October 19th, 2011
04:17 AM ET

Truth Squad: Fact checking the GOP debate

CNN's Truth Squad fact-checked some of the claims made at Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas.

We'll take a look at some of the questions posed to the candidates, then share with you how they answered the question. The topics include whether Herman Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan include a value-added tax, did Mitt Romney hire illegal immigrants a year after a newspaper report, Michele Bachmann's claims that the Obama administration try to repeal part of its own health care plan and whether Rick Perry's energy plan can create over a million jobs.

Was Romney's Massachusetts health plan a "budget-busting" model for a national plan? 

In one of the most contentious exchanges among the candidates at Tuesday night's GOP presidential debate in Las Vegas, former Senator Rick Santorum lashed out at former Governor Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health care reform program as a budget-busting model for the Obama administration's health care plan. Romney insisted he never suggested it should be a model for the rest of the country, and maintained it remains popular in his home state.

The statements: "I was asked, 'Is this something that you would have the whole nation do?' And I said no this is something that was crafted for Massachusetts. It would be wrong to adopt this as a nation. " - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

"You've blown a hole in the budget up there, and you've authored in Obamacare which is going to blow a hole in the budget of this country. " - Former Senator Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania

"The people of Massachusetts like it by about a 3 to one margin. " - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

Truth Squad verdict: A mixed bag

Read why

Does 9-9-9 add up to a value-added tax?

Now that he's running in the top tier of national polls, Herman Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan came under immediate criticism from his rivals at a GOP presidential debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a onetime Internal Revenue Service lawyer, charged the plan's 9% federal sales tax would amount to a value-added tax similar to those assessed in European countries.

The statement: "Because at every level of production you have a profit, and that profit gets taxed," Bachmann said. "Because you produce one portion at one level, and then you take it to the next supplier or vendor at the next level, and you have an exchange. That is a taxable event. And ultimately, that becomes a value-added tax. It's a hidden tax."

Truth Squad verdict: Incomplete

Read why

Perry's Texas two-step on TARP

There may be no more foul four-letter word in the Republican presidential race than TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program passed in 2008 to bail out the tottering U.S. financial system. And former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who runs far at the back of the GOP pack in most polls, dropped it on the front-runners in Tuesday night's CNN debate in Las Vegas.

The statement: "The problem is, in the first place, is that several people up here - the, quote, businesspeople - supported the TARP, supported the bailout," Santorum said. He included former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry among its supporters, prompting Perry to interject, "Wrong."

Truth Squad verdict: True, but incomplete

Read why

Was Romney employing illegal immigrants a year after report?

In one of several heated exchanges during Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, Texas Gov. Rick Perry revisited a claim that was made against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during the 2008 presidential race: that Romney had hired illegal immigrants to work at his home.

The allegation starts with a 2006 Boston Globe report that illegal immigrants were part of a crew that would landscape the then-Massachusetts governor's lawn. On Tuesday, Perry alleged that a year later, those illegal immigrants still were working on Romney's property. Perry said this made Romney unfit to claim that he is strong opponent of illegal immigration.

The statement: "People who hire illegals ought to be penalized. And Mitt, you lose all of your standing from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home, and you knew about it for a year. ... The newspaper came to you and brought it to your attention, and you still, a year later, had those individuals working for you." - Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Truth Squad verdict: Misleading

Read why

Did the Obama administration try to repeal part of own health care plan?

At Tuesday night's GOP presidential debate in Las Vegas, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann suggested that opposition to President Obama's health reform law prompted the administration to repeal part of it.

The statement: "Obama-care is so flat-out unpopular that even the Obama administration chose to reject part of Obamacare last Friday when they tried to throw out the CLASS Act, which is the long-term care function. The Secretary Sebelius, who is the head of Health and Human services, reported that the government can't even afford that part and has to throw it out. And now the administration is arguing with itself. When even the Obama administration wants to repeal this bill, I think we're going to win this thing. We're going to repeal it. And I will. "Obamacare is so unpopular even the Obama administration wants to repeal part of it..." - Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota)

Truth Squad verdict: Misleading

Read why

Can Perry's energy plan create 1.2 million jobs?

