PolitiFact Florida’s Top 5 in May

Gov. Rick Scott speaks with reporters in Washington, D.C., after meeting with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on May 6, 2015. (Getty Images)
Gov. Rick Scott speaks with reporters in Washington, D.C., after meeting with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on May 6, 2015. (Getty Images)

The GOP presidential battle featuring U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush led to many of PolitiFact Florida’s most popular fact-checks in May.

Our readers also pored over our annotation of Gov. Rick Scott’s comments about a potential Medicaid expansion. On June 1, the Florida Legislature convened in a special session with the goal of agreeing on a new budget after the regular session in April ended early amid a fight over Medicaid.

Let’s look back at our most clicked-on new fact-checks and reports in May, counting down to the most popular item:

5. Bush in New Hampshire: "Florida was the only state during my eight years to go from AA to AAA" in its bond rating.

On Feb. 25, 2005, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services upgraded Florida’s general obligation bond rating from AA+ (which is slightly higher than their AA rating, actually) to AAA. The difference is in rating the state’s capacity to meet its debt obligations from "very strong" to "extremely strong," according to agency guidelines.

But both Delaware and Michigan were upgraded from AA+ to AAA by the S&P in 2000, which was during Bush’s second year in office. We rated his statement False.

4. Bush in Iowa: "One person has been fired" at the Veterans Administration for withholding services.

Bush was referring to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who technically resigned, but that was amid growing calls for him to be fired. Data through May 14 showed that 18 permanent employees had been fired for patient scheduling, record manipulation, appointment delays, and/or patient deaths. Bush had a point that few have been fired, but he exaggerated when he said it was only one. We rated his claim Mostly False.

3. Annotating Rick Scott’s interview on Medicaid expansion

On May 6, Scott met in Washington with Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about the fight in Florida over LIP money and Medicaid expansion. We annotated his comments to reporters after the meeting. Scott talked about the federal government’s decision to end LIP funding and said patients who use LIP are not the same as those would benefit from a Medicaid expansion (which we later ruled Mostly False).

2. Rubio in Iowa: The United States "is not modernizing its nuclear weapons."

Multiple experts told us that Rubio’s claim about nuclear weapons is wrong because ongoing and planned nuclear modernization efforts are extensive. The United States has been spending billions modernizing nuclear equipment -- and has plans to continue to do so. We rated his claim False.

1. Facebook posts: Says Marco Rubio said that "felons should not have their voting rights restored" but that "convicted felons should be allowed to own guns after they have done their time."

The meme was posted by a site "Stop the World, the teabaggers want off" that describes itself as satirical, and we found no evidence that Rubio actually said the words attributed to him. While Rubio has spoken critically in the past about felons regaining voting rights, he does not appear to have taken a stance on the restoration of felons’ gun rights. Rubio didn’t say these words, so we rated the claim False.

And before we sign off ...

One final note: Some of our older fact-checks and articles were also popular, including our 2013 fact-check of a statistic about black-on-black murders (see our May 2015 update about that) and our tracking of Scott’s broken promise to require drug testing for welfare recipients.

Spot a claim in need of fact-checking? Tweet us with #PolitiFactThis on Twitter or email us at [email protected]



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