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Republican presidential candidates will take the debate stage Aug. 23 and make their case to voters why they should win the White House in 2024.
Follow live fact-checking:
Aug 23, 10:40 PM EDT
Fact-checking DeSantis on critical race theory
Gov. Ron DeSantis said he "eliminated critical race theory" in Florida’s K-12 schools. This is Mostly False.
Florida rejected prospective materials that it said related to CRT, but questions remain about its rationale and broad definition. Educators, school officials and several school districts confirmed that CRT has never been part of the state’s K-12 curriculum.
Aug 23, 10:05 PM EDT
Fact-checking Scott’s claim that DOJ called parents 'domestic terrorists'
Sen. Tim Scott said, "We keep seeing not only the weaponization of the Department of Justice against political opponents, but also against parents who show up at school board meetings. They’re called, under this DOJ, they’re called domestic terrorists." This is False.
In 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo directing the FBI to address violent threats against school board members. The memo never called concerned parents "domestic terrorists," and maintained that "spirited debate" surrounding school policy is protected by the U.S. Constitution. A lawsuit against Garland also found that parents’ rights had not been violated.
Aug 23, 9:56 PM EDT
Fact-checking Pence on public support for a 15-week abortion ban
During the abortion back-and-forth, Pence claimed that 70 percent of Americans support a 15-week abortion ban. He’s cherry picking the results from one poll.
A 2022 survey from the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll asked respondents, "Do you think your state should allow abortion…?"
Twenty-three percent said up to 15 weeks, 12 percent said up to six weeks and 37 percent said only in cases of rape and incest. That’s 72 percent all together. But answers in surveys vary greatly depending on how the question is asked.
A 2022 Economist/YouGov poll asked specifically about a 15-week ban — 39 percent supported it, 46 percent opposed it. A 2023 PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll asked respondents whether abortion should be allowed up until 24 weeks — 44 percent said yes.
Aug 23, 9:53 PM EDT
Are younger Americans less patriotic, as Vivek Ramaswamy said?
Recent polling shows there is a declining number of adults who describe themselves as "very proud" to be American. Though it’s a pattern for all age groups, not just young people. Still, young Americans surveyed express some degree of national pride.
Vivek Ramaswamy has previously said that young Americans are no longer proud to be American. We rated that Half True.
RELATED: Here's where GOP presidential candidates stood on federal abortion ban as of July >>
Aug 23, 9:27 PM EDT
Fact-checking DeSantis’ claim: "We kept our state free and open"
DeSantis revels in his record of snubbing public health recommendations to curb the spread of COVID-19. But he largely omits the closures of schools and businesses that happened under his watch.
Seven states did not issue stay-at-home orders to their residents, but not Florida.
On April 1, 2020, DeSantis issued an executive order directing all Florida residents to "limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home." The order expired April 30, 2020, and Florida began a phased reopening in May.
Though he carved out an exception for religious services and some recreational activities, DeSantis didn't exempt in-person classroom instruction. DeSantis' Department of Education issued a March 13 recommendation that Florida schools close their facilities for an extended spring break before lengthening the closure through the end of the school year in early June.
Schools reopened in person in August 2020.
-Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact
Here’s what to know about watching the debate:
The first debate among 2024 Republican presidential candidates will take place at 9 p.m. ET Aug. 23 in Milwaukee.
The debate will air on Fox News and be moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. According to a Fox News press release, coverage of the debate will also be available across other platforms, including Fox Business News, Fox Nation, Fox News Digital and Fox News Audio.
The Republican National Committee has also partnered with Rumble to livestream the debate.
Eight candidates have qualified for the first debate: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
One noticeable White House contender won’t be on the debate stage. Former President Donald Trump said Sunday on Truth Social that he wouldn’t be attending. NBC News reported Trump has already prerecorded an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that could be released during the debate, though neither the Trump campaign nor Carlson had released details Aug. 22.
We’re also partnering with ABC News to provide fact-checking for its live blog of the debate.
If you want a roundup of the most notable claims from the debate straight to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.
We’ve been fact-checking presidential politics since 2007 using our Truth-O-Meter, which helps us rate claims based on their relative accuracy. Here’s how PolitiFact has rated statements made by the Republican presidential candidates who are expected to participate in the first debate.
Ron DeSantis has been rated 52 times since 2013.
Mike Pence has been rated 74 times since 2009.
Chris Christie has been rated 104 times since 2011.
Nikki Haley has been rated 17 times since 2012.
Tim Scott has been rated nine times since 2012.
We’ve rated Vivek Ramaswamy twice, both times in 2023. Doug Burgum and Asa Hutchinson have never had claims rated on our Truth-O-Meter.
Fox News Media, "Fox News Channet to present live coverage of the first Republican presidential primary debate on August 23rd," Aug. 15, 2023
Republican National Committee, "RNC announces participants for first debate in Milwaukee," Aug. 21, 2023
Donald Trump, Truth Social post, Aug. 20. 2023
NBC News, "Trump has already recorded his debate-night interview with Tucker Carlson, sources say," Aug. 21, 2023