Editor’s note: After we published this report, we got questions from readers about why we didn’t rely on more current numbers used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, opting instead to use other numbers from the Department of Homeland Security. So we expanded parts of this report to explain our reasoning in more detail. The rating remains the same. Last week President Barack Obama told immigration reform activists he would look into reducing deportations of illegal immigrants. This follows criticism that Obama is falling short of his promises on comprehensive immigration legislation. Not only that, but ...>> More
Janet Murguía: "We’re at the point of reaching 2 million deportations … this is a historic level, more than any other president of the United States."
Chain email: Says President Barack Obama told a room of students, "Children, every time I clap my hands together, a child in America dies from gun violence," and then a child told him he could solve the problem by not clapping any more.
A reader recently sent us a chain email that seemed hard to believe. Accompanied by a photograph of President Barack Obama conversing with a classroom of students, the chain email included the following text: "Barack Obama, at a recent rural elementary school assembly in South Carolina, asked the audience for total quiet. Then, in the silence, he started to slowly clap his hands once every few seconds, holding the audience in total silence. Then he said into the microphone, 'Children, every time I clap my hands together, a child in America dies from gun violence.' Then, little Darrell, with a ...>> More
Dan Pfeiffer: Says President Barack Obama’s approval rating "gained 3 points in the last couple months."
Here’s a smattering of headlines from the last week on President Barack Obama’s polling numbers: Time: "Poll: Obama’s Approval Rating Sinks To New Low." Politico: "Poll: Obama approval at record low." Wall Street Journal: "WSJ/NBC News Poll: Obama's Approval Rating Hits New Low." Des Moines Register: "Obama job approval hits record low." So you can imagine our surprise when White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer claimed Obama’s numbers are actually up during an interview with Meet the Press host David Gregory. Here’s the exchange. Gregory: "We had a big poll out, Wall Street Journal/NBC News, this week. ...>> More
Democratic National Committee: In the recent House special election in Florida, Democrats "got outspent in a Republican district."
The votes in the special election for Florida’s 13th Congressional District were barely in before the blame game began. On March 11, 2013, Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in the high-profile Pinellas County race to fill the seat of the late Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young. Shortly after Sink lost, the Democratic National Committee sent out a fundraising email signed by the DNC’s CEO, Amy K. Dacey. In it, Dacey called the result "really scary" because "Republican super PACs and outside groups rode to the rescue of a straight-up corporate lobbyist (Jolly) -- spending $5 million to tear ...>> More
Rob Portman: "The average family (is) now bringing home $4,000 less than they did just five years ago."
Economic stagnation is an issue that has become a major talking point for both parties. Take President Barack Obama’s most recent State of the Union address, in which he said that during the past four years, "average wages have barely budged." We rated that claim True. Now, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has offered an even more ominous statistic for working Americans. "The average family," he said in the March 8, 2014, weekly Republican address, is "now bringing home $4,000 less than they did just five years ago." We wondered whether Portman’s claim was correct, so we turned to >> More
Barack Obama: "Most young Americans right now, they’re not covered" by health insurance.
The appearance by President Barack Obama on comedian Zach Galifianakis’ faux-interview show Between Two Ferns set social media ablaze. Galifianakis’ deadpan spoof of a cable-access TV interview show had already become a magnet for Web surfers, and especially for younger Americans -- the demographic that Obama has been trying to convince to purchase insurance at the healthcare.gov website. Just hours after the presidential "interview" went live on FunnyorDie.com, the humor site became "the #1 source of referrals to HealthCare.gov ," according to a triumphal tweet by White House health care spokeswoman Tara McGuinness on March 11, ...>> More
Ted Cruz: Says President Barack Obama "is the first president we've ever had who thinks he can choose which laws to enforce and which laws to ignore."
Critics of President Barack Obama have charged that he has regularly exceeded the powers of his office in selectively enforcing the law. Their examples include making recess appointments, issuing executive orders, delaying provisions of his health care law, refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court and declining to deport certain categories of young illegal immigrants. At the 2014 CPAC conference, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, reiterated this point to the audience of conservative activists. Referring to Obama, Cruz said, "This president of the United States is the first president we've ever had who ...>> More
Rand Paul: "The president won the youth vote 3 to 1, but his numbers have dropped 20, 30 percent among the youth."
