Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fact-checking convention claims on national debt, taxes, Benghazi

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, vice presidential nominee
(Photo from The Detroit News)
The Republican National Convention has completed its third day, and we take a look at what fact-checkers are saying about Wednesday's speeches. The Rural Blog will be providing excerpts from both conventions. If you want to re-publish them, we encourage you to look at The Washington Post's Fact Checker, or Politifact for full context and things you may want to add. The fact-checkers looked at a lot more assertions yesterday than we have room to publish here.

Donald Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, "said that Hillary Clinton’s 'only answer' to the debt 'is to keep borrowing and spending,'" Lori Robertson writes for FactCheck. "But the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that Trump’s tax and spending plan would cause a 'massive increase' in the debt, while Clinton’s plan would result in a 'relatively small' increase."

Trump's son Eric "claimed that the U.S. is 'one of the highest-taxed nations in the world,' but U.S. personal taxes aren’t even in the top 10 among industrialized nations," Robertson writes. The U.S. does has one of the highest business-tax rates. "Florida Gov. Rick Scott claimed the U.S. has 'world-record high debt'— it actually ranks 39th out of 178 nations in terms of debt as a percentage of GDP. And he said the U.S. economy is 'not growing,' when it is."

Pence took out of context a Clinton quote about the Benghazi terrorist attacks, which left four Americans dead, report Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee of the Fact Checker. At a congressional hearing, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) "pressed Clinton repeatedly why she did not directly speak to survivors of the attacks to find out if it had been prompted by a protest, as initial media reports indicated. Her answer was an FBI investigation into the attacks had been launched and that it would have been inappropriate to speak to people who were being interviewed by professionals."

"Johnson called that 'a good excuse' and asserted the administration misled Americans about whether the attacks were preceded by a protest," Kessler and Lee write. Clinton replied: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”

Pence said Indiana has "a $2 billion surplus, the highest credit rating in the nation, even though we've cut taxes every year since I became governor four years ago." Actually, it's tied with 14 other states for highest, Allison Graves and Neelesh Moorthy write for Politifact.

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