One of the key themes of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was income inequality. "Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better," Obama said. "But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by - let alone get ahead. And too many still aren't working at all." Here, we will check Obama’s claim ...>> More
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s attempt to speak on women’s issues at a meeting of the Republican National Committee last week drew as much attention, if not more, than the party’s official business. At the meeting, Huckabee accused Democrats of believing that women "cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government." On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a possible 2016 presidential hopeful, was asked to weigh in on Huckabee’s comments. He turned the question to female advancement in education and the workplace. "I've seen the women in my family ...>> More
Ted Cruz: Under President Barack Obama, "We’ve got the lowest labor force participation in over three decades, since 1978."
President Barack Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address gave Republicans and Democrats on the Sunday news shows another chance to make their case about the country’s economic performance over the past five years. On Fox News Sunday, Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer pointed out the country has added 8 million jobs since the health care law passed in March 2010. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, offered a different take on the state of the labor force on Face the Nation. "Why are jobs and economic growth so dismal?" he asked. "We’ve got the lowest labor force participation in over three decades, ...>> More
President Barack Obama is expected to take another stab at raising the minimum wage when he delivers his State of the Union speech this week. But Republicans appear ready to stymie that proposal once again. The topic came up Jan. 26, 2014, on Fox News Sunday during a discussion between host Chris Wallace and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "Isn't it reasonable that somebody who's working full time, 40 hours a week, should be able to live above the poverty line?" Wallace asked McConnell, referring to Obama’s calls to hike the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. "Yeah. But ...>> More
Forty-one years ago this week, the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade, the landmark case that expanded women’s abortion rights. Fast forward to today, and access to abortion is still a hotly debated issue. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., defended abortion rights in a statement on her website for the case’s Jan. 22 anniversary. "In 2013, our nation saw yet another record-breaking year of state legislatures passing restrictive legislation barring women’s access to abortion services," she said. "In fact, in the past three years, the United States has enacted more of these restrictions than in the previous 10 years combined." ...>> More
Apparently, back when President Barack Obama would get high with the Choom Gang, he was tokin’ on some weak product by today’s standards. At least, that’s what one former congressman says. After Obama told The New Yorker that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol — which opened the door to a broader conversation about legalizing or decriminalizing a drug that’s on the federal government’s most restrictive list, Schedule I — former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., said the president needs to brush up on his pot knowledge. "I think the president needs to speak to his (National Institute of ...>> More
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, went on Fox News recently to explain an unusual decision he’d made: intentionally going without health insurance. Fox host Brian Kilmeade asked Gohmert about it during an interview on Jan. 23, 2014. Gohmert told him, "When Obamacare actually kicked in, just as we knew, if you liked your insurance, as I did -- I had a health savings account -- then I wasn't going to be able to keep it because it doesn't meet the requirements." Gohmert continued, "I don't have an extra $1,200 a month. And we are setting money aside in the ...>> More
Barack Obama: "Thanks in part to our all-of-the-above strategy for American energy," the United States generates "more natural gas than anybody."
During a recent radio address, President Barack Obama said the nation’s energy picture was robust. "Thanks in part to our all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, for the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more oil here at home than we buy from the rest of the world," Obama said on Jan. 18, 2014. "We generate more renewable energy than ever, and more natural gas than anybody." We’ve previously checked one of these claims. Earlier this month, we gave a True rating to Obama’s claim that "for the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more ...>> More
Americans should take a look at the superpower in the mirror before judging Russia for its anti-gay laws, says Russia President Vladimir Putin. Putin spoke to a few reporters, including ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos, ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February. Stephanopoulos asked if gay and lesbian athletes who "wear a rainbow pin" or something like it to protest the law will be protected from prosecution. Legally speaking, Putin said, "protesting a law does not amount to propaganda of sexuality or sexual abuse of children." He added: "I'd like to ask our colleagues, my colleagues and ...>> More
Vladimir Putin: In Russia "all people are absolutely equal regardless of their religion, sex, ethnicity, or sexual orientation," while "70 countries of the world have criminal liability for homosexuality."
Russia has become a lightning rod for controversy heading into the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, and it has nothing to do with figure skating judges. The former communist nation faces threats of terrorism and criticism from the United States for harboring fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. And then there is Russia’s crackdown on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, which has become decidedly more aggressive in the last 12 months. But on Jan. 19, 2014, just weeks before the games begin, Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to quell fears that gay athletes, delegates or fans will be ...>> More
Facebook posts: "In 1916, the U.S. government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees would need to be cut down."
With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, pot is hot. So when a reader was curious about the accuracy of an Internet meme about hemp -- a close botanical cousin of marijuana that has been caught up on in the war on drugs -- they sent it our way. The graphic says: "In 1916, the U.S. government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees would need to be cut down." The claim has proliferated all over the Internet. Sometimes a source is listed (such as the U.S. Department of ...>> More
Barack Obama: "For the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more oil here in the United States than we buy from the rest of the world."
President Barack Obama this week touted the progress his administration has made in recovering from the economic recession, focusing on developments in engineering and manufacturing. "Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the American people, the good news is the economy is growing stronger," he said in a speech on Jan. 15, 2014, at North Carolina State University. "Our businesses have now created more than 8 million new jobs since we hit bottom. Because of an all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, for the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more oil here in the United States ...>> More
Robert Gates: On foreign policy, Joe Biden was against aid for Vietnam, said the fall of the Shah was "a step forward" for human rights in Iran, opposed Reagan's defense build-up and voted against the first Gulf War.
A new memoir from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates hit the book shelves this month, drawing both praise and criticism for its candid insights into the two most recent presidents Gates worked for, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and their administrations. Washington reporters immediately latched on to Gates’ portrayal of Vice President Joe Biden. Biden, he said, is a nice guy — "simply impossible not to like" — but "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." Ouch. Asked to back up his harsh words Jan. 13, 2014, on National ...>> More
Chris Murphy: "Only 3 percent of voters 18 to 34 don't believe that climate change is really happening."
More than a dozen Senate Democrats called a news conference on Jan. 14, 2014, to draw attention to their efforts to curb climate change. One of those senators -- Chris Murphy, D-Conn. -- focused his remarks on the impact of public opinion on advancing an agenda on climate-change policy. Murphy said that advocates for policies to address climate-change "have to convince Republicans -- and those who would stand against the action that we're proposing -- of the electoral consequences of continuing to ignore this issue. We have to tell Republicans that if they ultimately want to stop the hemorrhaging ...>> More
Steve Southerland: "If you have a job in this country, (there's a) 97 percent chance that you're not going to be in poverty."
Five decades after President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty, Fox News Sunday invited Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., among others, to discuss the anniversary. Host John Roberts asked Southerland about ending current programs and moving to a system of block grants: "You said, looking back on Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, it has failed and failed miserably. Do you keep putting more money into existing programs or do you -- as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) suggested earlier this week -- fundamentally reform everything, (taking) a big pot of money that the federal government has and (giving) that ...>> More
In 2014, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone travelling without a laptop or smartphone, whether it’s professionals toiling over PowerPoint graphs on planes or teenagers scrolling through Instagram in the backseats of cars. So when a reader asked PolitiFact to vet a Facebook post about travelling across U.S. borders with electronics, we were intrigued. "If you live within 100 miles of the United States border, then you're in what is being called, the 'Constitution exemption zone,’ " read the post on a page called World Must Wake Up. "U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled that authorities along the U.S ...>> More
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
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