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. Portland Tony

    There is no requirement that there be truth at these debates!

    October 19, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • MarineDad05

      True, and nor is there a requirement that we should always tell the truth.

      It is just an expectation, maybe from the wrong people (politicians), nevertheless, expectations.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • B

      CNN, these articles about how factual the debaters are being are great. Yes there is subjectivity to them but they are a useful tool. I think you should have running totals of each debaters comments and how they fall into the various categories. This could be done after each debate separately and then combined as the debates continue. Somewhat similar to sports statistics' game and season totals. The public could see how factual each debater is being in general. Who are speaking the truth and who are being misleading. When the public can break down the debaters this way it may push the debaters into being more factual rather than just saying whatever they want as long as it sounds good regardless of how factual it is.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    When I was young, Democrats and Republicans were not as drastically different as they are now.
    My father was a (big) Democrat, and I became a Republican. Nevertheless, when we discussed politics, we always found a lot of common ground.
    I think that this polarization is partially because our failing educational system produces many graduates incapable of complex reasoning.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Bucky

      I agree the education system has something to do with it. In reality the polices between Dems and Reps isn't that much different once they get in office. All this banter going on now is nothing but BS. Cain won't be able to just rewrite the tax policies across the board, wishful thinking. When the Reps had the power they did nothing about immigration, they just talk about it. Obama has been tougher on it than Bush was. It is all saying what they think will get them votes and once they get in they are all he same.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Retired Military in San Antonio

      Joey......I don't know if it's the education system at fault......or JUST PLAIN LAZINESS on the part of the general population, but you ARE correct! There is a definate lack of complex reasoning among voters today.....the simplest 'explaination' always seem to rule over the more accurate but more complex solution.

      One of the reasons that Cain's 9-9-9 Plan has given him the momentum that he has. People like that 'fact' that it's simple.....Cain even trumpets that 'fact'.....but few people take the time to understand how the plan truely impacts them.....or the impact the resulting drop in revenues will affect our national debt.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Richard

    Invited are the front running candidates; slanted, unfortunately, are the opportunities for fair and unbiased mediation. Ron Paul is the only candidate who is not so deeply entrenched in double speak and slide of hand. Have the candidates make one five minute speech, followed up by an impartial panel review who's goal it is to review the facts and details of the statements claimed and release the results for mass consumption.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      well, first of all it is "sleight" not slide of hand. Secondly, you are right that Ron Paul isn't trying to hide his agenda saying what he thinks people want to hear just to get elected. Unfortunately, what he is calling for would turn our country into a third world crap hole. We'd be looking up at countries like Mexico. We didn't get to be the greatest country on earth by protecting the incomes of the rich by only taxing enough to find a bare bones military. We got here because we put our national capitol to work educating and building this country. Think it isn't true? Take a look at those countries that are making huge gains to catch up to us (China, Brazil, India) and what they are investing in...education, research and technology, and infrastructure.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. Walt

    Is Ron Paul ignored by debate organizers and in media coverage, despite strong poll numbers?

    Truth Squad verdict: True.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      What poll numbers is he strong? In all polls I see him topping out at 2%

      October 19, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Walt

      Todd in DC "What poll numbers is he strong? In all polls I see him topping out at 2%"

      Are you being serious, or are you messing with me?

      I'm not going to rank which polls are better, but I would say these are 4 of the biggest and most well-known:

      #3 – 13%

      #3 – 9%

      USA Today/Gallup
      #4 – 8%

      Pew Research
      #4 – 12%

      October 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Edward

    We deserve better out of ALL elected officials! Truth, professionalism, accountability, goals, course of action, and, expected outcomes, results, for a start. Getting old are: egos , bickering, personal attacks, lying about facts, etc. They better get this right , as too many people are angry and need changes now! Ask you neighbor how do you change America, & they will tell you.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    More name-calling from different sides.
    Not enough thinking.
    Under the last Bush, I did very well. ONE reason was that I see balloons for what they are.
    Growing up, our children got balloons when they wanted them. When they popped or went down, I quickly said, "see?"

    October 19, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. dkcoke

    . @Wildone, i wish there was a like button also..cuz u are on point. i know the Dems were laughing their butts off while watching that debate it was comical. It was like watching SNL.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Thor

    Ever read "What is a lie?"?

    October 19, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. TruthPaul

    Holy moly... romney perry romney perry... what about the others? CNN you have a link that asks "who won the debate?" but then the first sentence of that article is "who won the arugment between romney and perry?". This is NOT only about romney and perry and that is why you are not posting a poll and letting the public decide. We know you want to choose the candidate for us. It won't happen.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. marty

    Cain is a total moron. This is a guy who will cause total divisiveness in the country. He will blame the victims of this crappy economy and I don't see where his policies will bring about change. It's amazing to see a black man whose people are suffering from the worst unemployment in history be so insensitive. If this were the 60's, he would be out there protesting against Martin Luther King. He's a disgrace to his race. As bad as Obama is, he's still a lot better than any of these clowns.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. PaulC

    You could characterize the whole Repug crowd as "misleading and incomplete". They are the masters of half truths and outright lies. The sad part is that a part of the country believe them without trying to determine if true or not.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Better the half truths of the Republicans than the total lies of the demotards. The dems are nothing more than bunch of kool-aid drinking, mind numb, lemmings, better half truths to no truths.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      Nice rant, Michael. How about some examples? And try to get them from somewhere other than Fox.

      Obama: pulled us from the brink of a second depression, helped end DADT, LOWERED taxes (yes, lowered). I'm not thrilled with his presidency, but I'm very curious as to know where he lied. And if you are against liars, then I bet you must hate "W", who lied about WMDs and created a war over it. Or are you just another hypocrite?

      October 19, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. marty

    I don't understand why the audience is stacked with pro Republican, pro economy, pro racism idiots who hoot and hollar every time one of their boys says the usual stupid stuff. There should either be no audience or an audience packed with opposing views. It would change the entire character of the debates. Could you image, Perry, Bachmann, Romney, or any of them trying to get their point across while everyone is booing them?

    October 19, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      It was a repulican debate. Why would someone more independently minded go to such? No one in that audience will (probably) vote for Obama. They want to see who the next president could be.

      October 19, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. ~I am not David~


    October 19, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. Michael

    You'll notice they never apply the 'truth squad' to any of obama's speeches, other than his name they'd have to say he lied about everything.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Skyler

      I am disappointed to hear an adult talk with such complete lack of faith in our political system. Its disheartening as a young adult hear someone so completely close minded. I do not believe that our President has lied "about everything," however, I recognize that politicians do not always have it in their best interests to be completely honest. I believe Obama has been mostly truthful, and I am much happier knowing that he is in the White House instead of Bush who was married with oil...perhaps we will now see some non-oil orders from the president. Its just a thought though. Be more open minded.

      October 20, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    It is important to remember how intensely each candidate wants to be the President of the United States of America.
    I'd like to be that.
    Think a minute, and be honest: wouldn't you?
    If they've gone far enough to be in the running, they'll say anything to get the job.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15