Fact-checking a Hillary Clinton speech in Milwaukee
In one of her campaign stops in Milwaukee ahead of Wisconsin’s primary on April 5, 2016, Hillary Clinton made claims that drew contrasts between herself and the Republican presidential candidates, and between herself and her challenger for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Here’s a look at six statements Clinton made in a speech on March 28, 2016, based on claims PolitiFact Wisconsin and PolitiFact National have checked previously.
At a rally at a Boys & Girls Club, Clinton made assertions about the economy, climate change, gun control and student loans.
"Our economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House."
This statement in Milwaukee was broader than a claim Clinton made in July 2015, when she said: "The stock market does better when you have a Democratic president in the White House." PolitiFact National’s rating then was Mostly True.
Multiple studies showed Clinton was numerically correct. But it was worth noting that luck, timing and several other factors in the broader economy also play a role in determining stock market performance.
In September 2015, she said: "Under Republicans, recessions happen four times as frequently as under Democrats." That also rated Mostly True.
The numbers backed up Clinton’s claim since World War II: Of the 49 quarters in recession since 1947, eight occurred under Democrats, while 41 occurred under Republicans. But many factors contribute to general well-being of the economy.
When Bill Clinton was president, "incomes went up for everybody, not just folks at the top. Middle-class families, working families, poor families."
The former secretary of state’s visit was to an African-American area on Milwaukee’s north side, so it wasn’t surprising that she would bring her up her husband, who had strong support among African-Americans, and the generally strong economy during his tenure.
Two previous claims touch on incomes during Bill Clinton’s time as president.
In 2010, Bill Clinton said passage of his budget bill in 1993 "led to an enormous flowering of the economy in America." PolitiFact National’s rating was Half True.
The economy's improvement did accelerate after the 1993 Balanced Budget bill became law. Still, Clinton was exaggerating because economists said many factors played a role.
And in Milwaukee in 2014, Bill Clinton said: "One-hundred times as many people worked their way from poverty into the American middle class" during his presidency compared to Ronald Reagan's presidency. Our rating was Mostly False.
Measured one way — from the year each president took office to the election year in which each last served — the number of people no longer living in poverty under Clinton was 100 times more than the number under Reagan. But a consistent measure — from the year each president took office to the year each president left office — shows the figure under Clinton was only 22 times higher. And Clinton provided no evidence that all the people lifted out of poverty during his tenure had entered the middle class.
The Republicans "won’t even admit climate change is real."
Hillary Clinton appeared to be alluding to the GOP presidential candidates, although her statement was more broad.
In 2014, when Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown said "virtually no Republican" in Washington accepts climate change science, PolitiFact National’s rating was Mostly True.
When it comes to on-the-record comments of members of Congress, at that point in time, Brown’s characterization was about right. Our colleagues did find at least eight Republicans in Congress who publicly voiced support for the scientific consensus and many more conservative legislators who deny either a human link to the changing climate, or the fact that the climate is changing altogether.
But in February 2016, when Sanders said "not one Republican" presidential candidate "has the guts to recognize that climate change is real," our colleagues issued a rating of False. At that stage of the campaign, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina and John Kasich had said it is real, it's man-made, and had have offered support for actions to deal with it.
"The Republican governor of Florida has forbidden any state employee ever to use, either orally or in writing, the words ‘climate change.’ "
(A group made a similar claim about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in June 2015. Our rating was False. We found plenty of examples where state agencies were discussing climate change.)
Bernie Sanders "voted against the Brady bill five times. He voted to give gun makers and sellers absolute immunity — immunity."
Regarding the five votes, PolitiFact National has rated that Clinton claim as True. As a congressman, Sanders voted five time against the 1993 law, which mandated a five-day waiting period for background checks for gun purchases.
Our colleagues have also rated as True Clinton’s assertion that Sanders "has reversed his position on immunity" for gun manufacturers and sellers.
"We’re going to quit letting the government make money off of lending money" for student loans.
In 2015, we rated a claim made in Madison by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., that sheds light on what Clinton said in Milwaukee.
Warren said: Student loans from the federal government issued between 2007 and 2012 are on target "to produce $66 billion in profits for the United States government." Our rating was Half True.
Warren accurately cited an estimate from a Government Accountability Office report, but that estimate was made with an accounting method that the Congressional Budget Office says is misleading. As the CBO pointed out in another report, using that accounting method, student loans are projected to generate $135 billion in "profit" from 2015 to 2024 — but using the CBO’s preferred accounting method, they are projected to produce an $88 billion loss.
More on the presidential candidates in Wisconsin this week: