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Fact-Checking the Republican Debate

The Annenberg Political Fact Check project went through last Thursday's Republican debate and fact-checked candidates' statements, and came up with some interesting spin -- and a few gross inaccuracies as well.

  • Giuliani claimed that adoptions shot up 65 to 70 percent while he was mayor. In fact, the net increase over his entire tenure was 17 percent.
  • Brownback hyped the medical potential of stem cells taken from adults and not embryos, failing to mention their limitations.
  • Hunter claimed that 155,000 non-Mexicans were seized crossing illegally from Mexico last year. The actual figure is 98,153.
  • Romney described a Massachusetts health care plan he backed as "a fabulous program," when in fact it has not fully taken effect and only half the low-income persons who are eligible have signed up.

The linked page goes into detail on these questions and few others, such as Giuliani's claim regarding crime rates in New York, and McCain's bogeyman argument regarding "special interests" hogging radio frequencies.

The site also has a page detailing their fact-checking of the Democratic Debate - and the Democrats faired far better under the same scrutiny.


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Comments (12)

ke_future:

interesting comparison between the democratic gaffes and the republican gaffes. bascially the writes offered excuses for most any mistake that a democratic candidate made while nit-picking anything that a republican said. for instance, hunter's claim on the numbers of non-mexican's crossing the border was a year off from what he said. while that is a gaffe, it's not that big of one.

so i was curious and read the bios of the writers and executives. you have people who have worked with Moyers, the unions, CNN, and Time. Sure, they don't take money from anyone but their foundation. but to claim they are impartial is bogus.

while the information they posted was interesting, in the end it lost most of it's "punch" because of their own biases and partisanship.

nice try, lee. better luck next time.

ke_future

ahhhh, you mean writers like Emi Kolawole, who was a Production Assistant on a Moyers PBS series (she probably never even met Moyers).... and yet you ignore Deputy Director Viveka Novak, who won Clarion Award for investigative reporting into the campaign finance scandals of President Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign - and Big Honcho Brooks Jackson, who was a reporter for the conservative WSJ.

And how exactly would this supposed bias change any of the facts which were incorrect one way or the other? It doesn't.

It must just suck to have 10 candidates at that debate last week and not one of them emerge as a presidential-quality leader - hey - has the GOP had any luck exhuming Ronald Reagan yet?

Thanks for stopping by....

MunDane:

Hmm...

154,989 OTM (other than Mexicans) for the 2005-2006 FY.
http://www.ailf.org/ipc/border_insecurity_spring06.pdf
(Oh and note that applies only to the border itself. Does not count airports or ports)

As to the charge of failing to highlight the negatives of stem cell research, I think if that is case, what say you to the negatives of Iraq pull-outs, tax raises, cutting military spending, or single payer health care curiously absent from the Dem debate?

Hunter claimed that 155,000 non-Mexicans were seized crossing illegally from Mexico last year. The actual figure is 98,153.

Thanks for proving the fact-checking people correct, Min. The figure you quoted, as shown on page of 7 of the pdf you linked, is for FY 2005, which is exactly the error as reported by the fact-check folks. Brownback cited the figures for 2005 instead of 2006.

MunDane:

FWIW, the only place I can find that uses the 98,153 figure is Fact check themselves

MunDane:

Umm.. A fiscal year ends on Sept 30 of the following year. So, FY 2006 ends on Sept 30, 2007...thus it hasn't ended yet.

Plus it takes time to compile data, so that is the last year that data was availiable for.

And Lee, if you are going to take shots a people's login names ("Min"), I will leave you to your echo chamber. I have never, NEVER had a post with anything other than the facts as I find them or my honest opinion.

I do not do playground putdowns. I expect more from you on your site.

"Umm.. A fiscal year ends on Sept 30 of the following year. So, FY 2006 ends on Sept 30, 2007...thus it hasn't ended yet."

Umm, no, it doesn't.

source: The United States Senate website glossary

fiscal year - The fiscal year is the accounting period for the federal government which begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.

The figures used by Hunter were for FY-2005, which is the period from October 1, 2004 - September 30, 2005. Not a big deal I'll admit, but the fact-checkers caught it, and the fact-checkers reported it -- as is the wont of a fact-checker, I suppose.

Sorry if you took offense at my abbreviation of your login name - none intended.

"FWIW, the only place I can find that uses the 98,153 figure is Fact check themselves"

From the US Customs and Border Protection website (aka cbp.gov).

