Rodeo Round-up, Washington Style

Published: October 26, 2011

By Jim Lichtman
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That’s right, boys and girls it’s time once again for anotherPolitifact Rodeo Round-up. Who’s shootin’ straight and who’s fibbin’ from the lip.

First out of the chute is the round-up’s most sensational newcomer, Herman “Yes, we” Cain. Of  21 statements checked, Politifact rated 14% as Mostly True, 19% Half True, 14% Mostly False, 43% False and 10% Pants-on-Fire.

According to the latest Gallup poll, Cain received a 78% recognition level by Republicans nationwide, “the largest gain in recognition for any GOP presidential candidate this year.” However, Cain’s signature 9-9-9 plan is running into more than a little trouble with the fact check group.

In a recent debate, Cain said that 9-9-9 “does not raise taxes on those that are making the least.” The GOP frontrunner flatly stated, “The thing that I would encourage people to do before they engage in this knee-jerk reaction is read our analysis. It is available at,” Cain said. “It was performed by Fiscal Associates. And all of the claims that are made against it, it is a jobs plan, it is revenue-neutral, it does not raise taxes on those that are making the least. All of those are simply not true.”

Politifact found:  “The day of the debate, a new analysis was published examining Cain’s tax plan… The Tax Policy Center analyzed Cain’s plan using the same type of models it has used to examine other national tax proposals.

“The analysis found that Cain’s tax plan would result in tax cuts for many of the wealthiest tax payers and tax increases for the poorest tax payers.

“The center found that 83.8 percent of tax filers would get a tax increase under Cain’s plan, compared with current tax policy.

“On the other hand, most of the tax filers who make more than $1 million would get a tax cut under the Cain plan, about 95.4 percent of this high income group. And the average tax cut for millionaires would be $487,300.”

Memo to Cain: You better go back and check your math, Herman.

Next out of the chute, (currently second in the GOP poll to Cain) former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

To date, Politifact has checked 80 statements by Romney, considered by many to be the GOP’s final pick to run against President Obama. 24% were rated True; 18% Mostly True; 22% Half True; 14% Mostly False; 14% False and 9% were rated Pants-on-Fire.

Respectable, but could certainly use some improvement. As the primaries get closer, look for Romney to more carefully vet his statements.

What would the round-up be without the ol’ reliables like rootin’ tootin’ Newt Gingrich. Of 20 statements checked,Politifact found that 52% were either Mostly False, False or Pants-on-Fire.

My favorite: Gingrich said, “We spend less on defense today as a percentage of GDP than at any time since Pearl Harbor.”

Politifact found: “Benjamin Friedman, a defense research fellow at the Cato Institute… said politicians and other policy wonks sometimes use the percentage of gross domestic product, which refers to the value of all goods and services produced in the country, spent on defense as a talking point to support spending billions more on military gear. But he said the statement is so ‘indefensibly false’ they typically will not engage in a discussion about the concept.”

“Beyond the point of him being factually incorrect, it’s an irrelevant measure,” said Gordon Adams, a former senior White House national security budget official for President Clinton. “The GDP is a completely red herring argument. It doesn’t tell you how much you’re spending in real dollars or what you’re getting.”

Here’s another favorite at the rodeo, the ubiquitous “chain e-mail.” You know, that little message that’s passed-along with the rest of the “spam” covering everything from .09% mortgage rates to discounts on that little blue pill. Of 100 chain e-mails fact-checked, Politifact rated 51% Pants-on-Fire False. A full 85 % were found to be Mostly False, False or Pants-on-Fire.

My favorite: Chain e-mail, “Next year, ‘you will be mandated by federal law to get rid of your existing light bulbs.’ ”

Politifact found: Pants-on-Fire. The pass-around letter states – “A silly little light bulb is merely a small piece of the larger puzzle of global socialism that he feels is his agenda to enslave the American people — and to choke Americans from a free enterprise system!”

“Sec. 321 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007,” writes Politifact, “spells out the new standards for light bulbs, essentially requiring them to be 25 percent more efficient. The idea is that, over time, more efficient light bulbs will replace older, less efficient ones. But there is nothing in the bill that requires you to get rid of the light bulbs you’ve got. Rather, the bill sets standards for new light bulbs ‘manufactured or imported’ to the United States.”
In other words, Politifact says, the “light bulb police” will notcome knocking on your door looking to seize your bulbs.

Once again, Politifact reminds us to CHECK THE FACTS before making up our minds on any issue or individual.

Friday, I take a look at President Obama’s Politifact numbers.


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