A reader recently asked us to check a claim that’s been widely repeated on conservative websites -- that 90 million Americans either aren’t working or aren’t looking for work. Over the past few months, the statistic has been cited by various conservative bloggers, pundits and news outlets. We thought we’d take a closer look. Here’s how the calculation is made, using Census Bureau population estimates and employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: The total U.S. population age 16 and over is at least 243 million. Subtracting the nearly 156 million Americans ...>> More
Sarah Palin: "I was banned from talking about" Bill Ayers during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Sarah Palin still speaks bitterly about 2008. The former Republican vice-presidential candidate spoke on Fox News recently about current matters such as the raid on the American diplomatic outpost in Libya and the IRS vetting of nonprofit applications when she turned back to the 2008 presidential campaign. "I was banned from talking about Jeremiah Wright and Obama's friend, Bill Ayers, the character that he befriended and kicked off his political campaign in the guy's living room," Palin said. "Couldn't talk about that." Palin pointed a finger at who she thought was to blame. "I was not allowed to talk ...>> More
In the middle of a national conversation about race following the George Zimmerman acquittal, CNN anchor Don Lemon gave an on-air commentary that went viral on social media. The focus of the commentary was a five-point list of recommendations. "Black people," Lemon said, "if you really want to fix the problem, here's just five things that you should think about doing." The No. 1 item on that list -- "and probably the most important," he said -- had to do with out-of-wedlock births. "Just because you can have a baby, it doesn't mean you should," Lemon said. "Especially without planning ...>> More
Sen. Marco Rubio says it’s not too late to stop Obamacare. In fact, he says, Congress should refuse to pass a spending bill that funds it, even at the risk of shutting down government. That’s because he sees "mounting evidence of how Obamacare creates more problems than it solves, particularly for small business owners and the people who work for them." One of those pieces of evidence: the number of small business who "say they are going to be forced to either fire workers or cut their hours." According to his FoxNews.com op-ed on July 25, 2013, that ...>> More
As the nation hurtles toward another possible fiscal showdown, both President Barack Obama and House Republicans are engaging in a pre-emptive blame game. "Last month, through a series of Statements of Administration Policy, the president announced that he would not sign ANY spending bills this year unless sequestration spending cuts are eliminated – and replaced with his plan for higher, job-destroying taxes," wrote House Speaker John Boehner in a statement on his website on July 22, 2013. (Sequestration refers to the mandatory, across-the-board cuts in every federal agency that took effect earlier this year.) The Ohio Republican was citing ...>> More
Chain email: "U.S. Department of Homeland Security has told banks — in writing — it may inspect safe deposit boxes without warrant and seize any gold, silver, guns or other valuables it finds inside those boxes!"
Nothing screams Internet credibility quite like an entire paragraph in all caps, alternating text background colors and no fewer than five question marks in an email subject line. We recently received such a chain email insisting that bank safe deposit boxes merely let people "entertain the illusion of safety." (If anyone can persuade you to take your valuables out of the bank and stuff them in your mattress, please don’t let it be a stranger who just can’t figure out that caps lock key.) Different versions of a chain email about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security seizing safe deposit ...>> More
Barack Obama: "Our businesses have created nearly twice as many jobs in this recovery as they had at the same point in the last recovery, when there was no Obamacare."
During a speech on the economy in Galesburg, Ill., President Barack Obama touted his record on job creation. Referring to his Republican critics, Obama said in the July 24, 2013, speech, "They’ll bring up Obamacare -- this is tried and true -- despite the fact that our businesses have created nearly twice as many jobs in this recovery as businesses had at the same point in the last recovery, when there was no Obamacare." We’ll first check whether Obama is correct about job growth, and then take a look at the impact of Obama’s health care law. The job numbers ...>> More
President Barack Obama aimed to refocus the national debate and put the economy front and center with a speech at Knox College in Illinois. It was the same place he spoke as a senator in 2005 about the need for the government to help the middle class. He stuck to that theme in this speech, but now as president, he summarized the improvements that have come on his watch. He talked about millions of new jobs, burgeoning energy production, and the nation’s improving balance sheet. "Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years," Obama told the crowd. ...>> More
Barack Obama: "The income of the top 1 percent nearly quadrupled from 1979 to 2007, but the typical family’s incomes barely budged."
