Fact Checking the Democratic Debate

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On Friday, the Democratic Party held their eighth debate in New Hampshire. Below are some of the candidate’s claims along with the facts supporting or discrediting their claims:

Amy Klobuchar:

  • Claim: Sen. Klobuchar claimed that Mayor Pete has changed his healthcare plan from Medicare for All to Medicare as a choice:
    • “And Pete, while you have a different plan now, you sent out a tweet just a few years ago that said henceforth, forthwith, indubitably, affirmatively, you are for ‘Medicare for All’ for the ages.”
  • Fact: True-Before entering into the presidential primary race, Mayor Pete favored Medicare for All as evidenced in a Twitter exchange back in Feb. 2018.

Joe Biden:

  • Claim: President Barack Obama tasked him with pulling 156,000 troops out of Iraq: “I did that.”
  • Fact: He did pull troops out of Iraq “under a deal negotiated by the Bush administration in late 2008.” But, some troops did go back “in 2014 after the rise of the Islamic State extremist group.”
  • Claim: The first major leader in public office to call for same-sex marriage.
  • Fact: Biden endorsed Same Sex Marriage on Meet the Press in 2012. However, he voted for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

Andrew Yang:

  • Claim: “We have record high corporate profits in this country right now.”
  • Fact: Corporate profits are high, but they’re not at record levels.
  • Companies earned $1.84 trillion in profits in 2018, slightly below the $1.86 trillion earned in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. But as a share of national income, corporate profits were 6.6% in 2018. That’s down from 7.6% in 2012 and significantly below the peak of 8.9% in 1929.

Bernie Sanders:

  • Claim: “We are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee healthcare for all.” 
  • Fact: This claim is verified, but only in certain parameters. The chart shows that the U.S. is the only nation in the “very high human development” category to lack universal healthcare.
  • Claim: “Most people don’t know this, tonight in America 200,000 people are in jail without having been convicted of anything. Because they can’t afford the 500 bucks for bail they need to get out of jail.”
  • Fact: This statistic isn’t officially tracked; however, non-profit organizations give much higher estimates than even Sanders stated.
  • There are no official government statistics on the number of people nationwide held on bail who don’t post bail. 
  • Claim: “I have a D-minus rating from the NRA … Back in 1988, coming from a state that had no gun control, I called for the ban of the sale and distribution of assault weapons. I lost that election,” 
  • Fact: While it’s true the NRA endorsed Sanders’ opponent in 1988 as a campaign for a seat in Vermont’s House, it’s hard to measure how much that hurt him overall. Moreover, the Vermont senator has a mixed record on guns. 
  • The NRA supported Sanders in 1990, with Wayne LaPierre — a longtime NRA figure and its current CEO — describing the democratic socialist as “a more honorable choice for Vermont sportsmen” than the GOP incumbent Peter Smith. 

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