Contact Meet The Press via Twitter

Tag: Republican

The following is a fact-check from the June 27, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:  


SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ) | No military adviser recommended to President Obama that he set a date of mid-2011 for begin the withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan – LIKELY FALSE

SEN. McCAIN: Look, I, I’m against a timetable. In wars, you declare when you’re leaving after you’ve succeeded. And, by the way, no military adviser recommended to the president that he set a date of the middle of 2011. So it was purely a political decision, not one based on facts on the ground, not based on military strategy or anything. Now…

MR. GREGORY: All–Senator, is that fair? All of his military advisers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Petraeus, General McChrystal, they all signed onto the idea…

SEN. McCAIN: They signed onto it…

MR. GREGORY: …of July. 2011. Well, isn’t it their obligation to say…

SEN. McCAIN: It’s not their idea.

MR. GREGORY: …that this is wrong?

SEN. McCAIN: In my view it is.

MR. GREGORY: Well, they didn’t do that, though.

SEN. McCAIN: In my view it is. They didn’t.

MR. GREGORY: So they were for it.

SEN. McCAIN: They didn’t do it. They didn’t do it, and they should have because they know better.

According to the New York Times, both Admiral Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed onto the date of mid-year 2011 to withdraw forces from Afghanistan, though, they both said withdrawal will hinge on “conditions on the ground.” But Gates and Mullen reiterated that mid-year 2011 will mark the date to start the transition of control to Afghan government. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of the war in Afghanistan, was “absolutely supportive” of the withdrawal date.

To judge whether the withdrawal date was purely political, we looked over Obama’s statements, including focusing on campaign promises to see if he ever mentioned the withdrawal date on the campaign trail. Obama did pledge to send additional brigades to Afghanistan on the campaign trail, but never mentioned a date of withdrawal from Afghanistan. The first mention of the specific withdrawal date was on December 1, 2009, in President Obama’s speech at West Point.

As Mr. Gregory rightfully pointed out, it is unlikely that Sen. McCain’s point could be true when President Obama’s military advisers indicated they supported the timetable. Although, it’s worth acknowledging that it is unlikely that a presidential military adviser would publicly contradict the President, that assumption cannot provide a factual basis for McCain’s statement. In addition, we could find no evidence that the Obama administration determined the withdrawal timetable for political reasons, though, we admit it is obviously impossible to confirm at this time what happened behind closed doors regarding the matter.  We rate Sen. McCain’s statement LIKELY FALSE.


The following fact-check took a combined 2.75 hours..


The following is a fact-check of the June 27, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ)

1) A police chief in Nogales, Arizona said that his police officers are being told they will be murdered by the Mexican drug cartels – TRUE

2) As a result of violence and the influence of the Mexican drug cartels, the government has installed signs in the southern part of Arizona warning people they are in a drug and human smuggling area - TRUE

SEN. McCAIN: Why is it that the police chief in Nogales reported that his police officers are being told they’re going to be murdered by the drug cartels on the other side of the border? The, the rise of violence and the influence of the drug cartels and the human smugglers have made our government put up signs in the southern part of the state of Arizona warning them that they are in a drug smuggling and human smuggling area of this country.

1) According to both CNN and ABC News, police officers from Nogales, Arizona were threatened by a Mexican drug cartel.  Informants told the police department that off-duty officers should ignore illegal drug drug shipments or face retaliation. Although, there is no specific indication that retaliation would include murdering the officers, it is reasonable to assume that that is what the threats were meant to imply. Thus, we rate Sen. McCain’s statement TRUE.

It is worth noting, however, that Sen. McCain made the statement to indicate the increasing danger in the area. While the Senator’s statement is TRUE in and of itself, included in the same CNN story referenced above was this point as well which we feel is relevant to the context of his overall point:

And while the region is a major drug corridor, Nogales has an extremely low crime rate. There has only been one murder in the past three years. By contrast, the police chief says, just across the border there have already been 126 drug-related murders this year.

One thing made clear in both articles, however, is that the violence on the other side of the border is significant, and often especially targets Mexican police officers. And again, there is no question the threatening of US police officers is a sign of escalation.

2) According to the Associated Press, signs have been placed along Interstate 8 in southern Arizona by the federal government to warn visitors to the Sonoran Desert National Monument that drug and human smuggling may be occurring south of the highway. Therefore, we rate Sen. McCain’s statement TRUE.

This sign is one of eight that were recently placed along Interstate 8 in southern Arizona by the federal government.