Gov. Rick Perry touted part of his plan to boost the economy at Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, saying his energy strategy would create 1.2 million jobs. Last week, Perry said his plan would focus on tapping unexplored domestic sources for oil and gas. To do this, he said, regulations on oil and gas producers would need to be changed. Fewer rules would free up drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, and expand clean-coal technology resources, he said.

The statement: "1.2 million jobs could be put to work." - Texas Gov. Rick Perry, referring to his energy plan.

Truth Squad verdict: True, but incomplete

Read why


Filed under: Politics • Republican Party
soundoff (456 Responses)
  1. lgrif

    Perry's was talking about other people who hire illeagls, has anyone ever driven by a road construction or a lawn service crew, in Texas? Perry should stop hiring illeagls to fix HIS pot holes and mow HIS grass before he starts pointing fingers at everyone else.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David

    Can someone on the left PLEASE answer this question. I have asked for YEARS and no one will.

    Name ONE THING that government does better and more efficient than the private sector other than the military (which isn't even efficient monetarily speaking)?
    Please, tell me why you think more government regulation, more government control, more government period is the answer to everything?

    That is what the left has proposed as the answer to everything since the days of LBJ. You could go back as far as FDR except for JFK who was to the right on most economic issues and believed in the free market.

    The bottom line is the free market has created the greatest economy the world has ever seen. It has raised the standard of living for millions world wide. The issue is crony capitalism which has taken effect because of massive government influence and corruption through the years.

    The left seems scared of a corporation that is too big when the fact is history shows us a government that is too big and controlling is 1000 times more dangerous.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      I don't think most of us on the left want "more government". What we want is better regulation over industries that only care about profits and not about clean air, clean water and other negative results of production. We want someone to make sure the food we eat and the medicines we take are safe. And, if they proved not to be safe, then we want someone to be held accountable and production and distribution to stop.

      We don't think that "government" in and of itself is the best or the only answer. But, which non-governmental agencies are better qualified to protect consumers from producers that cut corners and intentionally or unintentionally put the public in danger?

      October 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Product and service safety. Over the years business has proved time and time again they care not for safety of their products, just care about selling them.

      October 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reasonably

      We're not scared of corporations – we're scared of their ability to now donate and also to give money to lobbyists to who influence government to their own narrow-minded interests. Free markets and free government should go hand in hand. I mean seriously, we provide government subsidies for oil companies?! Lobbyists...

      October 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • rstlne

      The government, when allowed by law, protects citizens/consumers from corporate greed and our environment from corporate pollution. Do not even attempt to claim that corporations have never sold unsafe products or polluted our environment, because we all know better. Without government regulation, medications we take would routinely poison us, clothing we wear and bedding that we use would routinely catch fire, food we consume would make us ill, and pesticides would have destroyed our water and wildlife. Human greed will always win out over human conscience – that is a proven fact; therefore we must control human greed as much as possible.

      October 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mac

      Unchecked "Free Markets" create plutocrats and serfs, with naught in between.

      The middle class has to be a willful construct of regulation and protection to assure FAIR markets.

      If you want proof, look at what's happened to the middle class since Raygun outlawed the air traffic controllers' union.

      Now it's YOUR TURN to tell us why anyone who isn't one of the top 1% should support the insanity you champion?

      October 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • captain blows hard

      governments aren't designed to do things more efficiently than the private sectors.In the case of gov't regs. Those are designed to keep our food safe, our medicine safe, from turning our air, land, and rivers into open sewers all in the name of a few jobs. The problem now is that the gov't has turned into a "foe" private sector, because the private sector has in general sold out the middle class in the name of huge profits

      October 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • scot

      Since I do not like what the current republican congress and presidental contenders are saying and doing I must be one of those liberals that they are painting everyone like me as even though we voted for RR ! Iam in full agreement that "we" do not like big government but want safeguards from large corporations that take advantage of us through theri high paid lobbiests. We want clean air, clean water, safe streets, good and productive schools, safe food products and a government that does not mislead or lie to get their own way. That is not what we have today and from the past history corporations do not do a very good job of policeing themselves. That is not what I am hearing from these folks up on the stage or from the folks that are running congress today !

