January 17th, 2012
06:45 AM ET

Truth Squad: 3 checks on Monday's GOP debate

CNN examines three statements by Republican presidential candidates during Monday night's Fox News-Wall Street Journal debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Romney on releasing his tax returns

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said he probably would release a tax return in April - though he declined to commit - asserting that recent GOP nominees waited until tax season in election years.

Romney's statement about his tax return came after Texas Gov. Rick Perry pushed him to release his tax information, saying his was already out.

"Mitt, we need for you to release your income tax so the people of this country can see how you made your money, and I think that's a fair thing," Perry said.

"Listen ... as Republicans, we cannot fire our nominee in September. We need to know now. So I hope you'll put your tax records out there this week so the people of South Carolina can take a look and decide if we've got a flawed candidate or not."

The statement: "You know, I looked at what has been done in campaigns in the past with Sen. McCain and President George W. Bush and others. They have tended to release tax records in April or tax season. I hadn't planned on releasing tax records because the law requires us to release all of our assets, all the things we own. That I have already released. It's a pretty full disclosure. But, you know, if that's been the tradition and I'm not opposed to doing that, time will tell. ... I sort of feel like we are showing a lot of exposure at this point. And if I become our nominee, and what's happened in history is people have released them in about April of the coming year, and that's probably what I would do." - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

The facts: A presidential candidate is not required by election law to disclose tax returns, though most voluntarily do. During the 2008 GOP presidential battle, Romney did not release a tax return. Of the candidates who do release them, a few do so relatively early in the year. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who, like Perry, has been pushing Romney to release his returns, has said he would release his own on Thursday, two days before the South Carolina primary. In 2008, Sen. John McCain released his tax information in mid-April, by which time he had virtually wrapped up the GOP nomination. Sen. Barack Obama released his 2000-2006 tax returns in late March; his main rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, released hers in mid-April. Sen. John Kerry, who won the Democratic nomination in 2004 also released his in mid-April. By this time, President George W. Bush was releasing his information yearly, as presidents generally do. In mid-April 2000, Bush's campaign released figures for his earnings and the amount he paid in taxes in 1999, but didn't have his tax return at the time, because the blind trust that was responsible for the return needed to file for an extension. In 1996, eventual GOP nominee Sen. Bob Dole released tax returns in January.

The verdict: True. McCain and George W. Bush released their tax information in April of the first year they became their party's nominee.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on whether Turkey should remain within the NATO alliance

The statement: "Obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by, what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then yes - not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong to be in NATO, but it's time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it." - Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He went on to put Turkey in the same league as neighboring Syria and Iran, warning that the United States needs to show Ankara "that we're going to have to be dealt with."

The facts: Turkey is not ruled by "Islamic terrorists." It is led by a party with Islamist roots, the Justice and Freedom Party, or AKP, which has ruled Turkey since 2002. Its leader, Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan, was once jailed for reading an Islamic poem in public in a country where the ruling establishment has long enforced a strict secularism. But Erdogan said the AKP was formed in an effort to create a new, centrist force in Turkish society.  The AKP's history and its appeal to religious supporters have unnerved many voters, but Turkey's economy prospered under its rule. Erdogan won a third term in June and appeared to come out on top of a confrontation with the country's powerful military, which staged coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980. Ankara has maintained good relations with both its NATO allies and Iran, now the subject of intense international pressure to halt its nuclear fuel program. It refused to assist the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, its southern neighbor, in 2003. But Turkish commanders have led NATO's peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan four times since that war began in 2001. In November, Erdogan has called on embattled Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, Iran's leading ally, to step down in the face of a 10-month-old revolt. He warned that al-Assad risked the same fate as slain Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi if he continued trying to crush his opposition.

The verdict: False. Perry is taking a broad swing at an ally he says is "moving far away" from an alliance with the United States and with Israel, which has seen ties with Ankara strained over a 2010 raid on a Turkish aid ship that attempted to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza. But the facts aren't in his corner.

Newt Gingrich on his previous statements concerning the food stamp program

The statement: "The fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history. Now, I know among the politically correct, you're not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable."  - Gingrich, responding to a questions about whether his invocation of the federal food-aid program was intended "to belittle the poor and racial minorities."

The facts:  The number of people receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as the food stamp program is now known, skyrocketed when the U.S. economy nosedived in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, an average of 26.3 million people received food stamps every month, according to Agriculture Department figures. In 2011, that figure had climbed to 44.7 million, a nearly 70 percent increase. Unemployment roughly doubled during that period and has remained high. More than 42% of unemployed workers have been out of a job for six months or more, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to 33% during the recession of the early 1980s, when unemployment also topped 10%. With long-term unemployment lingering, the numbers of people receiving food stamps have climbed even though the 2007 recession officially ended in mid-2009. Upon taking office in January 2009, the Obama administration increased benefits and expanded eligibility for food stamps as part of its economic stimulus act. Agriculture Department officials estimated the moves would boost the economy by generating more spending as well as keeping people fed. The trend was up in the years before the recession, however, as reforms enacted in 1998 and 2002 allowed more children, the disabled and elderly and even some immigrants to receive food stamps. Between the 2001 and 2007 recessions, the number of people receiving food stamps grew by more than 8 million, according to the USDA. Gingrich, meanwhile has been criticized not only for singling out Obama as the "food stamp president" but for specifically linking the program to minorities. The NAACP and the National Urban League sharply criticized him for comments in early January that "the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps," accusing him of feeding stereotypes about the black poor. In fact, 22% of SNAP recipients are black, compared to 36% for whites, 10% for Latinos and 18% from unknown racial backgrounds.

