Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Those Stubborn Facts

It's always good to check the facts after presidential debates; here's a good example.

Those Stubborn Facts

Among the more valuable services for citizens engaged in the political process is a website called FactCheck.org run by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center. It's fully researched, non-partisan and always backed by specific citations.

Let's look at what FactCheck had to say in the wake of Monday night's Republican debate in New Hampshire. Here's the full report. What follows are some highlights:

Our own Rick Santorum stepped in two piles of mushed-up "facts:" He repeated the GOP talking point that Obamacare's Medicare advisory board will result in rationing care to older folks. FactCheck notes the law specifically says the board "shall not include any recommendation to ration health care."

Too bad there was no truth-buzzer in place.

Santorum also said Obama opposes "any kind of exploration offshore or in Alaska." FactCheck points out the administration approved 296 new offshore drilling permits since taking office and is considering the first permits in Alaska since 2004.

Pawlenty stretched the truth while touting himself. He claimed he was "one of the few governors" to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border in 2006 in response to President Bush's request for border patrol support.

In fact, 41 states responded in the first year of the two-year effort. In the second year, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico responded. More, in other words, than a "few."

Romney said, "We didn't raise taxes in Massachusettes" to help pay for his health-care plan. FactCheck says the law included penalties with taxes and Romney's successor raised taxes on cigarettes by $1 a-pack.

Newt and Michele also took some liberties that are detailed in FactCheck's report. Take a look at the whole site and, for those keeping score at home, consider subscribing. There's a place to do so on the right side of FactCheck report page.

It's good to have facts, no matter how stubborn they may be. Grrr.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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