This fact-check took a combined 2 hours.

The following is a fact-check from the June 20, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


GOV. HALEY BARBOUR (R-MS) | The $20 billion BP put in escrow will be paid in $5 billion increments over a period of four years - TRUE

GOV. BARBOUR: Right. Well, I thought that they were talking about taking $20 billion from BP all at once, and my fear was if you took $20 billion from them all at once, put it in an escrow account, then they wouldn’t have the working capital to generate the revenue to pay us. I think the president was smart, and I congratulate him and BP that they reached an agreement. Instead of $20 billion taken out of that working capital all at once, it’s actually going to be $5 billion this year, $5 billion the next year, $5 billion the following year and $5 billion the fourth year.

According to both a Washington Post and CBS news article, under the deal, BP will put $5 billion annually into escrow for the next four years to pay damage claims from the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, we rate Gov. Barbour’s statement TRUE.


The following fact-check took a combined 1 hour.

The following is a fact-check from the June 13, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


CARLY FIORINA | The last head of the MMS (who recently resigned) came from the oil industry – FALSE

MS. FIORINA: And may I just say, it was Ken Salazar who put in place the secretary or the head of MMS who just recently resigned and who came from the industry.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL) | The last head of the MMS (who recently resigned) came from the U.S. House of Representatives - TRUE

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The head of MMS was from the House of Representatives. Liz Birnbaum came from the U.S. House of Representatives. She was an employee for many years, and then she moved from the House of Representatives to MMS.

According to both a Washington Post article and a profile of Elizabeth Birnbaum (former MMS director) put out by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Ms. Birnbaum did not come from the oil industry before moving to the Minerals Management Service. Here is the Department of Interior on Ms. Birnbaum’s prior work history:

Before her appointment, she was staff director for the Committee on House Administration, where she oversaw strategy development, budget management and staff activities for the committee that manages legislative branch agencies. From 2001-2007, she was Vice President for Government Affairs and General Counsel for American Rivers, where she directed advocacy programs for the nation’s leading river conservation organization.

Not only had Ms. Birnbaum not worked anywhere near the oil industry, but that fact was even a point of criticism against her. Now although Ms. Fiorina only said that the former MMS head came from “the industry,” not specifically the “oil” industry, it seems obvious that based on the larger context of her statements she indeed meant the oil industry. Therefore, since Ms. Birnbaum did not work in the oil industry and did work most recently for the U.S. House of Representatives, we rate Ms. Fiorina’s statement FALSE and Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s statement TRUE.


This fact-check took a combined 1 hour, 45 minutes.

The following is a fact-check from the 5/23 episode of Meet the Press.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX)

1) Since President Obama was sworn into office the national debt has increased 23% – MOSTLY TRUE

2.) President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress are “responsible” for that 23% increase in the national debt – HALF TRUE (Highly Misleading)

3) Under Obama’s budget the debt-to-GDP ratio will increase to 90% by 2020 - TRUE

4) Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 115% – MOSTLY TRUE

SEN. CORNYN: There they go again blaming it on George Bush. I don’t know when this administration, when the Democratic leadership that got the majority in November 2008 are going to take responsibility for the 23 percent increase in the national debt since President Obama was sworn into office. Under the president’s own budget, our debt-to-GDP ratio will be up to 90 percent by 2020, 90 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Greece is at a 115 percent.

1) According to the Treasury Department, the current holding of debt on the day President Obama was sworn in, January 20, 2009, was $10.618 trillion and on May 21, 2010, the debt was at $12.978 trillion. This means that in that time the debt has increased by 22.31%. So Sen. Cornyn was off by .69%. Therefore stating that the debt has gone up by 23% since Obama was sworn in is MOSTLY TRUE.

2) However, it is also worth examining how Sen. Cornyn attaches that number to a statement or assertion that seems to indicate that Pres. Obama and the Democratic leadership are “responsible” for this total increase. To suggest that is highly misleading. Pres. Obama’s first budget did not take effect the day he was sworn in. If looking at the debt that Pres. Obama and the Democratic majority are “responsible” for as Sen. Cornyn suggests, then Oct 1, 2009 is the reasonable start date, when fiscal year 2010 and Pres. Obama’s first budget took effect. The debt at that point was $11.920 trillion, meaning the increase from then to May 21 was 8.95%. We agree with this analysis from crowd-checker kcars1:

The line for how much debt/spending a president is responsible is a difficult line to draw, particularly in this case because there has been so much extra-budgetary, emergency activity. The president enters office operating on the previous president’s budget for 9 months. In addition, there is greater than 50% of the budget that is already committed and which takes years to alter (Social Security, Medicare, and Net Interest). Adding to all of that, no one does zero-based budgeting, so programs already in place are likely to suck up a few dollars — at the very least in the process of being wound down.