Talk of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as a 2016 presidential candidate picked up steam over the weekend after he bested other potential party nominees in a Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, pulling in support from 31 percent of attendees who voted. On Fox News Sunday, he criticized President Barack Obama’s inability to retain support among young voters, suggesting that Republicans such as himself could pick up more of the demographic’s support. "The president won the youth vote three to one, but his numbers have dropped 20, 30 percent among the youth," Paul said. "Really, the public at large ...>> More
Barack Obama: "When I talk about (raising the) minimum wage … half of Republicans agree with it."
One of President Barack Obama’s signature issues at the moment is a push to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. It’s such a popular policy, he said in a speech on March 5, 2014, that even Republicans have little quarrel with it. "When I talk about (raising the) minimum wage," Obama said, "not only is it good policy, but the majority of the country, including half of Republicans, agree with it." We wondered whether polling data backed up this claim. So we looked at independent polls taken recently that asked about the minimum ...>> More
Chuck Hagel: "It isn't me cutting the budget. It's the Congress' decision on sequestration. So it isn't secretary of defense or the president doing this."
President Barack Obama released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 on Tuesday. One point of contention is that the budget he proposed will reduce the army to its smallest size since 1940. On CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told host Bob Schieffer that he’s not responsible for those cuts. "It isn’t me cutting the budget," he said. "It’s the Congress’ decision on sequestration. So it isn’t the secretary of defense or the president doing this, and I think we should clear that up a little bit here, too." At first glance, Hagel attributing ...>> More
American Petroleum Institute: Says "Bill Clinton and George Bush both say build the Keystone XL."
March 7 is the last day the U.S. Department of State will hear public comments on Keystone XL, a proposed pipeline that would carry diluted oil sands from Western Canada to Nebraska and then to refineries on the Gulf Coast. With the closing of the 30-day comment period, six years of contentious debate between environmentalists and pipeline supporters is expected to come to a head when President Barack Obama makes a final decision on whether to proceed. In an attempt to sway public opinion, the American Petroleum Institute relaunched an ad campaign backing the pipeline. The 30-second spot, which is airing in ...>> More
Larry Pressler: "<em>American Hustle</em> shows the FBI making real-life bribes to Washington politicians. I know, because as your U.S. senator, I turned them down."
American Hustle -- a movie based on the story of Abscam, the late-1970s FBI sting that ensnared more than a half-dozen politicians for accepting bribes -- got shut out at the Oscars despite snagging 10 nominations. But the movie is living on as an issue in a 2014 U.S. Senate race. Larry Pressler, a former U.S. senator from South Dakota now running as an Independent for another term in the chamber, is airing a campaign ad touting his role in the Abscam scandal. The twist is that Pressler is touting his honesty in the face of illegal offerings. "American ...>> More
Paul Ryan: "Over the past three years, ‘deep poverty’ has reached its highest level on record."
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives recently released a study that critiqued the current mix of federal anti-poverty programs and suggested a new way forward. The report, titled "The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later," was released by the House Budget Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Ryan was Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 election and is considered a possible presidential contender in 2016. The report, released March 3, 2014, argues in part that there are too many overlapping and ineffective programs designed to help poor Americans. At one point, the authors ...>> More
American and European leaders find themselves scrambling to respond to Russia’s deployment of troops in the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine. With military action on no one’s wish-list, diplomacy and economic sanctions are the only moves effectively in play. Secretary of State John Kerry said on CBS’ Face the Nation that he had been on the phone with his counterparts among the G-8 nations. "Every single one of them are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia with respect to this invasion," Kerry said. "They’re prepared to put sanctions in place, they’re prepared to isolate Russia economically, ...>> More
Mike Rogers: Crimea was part of Russia "until 1954, when it was given to the Soviet Republic of the Ukraine."
