Chain email: Says Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad chartered a plane to remove 124 young illegal immigrants from his state and take them back to Honduras.
The surge in unaccompanied minors coming from Central America to the U.S. border with Mexico may have moved off the front pages in recent weeks, but it’s still a hot topic on the Internet. A reader recently sent us a chain email that lauds Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, for purportedly standing up to President Barack Obama’s decision to send more than 100 unaccompanied minors to Iowa. According to the email, Branstad quickly chartered a jet for the immigrant children and flew them all back to Honduras. Spoiler alert: This adventure story is pure fiction. Here’s the text of ...>> More
Supporters of Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., say giving tax breaks to yacht and jet owners is one way that her opponent has shown he is out-of-touch with the state’s average families. In the North Carolina race for U.S. Senate, much of the debate has focused on Republican candidate Thom Tillis’ actions as a state leader. In 2013, the North Carolina government received national attention for a wave of conservative legislation. The Republican-dominated General Assembly -- with Tillis as speaker of the House -- passed laws increasing voter ID requirements, lowering business regulations, upping restrictions on abortion providers, tightening education spending, trimming ...>> More
Facebook posts: Police in the United States are allowed to use tear gas even though it "has been classified as a chemical weapon and banned in international conflict since 1993."
Law enforcement officers in Ferguson, Mo., have used tear gas extensively in the wake of the police-shooting death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed African-American. The conflict in Ferguson led one PolitiFact reader to ask us to check the accuracy of a social-media meme now circulating that addresses the legality of tear gas. The meme -- posted by the group OurTime.org, an advocacy group for young Americans -- said, "Tear gas has been classified as a chemical weapon and banned in international conflict since 1993. Why is its use allowed by U.S. police forces?" The post had garnered 143,000 likes, ...>> More
Alison Lundergan Grimes: Says of Mitch McConnell, "What can happen in 30 years? A senator can become a multi-millionaire in public office."
Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, thinks her opponent has been in office way too long. Grimes released a new ad last week that blasted McConnell for his 30-year tenure in Washington. McConnell -- the expected Senate majority leader if he defeats Grimes and the GOP wins enough seats in November -- is running for his sixth term. The ad says that one of the side effects of staying in office too long is that a senator can become a multi-millionaire and lose sight of the needs of average constituents. "What can ...>> More
Last week, PolitiFact Texas gave a Mostly False rating to a claim by Gov. Rick Perry that Congress is "on a five-week vacation," noting that even if lawmakers take some days off, they continue to attend to their districts by holding town halls and other meetings. Not long after that fact-check appeared, a reader wrote in to ask us why we hadn’t taken President Barack Obama to task for using the same terminology to describe the congressional recess. We missed Obama’s comment the first time around, so we’ll check it here. In his weekly address on ...>> More
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: Says Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst "would privatize Social Security."
The news networks may be focusing on protests in Ferguson, Mo., the rise of the extremist group ISIS in Iraq and the spread of the Ebola virus in west Africa. But on television screens in the heartland, the fiscal future of Social Security is attracting significant notice, at least where campaign ads are concerned. We recently checked claims by a Democratic House candidate and a Republican-aligned advocacy group that told less than the full story about where members of Congress stand on the question of raising the retirement age for receiving Social Security. Now we’re looking at a ...>> More
With heavily armored vehicles stationed in the streets and law enforcement officers dressed in camouflage, many have dubbed Ferguson, Mo., a "war zone." After a white Ferguson police officer shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown Aug. 9, much of the conversation has focused on race relations, and the interactions between police and the community. There’s also been criticism of local police forces using military-style equipment and generally giving the appearance of conducting a military operation. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., weighed in on this topic in a Time magazine column, where he said big government’s to blame ...>> More
Crossroads GPS: While "Arkansas seniors depend on Social Security and Medicare," Sen. Mark Pryor supports an overhaul so they "couldn’t get Social Security until they turn 68 or 69."
The idea of raising the retirement age is popping up in one of the nation’s hottest Senate races -- and not in a positive way. Crossroads GPS, a Republican-aligned group, has launched a television ad in the race between incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton. A portion of the ad says, "Arkansas seniors depend on Social Security and Medicare. It’s troubling that Sen. Mark Pryor said we should overhaul Social Security and Medicare. On Social Security, Pryor suggested raising the retirement age." The ad then cuts to a 2011 interview of Pryor saying, "...>> More
Ending Spending Action Fund: "In six years, (U.S. Rep. Gary) Peters introduced zero bills that became law."
A group founded by conservative billionaire Joe Ricketts, who spent millions to help Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, is on the air in Michigan where there’s a heated race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin. Ricketts’ group, Ending Spending Action Fund, launched an ad Aug. 13 that attacks the record of Rep. Gary Peters, the Michigan Democrat hoping to succeed Levin. Peters is running against Republican Terri Lynn Land, former Michigan Secretary of State. "Can you think of a single thing he’s accomplished?" a narrator asks in the 30-second spot. A clock ticks. "In six years, ...>> More
Martha Robertson: Says Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., "voted to raise the Social Security retirement age on us."