      October 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      So, David, after reading all of these replies, I suspect that while you have been "asking for years", you simply haven't taken the time to listen for the answers.

      But, quid pro quo, here's a little question you can answer for us liberals......how's that 9-9-9 tax looking to you? I'm sure you're looking forward to a nice little bump-up on your sales taxes, right?

      October 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • conoclast

      Your "question" is highly loaded and irrelevant. If you want honest answers then ask honest questions; don't cynically use them as spin vehicles and insult our intelligence! The country has turned the page; why haven't you?

      October 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      And look what happened when Clinton (D) deregulated the checks to corporate greed that resulted in the 2008 mortgage meltdowns and the resulting depression that most of the country is still suffering from. Stop judging and pointing fingers. That's why so many people hate what the GOP has become, it's very sad.

      October 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      Things the government does better than the private sector: police force, fire fighters, transportation (roads, bridges), public education, etc.

      October 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moderate

      It's not a matter of bigger government, it's a matter of the government handling services and areas efficiently (efficiently in the sense that what they set out to do is accomplished in the best manner possible) that traditionally the private sector will not care about. As well as protecting and assisting citizens that need it (low income, affected by natural disaster).

      These areas include the environment, public services and protection, health care, food and drug regulations, and financial regulations. True the private sector is more efficient in terms of saving money and turning profit, but that is because they are not concerned with things like the environment and employee well being. Given the option they would not follow regulations and pay a decent wage.

      In fact, history proves that the free market is not good enough for a prosperous government. The great depression and great recession were caused by lack of regulations. With out unions and government intervention, there would be no middle class or safe working environments. Health care as a private industry has led to enormous costs for the individual and the government. Drinking water and air would be poisoned with out government regulations. And eduction would not exist for low and some middle class families, because private schools are not designed to take in large numbers of people that can not pay full tuition.

      Do we need bigger government? No. But we do need a smarter government and we do need intervention in our every day lives.

      October 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Get Real

      Apart from EPA, the government is also best at taking on the big expensive tasks that benefit everyone such as research and development for cures for terminal diseases, infrastructure, smart grid, broadband, satellite communications. Many of these technologies were offshoots of NASA or Military projects that have been taken over or subcontracted to private companies.
      This removes major entry level obstacles to huge markets for our industries to compete within. When considering that other socialist and communist governments are doing this, we would be shooting ourselves in both feet by not providing the same incentives.

      October 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Tom – don't feed the animals. This guy has been asking for 'years'. Really? If you can't figure out what govt does, then you're a fool. I think more likely is that you are just another cranky wingnut looking for an argument. By all means, opt out of govt. It's as easy as moving to the third world. They have no govt there. Somalia won't tax you. Might I suggest you bunk up there. Best of luck to you.

      October 19, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. majie

    All of these candidates are a bunch of idiots. ALL of them. I would NEVER cast a single vote for any of these selfish and racist retards.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steveo

      So you know what is in the hearts of those you vote for? Prove to me that you have never voted for a racist (closested or otherwise)! So easy to throw around labels ain't it?

      October 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarineVet

      majie, you got THAT right! Vote accordingly.

      October 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Get Real

      SteveO – If you listen with an open mind to what others say, whatever is inside will usually come out, unless they are intentionally concealing something. But, with politicians who speak in code, one needs to translate. For example 'drill, baby drill" really means dumping EPA regulations and destroying national reserves.

      October 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ed Peters

    So, the Republican candidates, are for the most part, misleading and incomplete! That's the way I sum it up also.. They are a half step above FOX News..

