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Editor of PolitiFact Discusses GOP Debate

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Editor of PolitiFact Discusses GOP Debate


Editor of PolitiFact Discusses GOP Debate

Editor of PolitiFact Discusses GOP Debate

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Melissa Block talks with Bill Adair, editor of, about some of the claims made by Republican presidential candidates during last night's debate. Do they stack up?

MELISSA BLOCK, host: We're going to truth-squad some of the statements the candidates made during last night's debate. And to do that, I'm joined by Bill Adair. He's editor of the non-partisan fact-checking web site,

Bill, thanks for coming in.

BILL ADAIR: Thanks for having me.

BLOCK: And let's start with this claim made by Rick Perry last night, as he was slamming President Obama's new stimulus proposal.

Governor RICK PERRY: He had $800 billion worth of stimulus in the first round of stimulus. It created zero jobs.

BLOCK: It created zero jobs. Now, Bill, you have looked at this claim from other Republicans before and you found it sorely flawed, I guess we could say. Pants on fire

ADAIR: Exactly. Yeah, we rated it Pants On Fire. It's just ridiculously false. Even if you look at the most conservative estimates from independent groups, the estimates range somewhere from 1.6 million to 3.6 million jobs. So there's no question there have been many jobs created by the stimulus.

Now, it's a legitimate question to ask has this been a wise expenditure of public money. But in terms of has it created jobs, it has.

BLOCK: One caveat, though, jobs that may have been created or saved, in other words, not new jobs necessarily but jobs that didn't go away.

ADAIR: Absolutely. In some cases, in fact, the way the studies have defined it, a job saved would be perhaps a government job that was going to be eliminated otherwise, and wasn't because of the stimulus money.

BLOCK: Let's stick on the topic of jobs and listen to another claim made last night, this one by former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman.

JON HUNTSMAN REPUBLICAN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF UTAH: I know that everything is bigger in Texas and Rick likes to talk that way. I know all the smart people reside in Massachusetts. But let me just tell you, Utah, the great state of Utah, was number one in job creation, at 5.9 percent during my years as governor.

BLOCK: Now, Bill, we're going to set aside for now the claim that all the smart people live in Massachusetts. Maybe we can truth-squad that another day. But what about what that claim from Jon Huntsman, that Utah led the country in job creation when he was governor?

ADAIR: We rated that Half True. This is a question of what data set do you use. If you use the data that the Huntsman campaign does, they do indeed come out number one. But if you use a different data set, that's actually the one preferred by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Utah ranks fourth. So, we give Huntsman a Half True for that one.

BLOCK: Ranks fourth, according to those data. And I think behind Texas, in fact.

ADAIR: Exactly. Yes, an important distinction.

BLOCK: Let's move on to a statement made by Michele Bachmann. It has to do with health care.

Representative MICHELE BACHMANN REPUBLICAN, MINNESOTA: We know that President Obama stole over $500 billion out of Medicare to switch it over to ObamaCare.

BLOCK: Bill Adair?

ADAIR: We rated that Mostly False on the truth-o-meter. The claim here has some truth to it in that, indeed, there was about $500 billion in savings that funded the health care law from savings in Medicare. But those savings come from a reduction in the future growth of Medicare. And the biggest problem we had with this statement was stole - that's not an accurate characterization of what happens.

The law passed through Congress. It was a very open process. There was plenty of debate about this along the way. So, Mostly False for that one.

MICHELE NORRIS, host: So in other words, savings from the Medicare program that will be used to fund expanding the program for Medicaid recipients?

ADAIR: Exactly. And those savings come largely from reductions in the growth of Medicare in the future.

NORRIS: Bill Adair, let's end by listening to Mitt Romney, who was going after Rick Perry for, as he put it, claiming that Social Security is unconstitutional.

MITT ROMNEY: In writing his book, Governor Perry pointed out that, in his view, that Social Security is unconstitutional, that this is not something the federal government ought to be involved in, that instead, it should be given back to the states.

NORRIS: And he's referring there to Rick Perry's book, "Fed Up," which came out last year. Is he right? Did Rick Perry say that Social Security is unconstitutional?

ADAIR: He came close. We rated that mostly true. When you look at the book, he never explicitly came out and said Social Security is unconstitutional. But he definitely made clear that was his point. He raised questions about whether the program was forced onto the people in ways that - where he questioned the constitutionality. So, on balance, we gave that one a mostly true.

NORRIS: Okay. Bill Adair, thanks so much for coming in.

ADAIR: Thanks for having me.

NORRIS: Bill Adair with

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