The possibility that Congress could cut back on Social Security has long been a potent weapon in the campaign ad wars. Recently, the theme emerged again in a congressional race in western New York state. It came up in a television ad created by Martha Robertson, a Democratic Tompkins County legislator who is challenging the Republican incumbent, Rep. Tom Reed, in New York’s 23rd district, a sprawling region bordering Pennsylvania known as the Southern Tier. Among other things, Robertson’s ad charges that Reed "voted to raise the Social Security retirement age on us." Policy experts have long suggested ...>> More
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon made the rounds on the Sunday political talk shows on Aug. 17 to discuss the ongoing turmoil in his state stemming from the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man shot and killed by a white St. Louis suburban police officer. In addition to discussing the reaction from the community and law enforcement agencies, Nixon was also grilled on his own response to the outcry. On This Week, Martha Raddatz told Nixon, "People are angry with you, personally. Your press briefings have been town halls, people venting their anger, wondering where you were early on. ...>> More
Chain email: Says the former president of the Czech Republic said the American people were a "confederacy of fools" for electing Barack Obama.<strong> </strong>
We recently came across a chain email that seems to have been floating around the Internet since President Barack Obama’s first months in office and is still making the rounds, five years later. Without providing any context, the email quotes Vaclav Klaus, former president of the Czech Republic, as saying the American people must be a "confederacy of fools" to have elected Obama. "The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency ...>> More
Joe Miller thinks there’s an obvious link between illegal immigrants and the Second Amendment. In a recent mailer to Alaskans, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate touts a record that is "100 percent pro-gun" and "100 percent against amnesty." And, he says he’s the only candidate with endorsements from various pro-gun groups. Alaska’s Republican primary is next Tuesday, and Miller is trailing far behind his opponents Mead Treadwell and Dan Sullivan (the leader) in the latest polls. Whoever wins will face off against incumbent Democrat Mark Begich. He says Begich wants to give amnesty and the ...>> More
Mitch McConnell: Says he "voted for even stronger protections (in the Violence Against Women Act) than Obama's agenda will allow."
Sen. Mitch McConnell enlisted the help of his wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, to push back against claims from Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes that the Kentucky Republican is anti-women. "Have you ever noticed how some liberals feel entitled to speak on behalf of all women? As if every woman agrees with Barack Obama," Chao says in an ad released Aug. 5, 2014. A narrator adds: "Mitch McConnell co-sponsored the original Violence Against Women Act – he’s always supported its purpose. Mitch voted for even stronger protections than Obama’s agenda will allow." We took a look at Grimes’ ...>> More
Alison Lundergan Grimes: Says Mitch McConnell voted "two times against the Violence Against Women Act."
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes says in a new ad that Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has forgotten that "over half the voters in Kentucky are women." The proof? Grimes turns to Ilene Woods, an elderly Kentucky woman, who sums it up in a question for Mitch McConnell: "Senator, why did you vote two times against the Violence Against Women Act and against enforcing equal pay for women?" Silence. "I can never get him to answer this one either," Grimes offers. Does Grimes’ evidence hold water? Let’s take a look at McConnell’s record on the Violence Against Women Act to find ...>> More
Libre Initiative: "The startup rate of Hispanic businesses is three times the national rate."
A conservative grassroots organization is targeting a demographic group that the GOP is struggling to win over -- Hispanics. The Libre Initiative is a 501(c)4 nonprofit that has ties to the Koch brothers. They reach out to the traditionally liberal Hispanic community, espousing conservative ideals in favor of economic and religious freedom, and against the Affordable Care Act. Their stated stance on immigration reform is that they believe the system should have a streamlined process for allowing immigrants to work legally in the United States, though their view on how to handle illegal immigrants ...>> More
Lindsey Graham: Top U.S. intelligence officials have told "every member of Congress, including the president, we’re about to be attacked in a serious way because (of) the threat emanating from Syria and Iraq."
President Barack Obama’s decision to launch limited, open-ended air strikes against Islamic militant positions in Iraq has drawn criticism that the situation demands a more muscular military response. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Armed Services Committee, described the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the force that has quickly occupied a large section of Iraq, as "an existential threat" to the United States. "Do you really want to let America be attacked?" Graham asked on Fox News Sunday. "What is going on in Washington when the FBI director, when the head of national ...>> More
Facebook posts: "In 1978, a student who worked a minimum-wage summer job could afford to pay a year's full tuition at the 4-year public university of their choice."
Everything was better in the old days, apparently -- including the chore of paying for college, at least according to a social media meme sent to us recently by a reader. The meme -- created by OurTime.org, an advocacy group for young Americans -- said, "In 1978, a student who worked a minimum-wage summer job could afford to pay a year's full tuition at the 4-year public university of their choice." Really? We figured this was worth a look. First, the minimum wage. Starting on Jan. 1, 1978, the minimum wage was $2.65. Someone working at ...>> More
Shelley Moore Capito: "What (the Obama administration is) going to come out with in the next several months is you're not even going to be able to burn coal very limitedly in the existing plants."
Is President Barack Obama poised to stop any more coal from burning in the United States? That’s the message from U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican running for Senate in West Virginia against Democrat Natalie Tennant. In a campaign ad released July 29, Capito, surrounded by blue-collar workers, warns against Obama’s coal regulations. "The president's come out with rules that say 'no new coal-fired power plants,’" Capito says. "But what he's going to come out with in the next several months is you're not even going to be able to burn coal very limitedly in the existing ...>> More
Shelley Moore Capito: "The president's come out with rules that say, 'No new coal-fired power plants.' "
Voters across Appalachia are hearing one message from Republican candidates in a handful of Senate races: President Barack Obama is killing coal. In West Virginia, U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito became the latest to deploy the tactic; Capito is running against Democrat Natalie Tennant for U.S. Senate. Capito comes out swinging against new federal regulations aimed at curbing carbon emissions from fossil-fuel burning power plants in an ad released July 29. "The president's come out with rules that say 'no new coal-fired power plants,’ " Capito says. "But what he's going to come out with in the next ...>> More