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
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."
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
Chain email: If the Trans-Pacific Partnership "is fast-tracked through the Senate, it won't receive a committee assignment" and the consideration will include "no debate."
A new chain email warns that President Barack Obama is about to grab "the powers of a king" through a new trade agreement with Pacific Rim countries. The email begins, "A leaked copy of Obama's top secret Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been posted on our website and it is much, much worse than anyone anticipated. We can say goodbye to America's borders, our Constitution and the rule of law if Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., are able to ram this treaty through the Senate. And that's exactly what they're trying to do! Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says ...>> More
Marco Rubio: "Just days ago, Iran's Supreme Leader (Ali) Khamenei, who will oversee implementation of this agreement, was calling Israel a 'rabid dog' and accusing the United States of war crimes."
Forget the Senate’s "nuclear option." Congress’s latest point of tension is the nuclear deal with Iran. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is among those opposed to the six-month deal, in which the United States agreed to lessen sanctions on Iran in exchange for certain limits placed on Iran’s growing nuclear program. The deal was brokered by the P5+1, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany. In his press release, Rubio highlighted a notoriously rocky relationship between the two countries, calling Iran a "rogue state." He went on to criticize the country’s leadership. "Just days ago, Iran's ...>> More
Ron Johnson: "Republicans have proposed dozens of (health care) solutions designed to help control costs and improve quality."
As Republicans continue to score points bashing the early struggles of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, the common refrain from Democrats is to claim their GOP counterparts lack an alternative. It has fit neatly into their characterization of Republicans as the party of "no." For their part, Republicans have consistently said that’s not the case. "Throughout the health care debate, Republicans have proposed dozens of solutions designed to help control costs and improve quality — without surrendering control of your personal health care decisions to nameless bureaucrats in Washington," said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., during the Republican national ...>> More
Obama's heckler: President Barack Obama has the "power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country."
Even a presidential heckler can find his way to PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter. At a speech Monday in San Francisco, a young man yelled at President Barack Obama and urged the president to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. "Mr. Obama, my family has been separated for 19 months now!" the man said, according to a New York Times report. (You can watch a video of the incident here.) Obama continued trying to speak, but the man continued yelling, saying at one point: "You have a power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country." The heckler was later ...>> More
"What (the American people) don't expect is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet." Then-Sen. Barack Obama, remarks on Senate floor, April 13, 2005 "I support the step a majority of senators today took to change the way that Washington is doing business — more specifically, the way the Senate does business. What a majority of senators determined … is that they would restore the longstanding tradition of ...>> More
"To correct this abuse, the majority in the Senate is prepared to restore the Senate’s traditions and precedents to ensure that regardless of party, any president’s judicial nominees, after full and fair debate, receive a simple up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. It is time to move away from advise and obstruct and get back to advise and consent." Sen. Mitch McConnell, remarks on Senate floor, May 19, 2005 "Let me say we are not interested in having a gun put to our head any longer. If you think this is in the best interests of the Senate ...>> More
"What they are attempting to do in this instance is really too bad. It will change this body forever. We will be an extension of the House of Representatives, where a simple majority there can determine everything." Sen. Harry Reid, remarks on Senate floor, May 23, 2005 "The Senate is a living thing, and to survive it must change, as it has over the history of this great country. To the average American, adapting the rules to make the Senate work again is just common sense. This is not about Democrats versus Republicans. This is about making Washington work ...>> More
As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was about to execute the "nuclear option" -- changing the chamber’s rules to eliminate a 60-vote supermajority for executive nominations -- his office released a graphic designed to show how Senate Republicans had used filibusters to target a disproportionate number of President Barack Obama’s nominees. The graphic -- which quickly went viral among Democrats using social media -- showed a pie chart with the following caption. "In the history of the United States, 168 presidential nominees have been filibustered, 82 blocked under President Obama, 86 blocked under all the other presidents." We ...>> More
One of the most contentious battles over voting rights in 2013 took place in North Carolina, where a Republican governor and legislature enacted a bill to overhaul the way the state holds elections. Among other things, the measure -- passed with strong Republican support and broad Democratic opposition -- required voters to show a government-issued ID at the polls, shortened the early voting period, ended same-day voter registration, and ended provisional ballots for voters who go to the wrong precinct. The bill, signed on Aug. 12, 2013, helped spark protests at the state capitol known as "Moral Mondays." The ...>> More
A lot of numbers were thrown at us when the White House finally announced on Nov. 13 how many individuals had signed up for health care coverage through online marketplaces. The general consensus, including from many Democrats, is the early returns were underwhelming. Still, there was a lot of confusion. How many successfully navigated through the error-laden federal marketplace website? Who actually purchased coverage? Where does Medicaid fit into all of this? Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., tweeted a simple breakdown. "This week we found out 500,000 people have signed up for #Obamacare," the chair of the Democratic National ...>> More
Alison Lundergan Grimes: Says Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has "blocked the Senate over 400 times."
