In the midst of a battle over whether to extend unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed, President Barack Obama’s Facebook page posted this: "Unemployment insurance kept more than 620,000 children out of poverty in 2012. Tell Congress to renew job seekers' economic lifeline." We wondered whether this claim, which was posted Jan. 7, 2014, was accurate. We checked with Organizing for Action, the pro-Obama group that the president has deputized to handle his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts. Organizing for Action spokeswoman Katie Hogan said the numbers were based on a report by the Joint Economic Committee, a ...>> More
Barack Obama: "Unemployment insurance kept more than 620,000 children out of poverty in 2012."
Marco Rubio: "Under Obamacare, when you turn Medicaid over to the states … the money will be available up front for the expansion for a few years. Then, the money will go away."
The war on poverty would be more effective if states had more control over federal programs such as Head Start, says U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. In an interview with Rubio on CBS’ Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer pointed out this approach resembles the optional Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Right-leaning leaders in several states rejected federal money to cover more residents through the federal-state program. "What if these states opt out of these programs?" Schieffer asked. Obamacare is different, Rubio replied. "Well, here’s the distinguishing factor. Under Obamacare, when you turn Medicaid over to the states, ...>> More
On the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s announcement of the War on Poverty, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., gave a speech at an event titled, "Income Mobility and the American Dream," sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. During the speech, Rubio made a claim about the relationship between marriage and poverty. "Until at least a few decades ago, our economy proved sufficiently dynamic and innovative to replace old jobs with new ones, but that hasn't been happening in recent years," Rubio said. "Social factors also play a major role in denying equal opportunity. The truth ...>> More
Rand Paul: "There are many studies that indicate" that the longer people get unemployment insurance, "it provides some disincentive to work."
Just days before the U.S. Senate began consideration of a bill to renew expiring benefits for the long-term unemployed, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., raised questions about how effective such a policy would be. Appearing on the Jan. 5, 2014, edition of ABC’s This Week, Paul said he was concerned "that the longer you have it, that it provides some disincentive to work, and that there are many studies that indicate this. So, what I've been saying all along, we have to figure out how to create jobs and keep people from becoming long-term unemployed." Paul has taken ...>> More
About 1.3 million Americans rang in 2014 with a loss of long-term unemployment benefits, due to Congress’ failure to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program before its Dec. 28 expiration. Gene Sperling, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama and director of the National Economic Council, is pushing Congress to extend the benefits. The Senate passed a key procedural hurdle Tuesday, but the House is not considered likely to follow suit. To receive the benefits, the law requires that people actively look for jobs. On CNN’s State of the Union, Candy Crowley suggested that some people may ...>> More
Tweets: It’s warmer on Mars than it is in parts of the United States and Canada during the polar vortex.
The polar vortex takes no prisoners. At the start of 2014, the Midwest, East Coast and parts of Canada experienced brutally cold temperatures, some of them record-breaking. We’ve seen pitiable tweets from #ChiBeria and tales of people burning themselves in the name of cold-weather science. But what really caught our eye was the number of people comparing the climates of Earth and Mars. There’s no shortage of claims on Twitter about different cities being colder than Mars: Minneapolis, Toronto, Chicago, you name it. Outlets like Yahoo and Smithsonian magazine also spread the information around ...>> More
Gene Sperling: The Obama administration offered "no magic number" of people that needed to sign up for health care on the marketplaces.
What botched rollout? That was so 2013. Talking points from President Barack Obama’s advisers are pointing to something new about Obamacare, something that sounds good: About 2.1 million people signed up for health insurance plans through the federal and state marketplaces. NBC’s Meet the Press host David Gregory posed a key follow-up question to Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling during the Jan. 5 show: Is the progress good enough for the administration to meet its original goal? "2.1 million have signed up. The goal is 7 million by March. How do you think you realistically get there?" Gregory ...>> More
Bloggers: "Obamacare Medical Codes Confirm: Execution by Beheading To Be Implemented in America."
We’ve heard people give lots of reasons for opposing Obamacare. But until a reader sent us some Internet links recently, we hadn’t realized that one of the fears being spawned by Obamacare was that it could usher in legal beheadings across America. The reader pointed us to a variety of blog posts, such as one headlined, "Obamacare Medical Codes Confirm: Execution by Beheading To Be Implemented in America." As if this wasn’t scary enough, this post was accompanied by a photograph of a masked executioner swinging a curved sword downward, just inches from the neck of the condemned. What’s ...>> More
Paul Ryan: The Murray-Ryan deal "is the first divided-government budget agreement since 1986."
