GOP debate fact check: A look at candidates’ claims
Donald Trump, offended by coarse language?
So it seemed in the Republican presidential debate Thursday night. The notably potty-mouthed New York billionaire objected to an expletive uttered by former Mexican President Vicente Fox over Trump’s proposal to build a fortress-like wall along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it.
A look at statements in the debate and how they compare with the facts:
TRUMP: “I saw him use the word that he used. I can only tell you, if I would have used even half of that word, it would have been national scandal. This guy used a filthy, disgusting word on television, and he should be ashamed of himself, and he should apologize, OK?”
THE FACTS: At issue, it must be said, is the F-bomb.
Fox dropped it when denouncing Trump’s plans for the wall.
Trump, meantime, has run a profanity-laced campaign, blurted out the S-word on multiple occasions and used an offensive term for coward against rival Ted Cruz.
But what about THAT bomb?
At a rally in New Hampshire, he declared: “We’re not going to let Mexico steal all our businesses. … We’re going to bring business back. … And you can tell them to go” — pausing — “themselves because they let you down, and they left.”
He didn’t say the word. He mouthed it.
And Trump used the word loudly and several times in a 2011 Nevada speech before he was a candidate.
CRUZ: “The Obama-Clinton economy has done enormous damage to the Hispanic community.”
THE FACTS: The bursting of the housing bubble in late 2007 is what really damaged the Hispanic community, before Barack Obama took office.
Under Obama, Hispanics have made strides from the depths of the Great Recession. Their unemployment rate is 5.9 percent. The rate is above the national average of 4.9 percent, but it’s well below the 2009 peak of 13 percent.
Hispanics have gained 5 million jobs under Obama, a 25 percent increase since 2009. Under George W. Bush, there was a 21 percent growth of 3.45 million jobs.
But there is one key area where Hispanics are struggling to recover: Median income for that group was $28,757 in 2014, about $1,644 less than in 2007 after adjusting for inflation.
Cruz exaggerates when calling it the Obama-Clinton economy. Hillary Clinton was his secretary of state with little or no influence on his economic policy.
TRUMP: “You look at our borders, they’re like swiss cheese, everybody pours in.” And: “We have at least 11 million people in this country that came in illegally.”
THE FACTS: He’s indulging in some hyperbole and his assertion about the 11 million isn’t quite right.
During the last budget year about 337,000 people were arrested trying to cross the border illegally, a near 40-year low.
While there are an estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally, not nearly that many broke the law when they crossed the border. More than 40 percent of such immigrants are thought to have entered the country legally with a visa and overstayed that visa.
MARCO RUBIO: “It is a health care law that is basically forcing companies to lay people off, cut people’s hours, move people to part-time. It is not just a bad health care law, it is a job-killing law.”
THE FACTS: The claim that Obama’s health care law is a job killer is hard to square with the fact that the economy has added more than 13.4 million jobs since the law took effect. The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9 percent from 9.9. percent since Obama signed the act.
Nor is there evidence that workers are being moved en masse to part-time hours. The number of part-time workers has actually fallen slightly since the health care law was passed: There were 27.6 million part-timers working in March 2010, and there are 26.3 million now.
To be sure, about 6 million of those with part-time jobs would prefer full-time work but have been unable to find it. That figure has declined steadily from 9 million since the Great Recession ended in June 2009, though it is still high.
The persistence of “involuntary” part-time employment has led many economists to worry that it could be a long-term problem, but they disagree on whether the health care overhaul is the root cause of that.
TRUMP: Says allowing health insurers to sell polices across state lines would spark competition, and “that’s going to solve the problem.”
THE FACTS: Allowing the interstate sale of health insurance policies could result in a proliferation of lower-premium plans. But it’s not clear that many consumers would want them. This long-standing GOP proposal has previously run into opposition from regulators in many states.
State insurance and consumer-protection regulators say such an approach would allow skimpy out-of-state policies to undercut benefits that individual states require, triggering a race to the bottom. Proponents of interstate competition say they’d prevent that by spelling out a basic benefits plan.
Some insurance industry insiders see another complication: Out-of-state companies may not have adequate local networks of hospitals and doctors.
RUBIO: Repeats a flawed claim to have wiped out an insurance “bailout” in President Barack Obama’s health care law. “When they passed Obamacare they put a bailout fund in Obamacare … we led the effort and wiped out that bailout fund.”
THE FACTS: Rubio was a vocal opponent of the “bailout.” But Republicans weren’t able to wipe it out — just limit it. And other GOP lawmakers say Rubio did not engineer the maneuver.
At issue is a part of the health care law called “risk corridors,” intended to compensate insurers that signed up sicker-than-expected patients under the health care law, incurring high costs. The government could pay just 13 percent of risk-corridor claims last year because of lower-than-expected fees paid by insurers who were doing well financially. Congressional Republicans barred the administration from using taxpayer dollars to make up the difference, but Rubio wasn’t responsible for that move.