Hillary Clinton's Truth-O-Meter record
Hillary Clinton formally announced her 2016 presidential campaign with a video in April, and she’s been on the trail since -- but she’s courting media attention with a major launch event on June 12 at New York City’s Roosevelt Island, a site that invokes the legacy of its namesake, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The former secretary of state is slated to deliver a speech to a large audience, a contrast with her recent series of small, roundtable-style events that she’s held in the early caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
We’ve fact-checked Clinton more than 100 times since we began operations in 2007 -- a period that stretches back to her first presidential campaign. So far during the 2016 campaign, we’ve checked nine of her claims.
Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, is also a former Democratic senator from New York. Her Truth-O-Meter record over the past eight years includes 34 Trues, 19 Mostly Trues, 23 Half Trues, 18 Mostly Falses, 11 Falses and Two Pants on Fires.
We’ll continue to watch Clinton’s campaign closely looking for facts to check, but for now, here are some of the most interesting fact-checks in our Hillary Clinton file.
Most recently, we looked into several claims from a speech in which Clinton called for an expansion of voting rights. Clinton attacked what she described as efforts to restrict voting by Republican governors who also are potential presidential candidates. She singled out former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. PolitiFact looked into specific claims related to these four governors and found that her attack lines were largely accurate but could have used some additional context. We gave her four Mostly Trues.
Meanwhile, at a campaign event in Iowa, Clinton tried to show that she understands the struggles of undocumented immigrants by saying that "all my grandparents" immigrated to America. We found that not all of Hillary Clinton’s grandparents were immigrants -- in fact, only one was. (Buzzfeed fact-checked it first.) So we rated that claim False.
Also in Iowa, she lamented that "hedge fund managers themselves make more and pay less in taxes than nurses and truck drivers." Looking at the amount paid, we found that fund managers were paying multi-million-dollar tax bills to the IRS, compared to an above-average example of a nurse paying $15,700. Even her intended point -- that hedge fund managers pay a lower tax rate -- isn’t clearly accurate. We gave that claim a False.
Before her campaign launch, we looked into Clinton’s claim that she "fully complied with every rule" while exclusively using private email while secretary of state. We couldn’t put this claim on the Truth-O-Meter because too much remains unknown. Still, we interviewed several experts on government transparency and records preservation. They said a lawyer might be able to put together a case that Clinton "complied" with the rules governing federal employee email use -- but they added that her actions are still hard to defend. (Read the full report.)
In 2014, while on a publicity tour for her book Hard Choices, Clinton said that she and her husband "came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt." It’s possible that the Clintons’ liabilities exceeded their assets when Bill’s term ended in 2001, but they were able to muster a cash down payment of $855,000 and secure a $1.995 million mortgage. Additionally, in the months following their departure from the White House, Bill Clinton regularly took in speaking fees of at least $125,000, and Hillary Clinton received $2.84 million in book royalties. We rated that claim Mostly False.
In an interview, Clinton said the number of jobs created and people lifted out of poverty during Bill Clinton’s presidency was "a hundred times" what it was under President Ronald Reagan. Clinton’s record on these issues does outpace Reagan’s, but the differences were not like night and day, as her phrasing claims. We rated this claim False.
Many Republicans have criticized Clinton’s actions before, during and after the deadly 2012 attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi. In Clinton’s testimony before Congress, regarding the motivation behind the attack, she asked rhetorically, "At this point, what difference does it make?" The question became an oft-quoted sound bite, so we decided to lay out the full quote in context.
Her 2008 campaign
In a 2008 foreign policy speech, Clinton reminisced about her days as first lady and a trip to Tuzla, Bosnia, that she made in March 1996. She said, "I remember landing under sniper fire." But that's not what happened, as demonstrated by CBS News video that shows Clinton arriving on the tarmac under no visible duress, and greeting a child who offers her a copy of a poem. We rated the claim Pants on Fire.
Perhaps the strangest claim from Clinton’s first campaign was that "A ham and cheese sandwich on one slice of bread is the responsibility of the USDA ... But a ham and cheese sandwich on two slices of bread is the responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration." A USDA undersecretary told PolitiFact that Clinton’s description of sandwich regulations is accurate -- and that the rule "defies logic." We rated her claim True.