    October 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Charuz

    It would have been much better had the moderators of this event had a fact checker on the spot and call out incorrect comments as they surfaced throughout the debate(s). And, why have us go through multiple stages to find out if a statement is correct or not–it would have been just as easy to follow with explanations throughout the article itself.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. annieq

    Wow, it's painful to watch Perry. The guy can hardly articulate a sentence, stutters and fumbles around and appears to have a either an intellect deficit or absence seizures. There is no way he can go up against Obama. If he somehow wins the GOP nomination we are doomed.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steveo

      Fully agree!

      October 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Reasonably

    Drill baby, drill. Only...not off the coast of Florida – might upset the voters there.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mac

      FORGET Drill Baby Drill - End the 72% subsidies on a gallon of gas on a 5 year timeline while simultaneously rewarding investments and expansion of successor tech.

      Faster, cheaper, creates more jobs, gives us something to sell, increases our National Security.

      Google "Green Crude" for something that matters.

      October 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Marshall

    They act like Ron Paul doesn't even exist.Ron Paul is the only consistent,honest one of the bunch.I am voting for Ron Paul or not at all.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarineVet

      Who is this "Ron Paul" guy we keep hearing about?

      October 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. George

    How about we fact check Anderson Cooper's statement that 47% of people don't pay tax. I'll help. Pants on fire false.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Actually that is true, but not for the reason you're probably thinking. The fact is that 47% of working americans do not pay taxes at the end of the year, about 40-50% of those people do not pay because they make so little income that the amount of taxes they would pay are completely negated and surpassed by the most basic credits and deductions that everyone is given. There are statistics for the remainder of those that do not pay anything at tax time but I forget the numbers and reasons.

      October 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      Actually – most everyone pays taxes. Everyone who works pays payroll taxes, everyone who buys things pays sales taxes, everyone who owns property pays property taxes, people who live in states with income taxes pay income taxes, everyone who drives pays fuel taxes.

      The point is that everyone pays taxes. The republican talking point is too pick a subset of taxes out there and say "47% of people don't pay taxes" when they really mean 47% of people don't pay these kind of taxes.

      It is irresponsible for Anderson Cooper to take up their talking point as fact.

      October 19, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jj

    Obama 2012!

    October 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. s kel

    Good Steveo im glad , Just want the truth thats all...

    October 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steveo

      As do I s kel! Unfortunately for the most part we all settle for what we are told, rather than research for ourselves!

      October 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. R.C.

    Obama does well in speeches, but not in debates. Watch his 2008 debates with Hillary. I think Romney would pummel Obama in debates. Perry looks more and more like GWB with each debate.

    October 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarineVet

      If President Obama did so bad in debates, I guess you can't explain how he won the election, can you? Oh wait, it must've been a socialist plot.

      October 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. scot

    Do any of you either republican or democrat really believe that any of these guys should be president ? The answer is not they are all better than the current president because that is a copout. Just answer the question Y or N !

    October 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • LayneP


      October 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steveo

      Yes! These are who we get to choose from! Good bad, or ugly! Interesting question and one that could have been easily asked in 2008! I thought is was going to be Hiliary myself! I guess my point is this: Who is ever qualified to be President?

      October 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarineVet

      No. Not a single one of these clowns has a clue. Pathetic, actually.

      October 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steveo

      @marine Vet,
      If you look at President Obama's level of experience when he ran, and look at the same level of a Romney, I'm saying you are wrong, but your opinion holds as much water as mine!
      If your handle is what you actually are, from one vet to another, thank you!

      October 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Get Real

      Not in this lifetime.

      October 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. LayneP

    There are at lease one or two candidates I would unequivocally vote for.

    October 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Yoyo

    Well I better go out and check all the sub contractors and their sub sub contractors and their sub sub sub laborers who look after my apartment building to make sure they are not hiring illegals, or I could be held liable...

    October 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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