Lawmakers and pundits heralded the recent agreement on federal spending reached between House Republicans and Senate Democrats as a rare, bipartisan accord between a deeply divided Congress. Some went so far as to suggest that it was historic, including Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican and chief budget negotiator for the GOP. "This is the first divided-government budget agreement since 1986," Ryan told reporters Dec. 10, 2013, when announcing the deal alongside Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The deal has since passed the House and Senate. We knew that recent Congresses have clashed on federal spending over the years, but was ...>> More
Republican National Committee: "The latest Quinnipiac poll found that nearly six-in-ten Americans oppose ObamaCare — 30% support the law and 57% oppose it."
A reader recently asked us to check into a series of Facebook posts by the Republican National Committee themed to the "Twelve Days of Christmas." In the RNC’s version, the 12 days refer to aspects of President Barack Obama’s health care law that, according to Republicans, are having negative repercussions on the economy and health care system. One of those posts claimed that "the latest Quinnipiac poll found that nearly six-in-ten Americans oppose ObamaCare -- 30% support the law and 57% oppose it." It received nearly 4,000 "likes" -- but as it turns out, one of the percentages cited in ...>> More
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, now a Democrat and a 2014 candidate for governor, wrote an op-ed thanking U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a one-time Senate race opponent of his. Sound nice? It isn’t. It’s a thinly veiled dig at Rubio. "Senator Marco Rubio’s endorsement of Obamacare for his own family should end the rhetoric coming from Governor Rick Scott and other tea party groups," Crist wrote, adding, "The rollout of the Affordable Health Care Act has clearly been flawed, but that doesn’t mean that our work towards affordable health care should end. It should continue." We wanted to ...>> More
Bloggers: "By using a little-known loophole … Obama minions are allowing Nestle Company to export precious fresh water out of Lake Michigan."
These days, President Barack Obama gets blamed for a lot of things -- the glitchy rollout of the healthcare.gov website, an unusually slow economic recovery, an out-of-control electronic surveillance network. But is he also at fault for selling off Lake Michigan’s water to the highest bidder? Several readers recently asked us to check a claim they had seen circulating on social media. The most commonly shared versions seems to have originated on the conservative blog Coach is Right and the website of the Western Center for Journalism, whose president is longtime conservative activist Floyd Brown. The post on ...>> More
Traditional Values Coalition: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act "discriminates against Christian daycare, Christian parents, Christian business owners, and the rights of religious freedom."
Early in the 2014 campaign season, religion has played an important role in the Arkansas Senate race. Incumbent Mark Pryor, a Democrat, released an ad recently about how the Bible guides him. Interestingly, when the National Republican Senatorial Committee attacked Pryor on the issue, challenger Rep. Tom Cotton’s office went against fellow Republicans to stand with Pryor. But that’s not where the debate about Pryor’s faith ends. It circles back to his November vote in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would prevent workplace discrimination based on sexuality and gender identity. It passed ...>> More
Bloggers: School children can earn higher grades by studying Islam under a new "nationwide Muslim outreach program" announced by President Barack Obama.
Several readers recently asked us to check a claim that’s been spreading widely through chain emails and on social media -- that the Obama administration is pursuing a "nationwide Muslim outreach program for children" in grades K through 12. Here’s some of the text that usually accompanies the claim: "At a press conference today, President Obama announced plans for the first ever federally funded Muslim outreach program. The program will be available nationwide for all elementary school students grade K-12 beginning February 1st, 2014. The program is designed to educate children about the fundamentals of the Muslim religion and Islamic ...>> More
Generation Opportunity: "Obamacare could force thousands of volunteer fire stations to cut service or close entirely!"
Few things tug on the heart strings, or put fear in people’s minds, like the image of a small town losing its volunteer fire station. So you can imagine why a number of readers alerted us to a Facebook post making the rounds that alleged just that. According to a graphic posted by Generation Opportunity, an organization that opposes the Affordable Care Act through outreach to young people, the health care law will have an adverse effect on volunteer emergency services. "Obamacare could force thousands of volunteer fire stations to cut service," the post alleges, "or close entirely!" As ...>> More
Following President Barack Obama’s recent speech on the economy, CNN’s Crossfire roundtable debated how to shrink the income gap. Talk centered mostly on the minimum wage. U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., told host Newt Gingrich she supports a raise to $10 an hour so that people can support themselves and their families. "First of all, $7.25 an hour. Can anyone live off that?" Lee said. "Secondly, I just have to say, 60 percent of people on food assistance are working. They're part of the working poor." We wanted to take a closer look at what percentage of people ...>> More
Heritage Foundation: "FACT: Repealing Obamacare would be easier than repealing Prohibition."