A reader asked us to check a dramatic statistic on income inequality from President Barack Obama’s recent speech on the economy in Galesburg, Ill. "The income of the top 1 percent nearly quadrupled from 1979 to 2007, but the typical family’s incomes barely budged," Obama said in the July 24, 2013, speech. When we asked the White House for supporting evidence, a spokesman pointed us to a study published in late 2011 by the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan budget-analysis arm of Congress. The study looked at income trends between 1979 and 2007 for various income levels, including the ...>> More
More than a week after a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, CNN’s State of the Union hosted a roundtable that included a discussion of crime and race in America. Among the panelists was Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker from Georgia. "Gangs have increased by 40 percent since this president was elected," Gingrich said. "There is no federal program to stop it. No one wants to have an honest conversation about it." It wasn’t the first time Gingrich had made this point. In an ...>> More
Barack Obama: Says last year "13 million (health insurance) rebates went out, in all 50 states. Another 8.5 (million) rebates are being sent out this summer, averaging around 100 bucks each."
President Barack Obama is trying to get ahead of a steady rain of attacks on his signature health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act. With House Republicans voting to delay key elements of the law and Americans for Prosperity, a well-funded conservative group, running television ads to stir sentiments against it, Obama focused on health care when he spoke last week at the White House briefing room. Among the changes due to the law, the president touted the tangible benefit of consumer rebates from insurance companies that have spent too much on administrative overhead. "Last year, ...>> More
Michele Bachmann: "The president … by executive order" could grant voting rights to illegal immigrants who are newly legalized under pending legislation.
She may not be running for another term in Congress, but Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is still making provocative statements. In an interview with World Net Daily, a conservative Web publication, Bachmann urged House Republicans to oppose key features of a Senate-passed bill that allows a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants (a process that critics call amnesty). Among other things, she warned that as soon as illegal immigrants become voters, they will vote for Democrats. Bachmann said that Republicans could lose the House in 2014 if they weren’t careful. "Because, I think the president, ...>> More
Mitch McConnell: "The president has had 1,540 of his nominations confirmed, only four defeated."
The long-running Senate battle between Democrats and Republicans over the filibuster and delays in processing President Barack Obama’s nominations came to the brink this past week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., threatened to use the so-called nuclear option and set aside the 60-vote majority needed to close debate and bring a nomination to the floor. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said if Reid did that, he was "going to be remembered as the worst leader of the Senate ever." The two sides healed the breach after many urgent phone calls and a meeting of every ...>> More
Tom Cole: Food stamp spending "doubled under President Bush, doubled again under President Obama."<br />
Food stamp spending doubled under President Barack Obama — after doubling under his Republican predecessor, says Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. That’s one reason he’s disappointed that House lawmakers missed a chance to push for more than $20 billion in savings over 10 years when they stripped nutrition programs from the farm bill. Now they may be stuck with current law or the Senate bill, he said, which aims to trim about $4 billion. "I would argue what we missed, as Republicans, was the chance for real reform," he said in an MSNBC ...>> More
Mitch McConnell: Says Barack Obama is getting his nominees confirmed "faster than President (George W.) Bush was at the same time in his second term."
Comity may have returned to the Senate with a deal that averted a showdown over confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominees, but beforehand, passions ran high. Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accused Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., of a naked power grab to push nominations through. "If we do not pull back from the brink, my friend the majority leader is going to be remembered as the worst leader of the Senate ever," McConnell said. Reid responded, "No matter how often my friend rudely talks about me breaking my word, I am not going to respond ...>> More
John Boehner: "This is the same (farm) bill we voted on a few weeks ago, with the exception of one or two sentences."<br />
House Republicans rushed a new farm bill to a vote last week. But it wasn’t really all that new, Speaker John Boehner argued. Sure, it had been stripped of more than $700 billion in nutrition spending that Republicans wanted to consider separately. But the $200 billion package of farm measures that was left essentially matched what lawmakers had already considered, Boehner said at his weekly news conference July 11. It passed that day 216-208. Some unlikely bedfellows cried foul. A policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation called it a "game of bait and ...>> More
The conservative organization that spent more than $33 million in the last election to defeat President Barack Obama and other Democrats has turned its sights to undermining support for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The group, Americans for Prosperity, launched a television ad in Ohio and Florida. The ad is called "Questions" and in it, Julie, a pregnant mother, talks about her concerns about Obamacare. With a backyard swing set in the background, Julie says: Two years ago, my son Caleb began having seizures. The medical care he received meant the world ...>> More
Robert Menendez: Says Obama administration delay of health care law's employer mandate affects about 1 percent of the American workforce.
