6 Debunked Statements From the GOP Debate

Republican presidential hopefuls at the third GOP primary debate. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

All of the candidates in Wednesday night’s third GOP debate made some pretty bold statements. Many of those statements were found to be misleading or even patently false after a thorough examination by fact-checkers — including Ben Carson’s “total propaganda” dodge about his relationship to Mannatech, which Daily Intelligencer already covered today.

Here’s a roundup of six other times Republican candidates got called out for bending the truth, some more brazenly than others.

1. Carly Fiorina used a misleading statistic to assert that Democrats were anti-women.
Fiorina made one of the most compelling assertions of the night when she said, “It is the height of hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to talk about being the first woman president, when every single policy she espouses and every single policy of President Obama has been demonstratively bad for women. Ninety-two percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women.”

This is actually a talking point from Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, Mother Jones reports, one that even Romney abandoned when he realized it didn’t add up. Between January 2009 and March 2012, there was a net loss of 740,000 jobs. During that period, women lost 683,000 jobs, which is 92 percent of the total.

But if you look at the whole picture, more than 5 million jobs were lost between the start of the recession in 2007 and the time Romney used the stat in 2012 — and 1.8 million of those were held by women, roughly 30 percent. Not even close to 92.

In other words, Fiorina took shock value too far — as she did in the CNN debate, when she mischaracterized the Planned Parenthood videos.

2. Donald Trump apparently forgot about that “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator” crack he made.
During the debate, moderator Becky Quick asked Trump, “You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator because he was in favor of the H-1B [visa].”

Trump replied, “I never said that. I never said that.”

H-1B visas are granted to immigrant workers who are especially skilled in areas like tech and particularly sought after in Silicon Valley. Trump has proposed restrictions on the H-1B program, and there’s a proposal on his site containing this quote: “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities,” the Washington Post found.

3. Trump also misremembered a key fact in an anecdote he told supporting the elimination of gun-free zones.
Attacking the idea of gun-free zones, Trump said, “I feel that the gun-free zones and, you know, when you say that, that’s target practice for the sickos and for the mentally ill. That’s target. They look around for gun-free zones. You know, we could give you another example — the Marines, the Army, these wonderful six soldiers that were killed. Two of them were among the most highly decorated — they weren’t allowed on a military base to have guns. And somebody walked in and shot them, killed them. If they had guns, he [the shooter] wouldn’t be around very long. I can tell you, there wouldn’t have been much damage.”

He was referencing the shooting at the Naval Reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but the statement is untrue. The service men at the center were armed, and the shooter was confronted by sailors with guns, but they weren’t able to stop him.

4. Lindsey Graham made an observation about the size of the military that the military itself finds irrelevant.
Senator Graham of South Carolina said, We are on track to have the smallest army since 1940, the smallest Navy since 1915.”

This is another discredited assertion left over from the Romney campaign. As the Post explains, the military is about technology these days as much as brute manpower. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus recently said that the number of ships in the Navy is irrelevant when talking about its strength. “We also have fewer telegraph machines than we did in World War I and we seem to be doing fine without that … Look at the capability. Look at the missions we do.”

Donald Rumsfeld also argued for a smaller and more agile military.

5. Chris Christie keeps repeating his Bernie Sanders tax smear.
Christie said: “The socialist [Sen. Bernie Sanders] says they’re going to pay for everything and give you everything for free, except they don’t say they’re going to raise it through taxes to 90 percent to do it.”

Christie has been insistent on this idea, but Bernie Sanders — who has not released a tax plan yet — has reiterated that he does not plan to increase taxes from 39.6 percent to 90 percent.

6. Christie also trumpeted some unfounded insinuations about Obama endangering police officers.
Christie asserted, “The FBI director — the president’s appointed FBI director — has said this week that because of a lack of support from politicians like the president of the United States that police officers are afraid to get out of their cars, that they’re afraid to enforce the law. He says — the president’s appointee — that crime is going up because of this. And when the president of the United States gets up to speak about it, does he support police officers? Does he stand up for law enforcement? No, he doesn’t, I’ll tell you this: The number one job of the president of the United States is to protect the safety and the security of the American people. This president has failed.”

Actually, deaths of police officers are down by 5 percent from last year, Vox reports. Not to mention that both murder and all violent crime have been at a historic low under the Obama administration.

Truth-Telling Bonus: John Kasich pointed out the absurdity of his fellow Republicans’ tax plans. Trump was derisive, but the Tax Foundation made a chart comparing each candidate’s proposals.

All of the plans increase GDP and the wage rate, and they add millions of jobs to the economy. There’s just one problem: They’d also plunge us into multi-billion-dollar debt.

6 Debunked Statements From the Third GOP Debate