Top 5 for PolitiFact Florida in January 2016

Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in the spin room after the Jan. 17 debate in Charleston, has faced questions about the Democrats' debate schedule (Getty).
Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in the spin room after the Jan. 17 debate in Charleston, has faced questions about the Democrats' debate schedule (Getty).

The presidential race kept PolitiFact Florida’s Truth-O-Meter busy in the weeks leading up to the start of voting in the early states.

Our fact-checks of claims by Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump were among our most read items.

Here were our Top 5 stories in January, counting down to the most popular:

5. State Rep. John Cortes, D-Kissimmee, said "Anyone can die of a toothache."


He made a biting claim about the consequences of poor dental care during debate on a state bill that would change the rules for Medicaid coverage. It’s not so much that you’ll die of pain, of course, but dentists and research confirm that an untreated abscess can infect other parts of the body, either through the bones or the bloodstream. Most people won’t die from a toothache, but it’s a condition that if left untreated can lead to the worst: a fatal result. We rated the statement True.

4. 5 things to know about the fight between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on immigration.

We wrote about the battle between the two Republican senators who are rivals in the presidential race. The key thing to know is that Rubio co-authored the bipartisan Gang of 8 bill, which included a path to legal status in 2013, and Cruz fought it and voted against it. Rubio now supports a piecemeal approach,while Cruz seems to think mass deportations could happen over time simply by enforcing current laws. We explain the differences.

3. Trump says Mexico can afford to build a wall because the country's trade deficit with America is billions of dollars.


The trade deficit is about $50 billion. Estimates to build a wall vary widely, though the ones we saw were smaller than the trade deficit. It’s impossible to know a precise figure because Trump hasn’t offered a detailed plan. However, Trump’s overall message here is misleading because he suggests that the size of the trade deficit is proof that Mexico could pay for the wall. In reality, the trade deficit has nothing to do with whether the Mexican government could afford to write the United States a check to build the wall. We rated his statement False.

2. Rubio says his much-discussed boots are "made in Wisconsin."


Rubio made this statement in Iowa after his ankle boots became the subject of Internet scrutiny after he was photographed wearing them in New Hampshire. His Florsheim ankle boots aren’t made in Wisconsin, where the company is headquartered. Florsheim told us most of their products are made in China, but Rubio’s boots came from India. We rated this statement Pants on Fire.

1. Wasserman Schultz says the Democratic Party created a debate schedule "to maximize the opportunity for voters to see our candidates."


The DNC chair and South Florida congresswoman made this claim Jan. 17 -- before additional Democratic debates were in the works, including an MSNBC debate Feb. 4 in New Hampshire. Her best point is that the Democrats largely scheduled their debates with TV networks, which means viewers without cable can see them. But other than that, her statement is very disingenuous. At the time, there were six Democratic party debates compared with 11 scheduled for the Republicans, and half of the Democratic debates are on weekends -- including one the weekend before Christmas and another on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. If the Democrats had wanted to "maximize" opportunities for viewers, the party could have added more debates, scheduled them on weekdays and avoided holidays. We rate this claim False.

Spot a claim in need of fact-checking? Email [email protected] or tweet #PolitiFactThis.