President Barack Obama has been vocal in his opposition to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine. Focus has shifted from the new government in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, to Crimea, a region Russian troops seized control of Saturday. Meanwhile, politicians and pundits are divided over what the United States’ role should be in the conflict. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., expressed his concern of Russia’s interference in Crimea to Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. "I would believe that Russians would love to see the Crimea as part of the Russian Federation," he said. "It was there until 1954 ...>> More
President Barack Obama recently announced a new initiative that was close to his heart: a national effort to close achievement gaps and create opportunities for minority boys. "My Brothers Keeper," unveiled at the White House on Feb. 27, 2014, combines philanthropy and research to help move young men of color from the streets into schools and the workforce. "I'm going to pen this presidential memorandum directing the federal government not to spend more money, but to do things smarter, to determine what we can do right now to improve the odds for boys and young men of color, and make ...>> More
In a high-profile event at the White House on Feb. 27, 2014, President Barack Obama unveiled a new effort called the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, designed "to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead." Obama told the audience -- a mix of African American and Latino youth and such public figures as basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and former Secretary of State Colin Powell -- that he understood the challenges facing young people of color. "The only difference is that I grew up in an environment that ...>> More
The main takeaway from a recent campaign ad from Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., aside from a prominently featured Apple logo, is that Republican challenger Rep. Tom Cotton is changing Medicare as we know it. A Feb. 5 Arkansas television ad features Courtney, a young woman who’s "never been really political." "It says here Cotton voted in Congress to change Medicare into a voucher system that will increase out-of-pocket expenses for every senior in Arkansas," Courtney said, pointing to her laptop. "Thousands of dollars every year. My grandma and grandpa can’t afford that, and neither can my parents." Since Courtney ...>> More
Pat Toomey: Says Debo Adegbile "was nominated to serve as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals" and "was abruptly withdrawn by the administration."
President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division has dredged up a decades old controversy surrounding Mumia Abu-Jamal, a black radical convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer. Obama nominated Debo Adegbile to be an assistant attorney general in November. Adegbile previously served as director of litigation at the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., co-authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal with Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams on Feb. 24 that said Adegbile was not fit for the post because he attempted to "seize on (the Abu-Jamal) case and ...>> More
Bobby Jindal: "Our economy (in Louisiana) has grown 50 percent faster than the national GDP, even since the national recession."
Louisiana’s Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, attracted some media attention recently while attending an annual meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington. At a press event after meeting President Barack Obama with a bipartisan group of governors, Jindal said, "The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy. I think we can do better than that." That prompted Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, to come to the microphone and call it a breach of the traditional bipartisan decorum for such events. Jindal, a potential Republican presidential candidate, hit the airwaves again two days later when he was interviewed ...>> More
Facebook posts: Says Nancy Pelosi said, "Waiting long hours in the emergency room will allow you to make new friends!"
It’d probably be big news if House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., publicly stated that she favors extending emergency room wait times. And many Facebook posts seem to suggest she does. They claim Pelosi wrote in defense of criticism to President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, "Waiting long hours in the emergency room will allow you to make new friends!" Some Affordable Care Act critics have predicted that Obamacare will cause emergency room wait times to go up. PolitiFact wanted to put this claim to rest after a skeptical reader wrote in asking us whether Pelosi actually ...>> More
After the troubled launch of President Barack Obama’s health care law last fall, the numbers of health insurance sign-ups has increased -- and so has the spin. Speaking at a dinner with the Democratic Governors Association on Feb. 20, 2014, Obama said the law had brought health care to millions of people. He provided a breakdown: "Right now, we’ve already got close to 4 million Americans who have signed up for exchanges. We’ve got 3 million Americans who were able to stay on their parents’ plan because of the law. We’ve got close to 7 million Americans who have ...>> More
Conservative political advocacy group Americans For Prosperity is spending $400,000 into a TV ad attacking U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, for his position on a potential carbon tax. "Sen. Begich hasn’t always been straight with us," the narrator claims as footage of him supporting Obamacare flashes across the screen. "And now he’s at it again. Begich is on record supporting a carbon tax, even pushing Harry Reid to make it a priority." PolitiFact wanted to find out if the ad accurately reflects Begich’s position on the carbon tax. A carbon tax would impose a tax or fee on oil, ...>> More
When you hear discussion of the federal debt, the trendlines usually go only one way: up. That’s why our ears perked up when we heard the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, say on the Feb. 23, 2014, edition of Fox News Sunday that the debt is headed downward over the next 10 years. Durbin told host Chris Wallace, "I can just tell you this, Chris. Since President Obama has been in office, we've reached the point we're cutting the annual deficits in half, and we're going to reduce the overall debt of the United States by $3 ...>> More