The verdict: True, but incomplete. The number of people on food stamps is indeed up sharply under the Obama administration. But that's largely the result of the economic crisis that began before Obama took office, though the administration pushed Congress to allow more people onto the program during the crunch.

Five things we learned from Monday's debate

Huntsman drops out

Rivals push Romney

soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Does the food-stamp "truth" article say that it's Bush's fault?

    January 17, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Trevor

      Yes it does, and it is.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. TORI

    NO. But it was his decision to get our troops to fight in the Middle East. Some may say this was his choice,thus his fault.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      NOT TORI©.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Food-stamp statistics as stated above are misleading.
    To report that "in fact" 22% of SNAP recipients are black and 36% are white, does not consider, and does not report, the fact that about 72% of the population (in 2010) is white and only 12%-13% is black.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
    • JImG

      Careful, you're gonna get wrinkles in your sheet

      January 17, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kandi

    Those Washinton thugs got us into that unspeakable disgusting war. Just more world domination and controll. It's no wonder so many hate the United States. Such dishonorable intentions. Cheny sure lined up his pockets with Halburton profits. Now those right-wing thugs are back peddling because they bit off more than they can chew. Those Washington thugs have to go. It's as simple as that!

    January 17, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      NOT Kandi.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RuffNutt

    Good post kandi,thank you.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©


      January 17, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Gingrich had some good ideas.
    The requiring of retraining during a long period of unemployment, while awkward, has merit.
    Gingrich stated that the allowed period would render possible an associate degree.
    I don't need any more degrees to remain employed; I have "useless" degrees and certifications (no pay). However, at the age of seventy-three, and offered much more work than I can do, I am still considering going back to a local university to earn yet another degree in a field that interests me. It would not increase my income at all.
    Those resisting a "requirement" for further education to get unemployment should consider the possibility that this old man's drive to learn more may have a causal relationship to his receiving more job offers than he can accept. They certainly don't offer me jobs because I'm young and attractive.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Not TORI at 7:19.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    All the JIF posts above were written by me, and my last post was rejected, possible because a human censor considered it too conservative for CNN.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©


      January 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jimmer

    there was no lie.......he was all in favor in going after him, he just didn't want to do it behing the other countries back.
    your hate is strong....it blinds you.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. John

    And again two Republican LIE again. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich both LIE In last night debate. Just to make Them sound good to the People. The People who good to these debate should now some of the fact be for hand. This way they would now when someone Is LYING. AND LYING Is all Rick Perry does Is LIE, and Newt Gingrich LIE ,Cheat and steal you blind.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • tom


      January 18, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    My rejected post objected to the implication in the Truth Squad's "verdict" copy that Obama's choice in handling an economic situation was caused by Bush.
    Even the economic situation presented to Obama was caused by a change in the prevalent mentality concerning economic systems that began in the USA early in the twentieth century.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Do Not Disassemble

      **** MORON ALERT ****

      Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

      My rejected post objected to the implication in the Truth Squad's "verdict" copy that Obama's choice in handling an economic situation was caused by Bush.
      Even the economic situation presented to Obama was caused by a change in the prevalent mentality concerning economic systems that began in the USA early in the twentieth century.

      January 17, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Not banasy as troll hunter.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • M. Renfroe

      I think it is about time that Perry stop wasting our time and his donor's money. Give it to Romney and Gingrich, or donate it to Paul so he can fly first class more often!

      January 17, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. s

    PERRY what a stupid MORON, I hope all people in Texas aren't as stupd

    January 17, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |

      Texans are not all as "stupid" as Governor Perry. He did not win a majority in the last election for governor. He got in due to a split in the opposition's voting. We really don't want Perry as governor. I beleive this is his last term as governor. If the republicans win the white house this election, maybe POTUS will appoint him to an embassy like "JERKISTAN" or "DIPSTICKISTAN". (ANYWHERE but here, please)

      January 17, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sadie Boyd

    I don't consider myself presidential material...but, when someone like Perry, Bush or Palin come along...I think why not? Perry needs to go back to Texas...he may know more about Texas than the world, but we can't have anymore C students in the white house. Call me old fashion, but I like my leader to be smarter than me and Gomer Pyle.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @Sadie-Why not run, everyone else is. The jobs created in Texas were not viable live on your own jobs and did not have medical. They were jobs that are below standard of living. They said the people could get foods stamps, medicare, and aid that was worth more.

      January 17, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. kenny

    Of course the Bush presidency hurt our economics joey. He also shifted funds away from Social Security and into the war effort. Imagine the 10 billion dollars a month for that war. Maybe Bush had good intentions or maybe he was out on a personal crusade to destroy Sadam because he wanted to have his dad assissanated. Who knows. But either way this tangent does correlate with your point with Obama having to deal with Bush's budget in the red.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom E

      Sorry Kenny, The only administration reduced money to social security is the current one, with the payrol tax cut. You all need to stop the lies concerning Social Security.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
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