negotiate lower drug prices." This is accurate and rates as Promise Kept, though the change applies only to a small number of prescriptions. The Inflation Reduction Act, which passed in 2022, will let the federal government negotiate the price of 10 drugs in Medicare Part D. (Medicare Part D is a voluntary outpatient prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients.)

A jab at "some" Republicans in his State of the Union speech drew groans and shouts from the GOP ranks. "Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset. I’m not saying it’s the majority," Biden said.

House and Senate Republican leaders say they don’t support this, but Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., in 2022 proposed sunsetting all federal legislation every five years. After Biden’s speech, Scott tweaked his plan to exempt some programs including Social Security and Medicare.

Abortion, immigration and the environment

Anti-abortion demonstrators and abortion rights demonstrators argue June 24, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.  (AP)

When Roe v. Wade was overturned, Biden said the Supreme Court decision "made the United States an outlier among developed nations in the world" on abortion rights.

The ruling eliminated the national right to an abortion, which puts the U.S. at odds with other developed nations, including the other six other leading industrial nations, most of which have laws or court rulings that provide for national, but restricted, abortion access. The U.S. ruling leaves in place state laws that permit abortion. We rated Biden’s statement Mostly True.

As president, Biden approved a major drilling project on federal lands in Alaska — a big step back from his 2020 campaign promise when he said there would be no drilling on federal lands, "Period. Period. Period. Period."

But in March, Biden approved a proposal to drill up to 199 wells for oil and gas on federal land in Alaska. The project is expected to last about 30 years. We rated his complete position change a Full Flop.

Migrant encounters at the southwest border hit historic highs during Biden’s tenure, forcing Biden to act.

Biden announced in January the expansion of an immigration program that will allow 30,000 migrants a month from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela to enter the U.S. legally. He touted the parole program’s success with Venezuelans, who have been eligible for it since October 2022. 

Biden said in January that since the program started, the number of Venezuelans trying to enter the U.S. illegally decreased "from about 1,100 per day to less than 250 per day on average." That matched data during a short period in 2022. We rated his statement Mostly True

Rugby versus football

In a speech before the Irish parliament in April, Biden praised rugby and said it might be a safer game than American football. Most academic research, however, suggests the opposite — that rugby results in higher rates of overall injuries and concussions than American football does, often two to three times higher. We rated his claim Mostly False.

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