So while Sen. Cornyn’s statement regarding the specific percentage increase and timeline is factual, the larger assertion he seems to be making is half true at best. Obviously Pres. Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress are responsible for some of the increase, indeed probably a majority of it, but if Sen. Cornyn means to imply they are totally or solely responsible for the 23% increase, that is false. If he meant some responsibility, then the statement would of course be true. Since we cannot know for sure which he meant, we deem it misleading and HALF TRUE.

3) Under Obama’s budget the debt-to-GDP ratio will increase to 90% by 2020- According to the Congressional Budget Office’s projection, if the current economic conditions and tax rates stay the same, the debt-to-GDP ratio will be 90% in 2020. Therefore, we rate this statement as TRUE.

4) Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 115%- According to CIA-The World Factbook, the debt-to-GDP ratio was 113.4% in 2009. Because of the 1.6% discrepancy, we’ll rate this statement MOSTLY TRUE.


Special thanks to crowd-checker kcar1 for assisting with this fact-check.


This fact-check took a combined 2 hours.


The following is a fact-check of the May 23, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX) | 56% of Americans want to repeal the healthcare bill.LIKELY FALSE

SEN. CORNYN:  Sixty percent of the people–I think it’s 56 percent nationwide–believe the healthcare bill that my friend Mr. Menendez and my friend Mr. Sestak support, they want to repeal it because they realize we can’t afford because it raises premiums, raises taxes, and cuts Medicare in order to create a new entitlement program.

OK looking at Cornyn’s statement alone, it is constructed to be LIKELY FALSE. He does not say “a recent poll said” or any other qualifier of the number, just “56 percent nationwide.” Of course it’s virtually impossible that a statement like that, as an absolute, could be true. Putting that aside for a moment what Sen. Cornyn is referring to is a Rasmussen poll which came out last week indicating that 56% of the likely voters they surveyed favored repealing the recent health care bill. In fact another Rasmussen poll out this week puts that number at 63%. In addition, perhaps a minor point, but Rasmussen polled “likely voters” in these surveys, and again Sen. Cornyn did not say “likely voters” he said “Americans.”

Regardless, determining just how many Americans support repealing the health care bill is not as simple as looking at one poll or polls from one firm.  For instance, the national average of polls done by Pollster.com for the last two months indicate that opposition to health care reform is trending down, with 45.6% of the population opposing health care reform while 41% approve, and of the polls that track it, an average of 17.2% either don’t know or have no opinion. In addition a May 6-10 poll by NBC/WSJ indicated that of a surveyed group in which 38% thought the health care bill was a good idea and 44% thought it was a bad idea, only 42% said they would more likely to vote for a candidate who wanted to repeal the bill. (55% said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who wanted to change the bill) An earlier Indiana University poll in mid-April found that 51% supported repealing the bill. And a May poll by (conservative polling firm) Resurgent Republic found that only 35% of respondents agreed with GOP efforts to “repeal and replace” the health care bill.

Now there is not a lot of polling regarding the specific question of favoring repeal of the health care bill, and Rasmussen has looked at it on a weekly basis, but that does not in any way mean that Rasmussen’s results can be taken alone to be an accurate representation of what the overall American population thinks. So not only is Sen. Cornyn’s statement LIKELY FALSE because of its wording, the statistic itself is LIKELY FALSE as well. Polls undoubtedly indicate that the health care bill is still opposed by plurality of Americans, but a statement of fact cannot be made that 56% favor repealing it.


Special thanks to crowd-checker Andrew Tyndall for assisting with this fact-check.


This fact-check to a combined 2 hours.


ED NOTE: This post was corrected: the word “plurality” was inserted for “majority” in the final paragraph.

The following is a fact-check of the May 23, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX) | Rand Paul is leading Jack Conway by 25 points in the KY Senate race – TRUE

SEN. CORNYN: But the fact of the matter is Rand Paul’s leading his opponent in the, in the general election by 25 points.