Just how many workers does the health care law’s employer mandate affect, anyway? The Obama administration’s holiday-week announcement that it would delay requiring large employers to provide full-time employees with affordable coverage inflamed opponents of the law. (And dismayed some supporters, who questioned whether the president had that authority.) But some pointed out that, in any case, the mandate wouldn’t affect many folks. Take Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., on NBC’s Meet the Press on July 7: "96 percent of all companies in America weren't subject ...>> More
Rand Paul: "There was a Gallup poll in Egypt last year, and 70 percent of Egyptians don't want our money."
The Egyptian military’s ouster of President Mohammed Morsi amid major anti-government protests has prompted some American politicians to urge the U.S. to hold back some or all of the roughly $1.5 billion in aid it gives annually to Egypt. Those who support an aid cutoff argue that despite the popular uprising, the military’s removal of a democratically elected leader undermines democracy, requiring a negative response from the U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., went a step further, arguing that Egyptians don’t even want the aid we give their country in the first place. (Paul is a longtime ...>> More
Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, a staunchly conservative Republican who represented a Florida district for one term, recently sent a tweet that resurrected one of the themes used by Mitt Romney and others during the 2012 presidential campaign -- the idea that there are makers and takers in America. Here’s what West tweeted: "More Americans receive food aid than work in private sector. ‘Fundamental transformation?’ Nope, nation destruction." The tweet linked to an article in the conservative website CNSNews that provided data to support his claim. The CNSNews article cited a report by the ...>> More
Jeb Bush: Says "Canada has one-tenth of our population—yet it issues far more high-skilled visas (more than 150,000) yearly than we do (65,000)."
Republican enthusiasm for comprehensive immigration reform is in short supply on Capitol Hill, despite the arguments from many GOP strategists hoping to win more of the Hispanic vote. There’s no lack of enthusiasm from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, however. A few weeks ago he told conservative Christians that immigrants would rescue Social Security, and in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, he wrote about the vigor they would inject into the American economy. With his co-author, Clint Bolick from the Goldwater Institute, Bush made what they called the Republican case for immigration reform, based on ...>> More
Dan Stein: The Senate immigration bill "unleashes a massive increase in overall immigration. … We're talking about a population increase under the Senate bill of over 70 million people in 20 years."
As the immigration debate moves from the Senate to the House, supporters and opponents have been firing claims back and forth. A reader pointed us toward one claim raised by a critic of the bill on CBS’ Face the Nation. The "so-called path to citizenship amnesty program is a fraction of what the deal bills with," said Dan Stein, who heads a group that opposes the bill, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, on July 7, 2013. "Ultimately, it unleashes a massive increase in overall immigration ... . Essentially, it ...>> More
Luis Gutierrez: Says under the Senate immigration bill, newly legalized immigrants will "pay every tax possible, but you don’t get a single benefit" for 10 years.
The effort to pass a sweeping immigration law has shifted to the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives where it faces a much tougher challenge than it did in the Senate. Supporters say that any hope for success lies in compromise. House Republican leaders say the Senate bill falls short in significant ways, but Democrats argue that it already contains major concessions. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a long-time advocate for immigration reform from Chicago, highlighted how much his side was willing to give up to get the Senate bill through. "They said to immigrants, 11 million of ...>> More
Gabrielle Giffords: "In New Hampshire, 93 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of gun owners and 60 percent of NRA households support background checks."
Gabrielle Giffords, the former Democratic congresswoman who was shot in her home district in Arizona, contends expanded background checks continue to be popular — even among Republicans and gun owners. Her advocacy group is now targeting states with senators who voted against a compromise bill in April that would have mandated background checks for all private gun sales, with exceptions. Giffords kicked off a seven-state tour the week of Independence Day with a USA Today op-ed arguing, "there don't have to be winners and losers." There’s support for a "simple, fair solution: background checks for ...>> More