If the whirlwind of news about the bumpy rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law is making you dizzy, maybe it’s time to go for a drink. Maybe at a speakeasy? We had this idea after seeing a tweet sent recently by the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think-tank. Heritage, which opposes the Affordable Care Act, sent a tweet that featured a black-and-white photograph of people celebrating the 21st Amendment, which made it legal to buy, sell, transport and drink alcohol. The caption was: "FACT: Repealing Obamacare would be easier than repealing Prohibition." The tweet seems logical ...>> More
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman questioned Democrats who want to raise the federal minimum wage and offered a flurry of statistics to help make his point. Speaking Sunday on ABC's This Week, Portman suggested that raising the $7.25 an hour minimum wage could force employers to cut jobs. "If you want to deal with income inequality, the No. 1 way to do it is to get people to work. That's what all the statistics show. About 2 percent of Americans get paid the minimum wage. Of that group, by the way, less than .3 of 1 percent of Americans are ...>> More
Barack Obama: "By the time she turns 3 years old, a child born into a low-income home hears 30 million fewer words than a child from a well-off family."
Words, words, words. President Barack Obama is certainly fond of them. His recent speech on economic issues, in which he backed a minimum wage increase, included more than 6,500. But what about a point Obama made in the speech about how the income gap affects young children? "By the time she turns 3 years old, a child born into a low-income home hears 30 million fewer words than a child from a well-off family, which means by the time she starts school, she’s already behind," he said. Just for comparison’s sake, 30 million words would be equivalent to 4,615 Obama ...>> More
Facebook posts: Says Vladimir Putin said, "President Obama and his fellow Democrats are either idiots or deliberately trying to destroy their own economy."
After a bumpy rollout of his health care law, President Barack Obama has taken his share of criticism lately. But did that include some trash-talking by Russian President Vladimir Putin? This week, a reader forwarded us a Facebook meme with Putin’s picture and the quotation, "Any fourth grade history student knows socialism has failed in every country, at every time in history. President Obama and his Democrats are either idiots or deliberately trying to destroy their own economy." Did Putin really call his colleague Obama an idiot? You may wonder why you hadn’t heard about the large-scale diplomatic crisis. We ...>> More
One of the major messages in President Barack Obama’s Dec. 4, 2013, speech on the economy was that Americans deserve a raise. "It's well past the time to raise a minimum wage that in real terms right now is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office," Obama said in an address at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. We have previously checked an Obama claim that the minimum wage is "lower right now than it was when Ronald Reagan took office." We rated that Mostly True. But we hadn’t heard the claim about ...>> More
As President Barack Obama used a Dec. 4, 2013, speech to turn the national conversation to economic inequality, we thought it might be a good time to check into a Facebook post a reader recently sent us. The post said: "44% of homeless people are employed. Shouldn't work be an escape from poverty?" We wondered if that was accurate. Sourcing the claim We began by looking into the source of the Facebook post. The meme being circulated was created by a website called Occupy*Posters, which provides eye-catching "memes" for supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement to share ...>> More
The Catholic church and the White House have been clashing over contraception requirements in President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. As we’ve noted before, the Affordable Care Act requires Catholic hospitals to provide all birth control approved by the Food and Drug Administration to their employers with no out-of-pocket costs, including birth control pills, Plan B, diaphragms and hormone shots. Coverage for emergency contraception, but not abortion, is required. "Religious employers" are exempt from the requirement, but the hospitals don’t qualify for exemptions because they both employ and serve people who may not share their religious beliefs. ...>> More
Bob Corker: "The administration was kicking and screaming all the way with these sanctions being put in place (on Iran)."
The tentative nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated by the Obama administration has met with wariness in Congress, as lawmakers from both parties press for tougher sanctions. Just hours after President Barack Obama announced the deal with Iran on Nov. 24, 2013, Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican and ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, expressed skepticism on Fox News Sunday. Among other things, Corker told host Chris Wallace that it was Congress, not Obama, that had pushed for the tough sanctions that forced Iran to the negotiating table. "Congress is what brought us here," he said. "The administration was ...>> More