Sen. John Cornyn got his number from a poll by Rasmussen Reports conducted on May 20, 2010. The Rasmussen poll predicted that Rand Paul stands at 59% and that John Conway sits at 34%, which is a 25 point lead in Paul’s favor. But there are two other polls that predict differently. A Daily Kos poll, conducted on May 10, 2010, predicted that Paul is 12 points ahead of Conway. Public Policy Polling predicted Paul is only 1 point ahead of Conway and this poll was conducted on May 1, 2010. Because he cited an existing and recent poll, we rate Sen. Cornyn’s statement TRUE.


This fact-check took a combined 1.5 hours.


The following is a fact-check of the May 16, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


SEN. MITCH McCONNELL  | The recently passed student loan bill will result in the loss of 31,000 private sector jobs - FALSE

SEN. McCONNELL: They nationalized the student loan business, which will kill 31,000 private sector jobs.

Fact-check.org handled this back in March, we’ve look at their research and agree with their analysis. Sen. McConnell’s statement is FALSE.

From crowd-sourcer James’ summary of what FactCheck.org found:

First, that 35,000 number came from an report sponsored by National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs, the Consumer Bankers Association, the Education Finance Council and the Student Loan Servicing Alliance – they have as yet refused to make the data available. In fact, the total number of jobs, including jobs in India and elsewhere abroad, is 35,000. According to the FactCheck analysis, the legislation would result in anywhere between a net gain of 300 jobs to a net loss of 4,750 jobs, a far cry from 35,000.


Special thanks to crowd-sourcer James for assisting with this fact-check.


This fact-check took a combined 35 minutes.

The following is a fact-check of the May 16, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY) | The Obama admin. will have doubled the national debt in the next 5 years, triple it in 10 – TRUE

SEN. McCONNELL: They’ve doubled the national debt in the last–will double the national debt in the next five years, triple it in 10.

Politifact checked the same statement made by Judd Gregg and here is what they had to say:

To check the claim, we relied on an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, released on March 20. The CBO, a nonpartisan arm of Congress, projects that the national debt will go from $5.8 trillion in 2008 to $11.8 trillion by the end of 2013; and to $17.3 trillion in 2019. By that count, Gregg’s claim of doubling the debt in five years, tripling it in 10 years, is correct.

Politifact used the CBO’s estimate of the President’s budget, and according to the estimate, the national debt will double in 5 years and triple in 10. Therefore, we find Sen. Mitch McConnell’s statement TRUE.


Special thanks to crowd-sourcer James for assisting with this fact-check.


This fact-check took a combined  1 hour.


The following is a fact-check of the May 16, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY) | The US receives 30% of it’s oil from the Gulf of Mexico

If McConnell meant 30% of US crude oil consumptionFALSE
If McConnell meant 30% of US domestic crude oil productionTRUE

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY) | W/o GOM crude oil, gas would be $14 (a gallon) – UNCONFIRMABLE

SEN. McCONNELL: As horrible as this is, it’s important to remember that we get 30 percent of our oil from the Gulf and, if you shut that down, you’d have $14 gasoline.

So we are going to try something new with this fact-check. Because Sen. McConnell’s statement is vague enough to be misleading, we have fact-checked both possible meanings of it, which hinge on what the definition of “our” is. If Sen. McConnell means that 30% of the crude oil that the US consumes comes from the Gulf of Mexico, then his statement is FALSE. If Sen McConnell means that 30% of the crude oil that the US produces comes from the Gulf of Mexico, then his statement is TRUE.

According to the US Energy Information Administration:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/basics/quickoil.html
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oog/special/gulf/gulf_fact_sheet.html

The entire US domestic production of crude oil accounted for 28% of US liquid fuel consumption in 2009.
Gulf of Mexico crude oil production accounted for 8% of US liquid fuel consumption in 2009.
Gulf of Mexico crude oil production accounted for 30% of overall US crude oil production in 2009 (and makes up  19% of US reserves).

Another interesting fact from crowd-sourcer kcars1:

In addition, US has only 2.2% of the world oil reserves and GOM accounts for 19%, so GOM accounts for 0.42% of world reserves. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-wo…

Regarding the $14 a gallon gasoline, we were unable to find data to back up or refute that. That also means we were unable to find the data Sen. McConnell would be able to use to cite that number. Additionally, if GOM crude oil production equals only 8% of total US liquid fuel consumption, it seems unlikely that the loss of that 8% would result in a 466% increase in gasoline prices. (Gas currently averages around $3/gal) Regardless, until more information can be found or made available, Sen. McConnell’s statement cannot be confirmed at this time.


Special thanks to crowd-sourcers kcars1 and Joshua for assisting with this fact-check.


This fact-check took a combined 2.5 hours.