Fact Checking the GOP Debate | NBC Bay Area
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Reality Check

Vets the truthfulness of claims and measures the efficacy of public policy

Fact Checking the GOP Debate



    (Published Friday, Aug. 7, 2015)

    Republican presidential candidates faced off in a Fox News debate Thursday night.

    The event set a ratings record and launched a number of claims as each of the 10 candidates selected for the primetime festivities fought to stand out in the crowd and appeal to the American people.

    NBC Bay Area looked into a few of those messages to separate the facts from the fibs.

    Claim No. 1

    "If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I’ve given to, just so you understand, a lot of money." – Donald Trump

    Donald Trump has directly given money to only two of the nine candidates that shared the stage with him during Thursday's debate. According to research by the independent fact-checking site PolitiFact, which compiled 25 years of state and federal campaign finance contributions by the real-estate mogul, Trump made a $10,000 donation to Scott Walker in 2014, and gave $500 to Jeb Bush back in 2002.

    Melinda Jackson, a political scientist at San Jose State University, says Trump’s claims are likely intended to play up stereotypes about deal-making in Washington, D.C.

    "A lot of Americans do feel quite cynical about that and are resonating with that claim that politicians can be bought and sold," she said.

    Claim No. 2

    "To agree with the career politicians in both parties, who get in bed with the lobbyists and special interest — then I ain’t your guy!" – Ted Cruz

    Ted Cruz was outspoken during the debate regarding his campaign’s separation from special interest groups.

    However, Congressional contributions tracked by Open Secrets tell a different story. More than half a dozen of the senator’s "Top 20 Contributors" from 2011 to 2014 are financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, major law firms like Sullivan and Cromwell, and oil companies.

    Claim No. 3

    "How is she going to lecture me on student loans? I owed over $100,000 in student loans just 4 years ago." – Marco Rubio

    The Florida senator struck a chord when he told the audience that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton should not play up class differences when criticizing Republicans.

    And a look at Rubio’s 2011 financial disclosure form seems to shed some light on the truthfulness of his student loan claim. That year’s form lists a "liability" of between $100,000 and $250,000 described as a "student loan" owed to Sallie Mae. However, that liability does not appear on his form for 2012, meaning it’s likely Rubio paid his debt off that year.

    Claim No. 4

    "ISIS rides around in a billion dollar’s worth of U.S. humvees. It’s a disgrace. We’ve got to stop…we shouldn’t fund our enemies, for goodness sakes." – Rand Paul

    A number of news reports from earlier this summer state that ISIS actually stole the military vehicle — sold by the United States to Iraqi security forces — when the group invaded the city of Mosul in June 2014. This information is attributed to a televised interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

    It’s estimated that the 2,300 humvees stolen by ISIS are valued at about a billion dollars brand new.

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