Is Mitch McConnell the "guardian of gridlock"? One of the marquee races in the 2014 midterm elections is McConnell’s bid to win a sixth term representing Kentucky. And one of the issues likely to get significant attention in the campaign is whether McConnell, as the Senate’s minority leader, has unduly obstructed the Senate majority’s work. The allegation of obstructionism is at the center of an ad released in October by his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes. The ad shows a house slowly catching fire, as the narrator says, "He calls himself a proud guardian of gridlock. He’s blocked the Senate ...>> More
Attack ads are in full swing for the 2014 Arkansas Senate race. The latest back-and-forth between incumbent Mark Pryor, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, a Republican, focused on Medicare funding. Each candidate accused the other of cutting funding. "Some politicians like Tom Cotton voted to cut Social Security, turn Medicare into a voucher system and raise the age of eligibility to 70," Pryor's ad said. "Pryor cut Medicare to pay for Obamacare," Cotton’s ad shot back. We’ll address Cotton’s Medicare claim in a separate fact-check. Here, we’ll focus on Pryor’s statement about the voucher system. Did Cotton really ...>> More
So far, PolitiFact has heard some familiar attacks in the 2014 midterm election campaign rhetoric. The latest comes from the Arkansas Senate race, where incumbent Mark Pryor, a Democrat, faces U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, a Republican. Recently, they traded jabs over Medicare funding. "Some politicians like Tom Cotton voted to cut Social Security, turn Medicare into a voucher system and raise the age of eligibility to 70," Pryor’s ad said. "Pryor cut Medicare to pay for Obamacare," Cotton’s ad shot back. We’ve addressed Pryor’s claim in a separate fact-check. Here, we’ll focus on Cotton’s assertion that the ...>> More
As congressional Democrats and Republicans sit down for high-stakes budget talks, the rhetoric has flown furiously to familiar territory. Republicans want cuts and reforms to entitlement programs, while Democrats insist that revenue must be on the table, too. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., made the case for the latter in an interview on MSNBC on Nov. 12, 2013. "This country has never been richer, if you look at per capita GDP," she said. "It doesn't feel that way when you hear about austerity and we have to cut this and we have to cut that. It's because the income inequality ...>> More
Nancy Pelosi: Says the number of Democrats who voted for the GOP measure allowing health plan renewals is close to the number who voted on GOP bills to delay mandates on employers and individuals.
David Gregory opened NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday with a pointed question for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about a "crisis of confidence" among Democrats in President Barack Obama. "Has it reached a point where Democrats don’t believe the president can pull this off and can make Obamacare work?" Gregory asked. Two days before the show, 39 House Democrats joined Republicans to pass the Keep Your Health Plan Act, which would allow insurers to continue to offer individual market health insurance policies that do not meet the standards of the health care law through 2014. It would also ...>> More
Nancy Pelosi: "The (health care) law does not demand that all of these cancellations go out."
President Barack Obama’s apology and administrative pivot to stop a wave of insurance plan cancellations has hardly quieted accusations that he misled millions of Americans when he said "If you like your plan, you can keep it." Facing these criticisms, the Democratic leadership has rallied around the president. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said he actually took more blame for what happened than he might deserve. "The law does not demand that all of these cancellations go out," Pelosi said on NBC’s Meet the Press. We have looked at variations of this claim before, most recently when former Obama ...>> More
Ted Cruz: "Under President (George W.) Bush, prosecution of gun crimes was 30 percent higher than it is under President Obama."
After leading the charge for a government shutdown to defund President Barack Obama’s health care law, freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, hasn’t shied away from the spotlight. On Nov. 8, 2013, Cruz was a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Long before he got to the obligatory joke about reading Green Eggs & Ham during a lengthy Senate speech, he addressed gun policy. "Do you target violent criminals, or do you try to take away the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens?" Cruz said. After the senator criticized Obama for focusing on the latter at the expense of the former, he ...>> More
Jim McDermott: "On (the federal minimum wage of) $7.75, you can’t even make half the poverty level."
A recent Gallup poll showed that an overwhelming 76 percent of Americans want the minimum wage increased to $9. There hasn’t been a minimum wage increase in four years, and the prospect of an increase -- particularly in the Republican-controlled House -- looks dim. But that hasn’t stopped advocates of a higher minimum wage from making their case. In a recent interview with the Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., said that at its current level, the minimum wage is inadequate for making an acceptable living. "The minimum wage at the federal level has been frozen ...>> More