CBP releases outstanding 2006 results
Monday, October 30, 2006

[snipped to bullet point #2]

Significant progress has been made with denying illegal entry to aliens from countries other-than-Mexico. In fiscal year 2005, OTMs made up approximately 14 percent of border apprehensions nationwide. In fiscal year 2006, working closely with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, CBP Border Patrol agents reduced the percentage of OTM apprehensions at the Southwest border to 98,153 or 9 percent of total border apprehensions. 40,977 El Salvadoran's were apprehended in fiscal year 2006, second only to Mexico as a county of origin. Rio Grande Valley Sector in Texas decreased OTM apprehensions by 35 percent (52,246 apprehensions) compared to fiscal year 2005.


MunDane:

I realized I was wrong about the FY thing too late to change(i.e. commute home) I am wrong in what I wrote. You were right.

And you were also right about the differnces in the fiscal year apprehensions, and I was wrong. It is strange though that when you enter that number "98,153" (and I added a few terms as well) the only thing that comes up on a google search is the fact check thing. I wonder why the original document is left out?

I found it on a google web search (not a news search, but a web search) using the search terms 98,153 immigration like this. It comes up as the second hit.

I skipped over your question above "As to the charge of failing to highlight the negatives of stem cell research, I think if that is case, what say you to the negatives of Iraq pull-outs, tax raises, cutting military spending, or single payer health care curiously absent from the Dem debate?"

It's a good point. I went back to the debate transcript for clues as to what the questions was, and how Brownback responded -- here's what I found:

[The question is first directed at Governor Romney]

Moderator: Mrs. Reagan wants to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Will that progress under your administration, Governor?

[Romney responds]

Moderator: The same question, embryonic stem cell research with federal funds, sir.

Brownback: It will not, with all due respect to Mrs. Reagan and her desires here. I've studied this matter a great deal. We are curing and healing people with adult stem cells.

Moderator: OK.

Brownback: It is not necessary to kill a human life for us to heal people. And we're doing it with adult stem cell work, and it's getting done.

and the fact-checkers explain their dis of Brownback:

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback strained to make his case against federal spending for medical research using embryonic stem cells. He said cells from embryos aren't needed:

Brownback: I've studied this matter a great deal. We are curing and healing people with adult stem cells. It is not necessary to kill a human life for us to heal people, and we're doing it with adult stem cell work and it's getting done.

That's true as far as it goes: Some diseases are being cured with adult stem cells. Scientists have successfully used them to treat leukemia and lymphoma as well as a variety of different blood disorders. More recently, several small clinical trials have shown promising results in the treatment of muscle damage, chronic skin diseases and Parkinson's disease. But the National Institutes of Health points out that adult stem cell treatments face serious limitations. Because adult stem cells have not yet been shown to have the ability to transform into any type of cell, they must be taken directly from the body part in question. Unfortunately, many body parts do not contain adult stem cells, and many other parts that do contain stem cells contain them in very limited quantities. Also, adult stem cells are extremely difficult to grow in laboratory conditions.

I'm guessing the dis against Brownback is his statement that "we're doing it with adult stem cell work and it's getting done" without noting the serious limitations cited by NIH.

And why does FactCheck.org give a squat about the NIH?: "The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research.

I guess they feel it's not very presidential to ignore the opinion of the primary federal agency charged with medical research in this country(?)

MunDane:

The NIH is right as far as it goes, but even in countries with research being done on ESC, there is still no breakthroughs on the magnitude or regularity that has been seen in ASC. Whether that is due to the material or the expertise is of great debate.

(I know of the woman in China caiming to have been allowed to walk again with ESC injections to her spinal cord. Except no one has been able to verify her claims.)

I've read estimates that'll be 8-10 years from the start of full-scale ESC research before the results are coming in. This oft-repeated "there's no breakthroughs yet" rational against ESC research is the moral equivalent of saying we should stop cancer research now because - hey -- look at all those years and years we've done research without a cure...

...only we haven't done the years and years of research yet on embryonic stem cells.

I'm at a loss to explain where the roadblock is. Maybe you can help me out, MunDane? It seems as if the conservative viewpoint is that if Embryonic Stem Cell research is given the go ahead and funded fully, there is an automatic assumption that fetuses farms will result from that. What's the basis for that assumption (if it's true)? Do you know?

And if there was some way to obtain assurance that we wouldn't be cloning human life only to destroy it for research, is the roadblock gone?


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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