Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PunditFact fact-checks the Sunday news shows

Iraq's descent into violence and chaos led the Sunday news shows, as pundits and political leaders debated what actions the United States should take next. In domestic news, the shows dissected the political stunner of the week: Republican majority leader Eric Cantor's loss to primary challenger David Brat.

One pundit had the unusual role of getting some credit for Cantor's ouster. Talk show host Laura Ingraham had repeatedly attacked Cantor, especially for his position on immigration, in the weeks leading up to the election. Appearing on ABC's This Week, Ingraham said voters knew "that if Eric Cantor went back to Washington, that was a green light for immigration reform."

As evidence for that, Ingraham said Cantor "was the co-author of the House GOP principles on immigration reform. Both the New York Times and Washington Post said that this captured the essence of what was in the Senate immigration bill." We decided to check the record on Cantor's role.

We soon found that the House GOP principles didn't have listed authors. But the House Republican leadership, which included Cantor, put the principles together and presented them in January, so Ingraham was right that Cantor had a role in their creation.

The document generated plenty of news coverage and editorials, partly for its poor reception among rank-and-file members who disagreed with House leaders. Speaker of the House John Boehner soon distanced himself from immigration legislation, saying he likely could not pass an immigration bill and blaming President Barack Obama for not being trustworthy in enforcing immigration laws.

We couldn't find evidence that the newspapers called the House principles "the essence" of the Senate bill, though. Instead, both news organizations portrayed the principles as an opening for more negotiations between the House and the Senate. (The New York Times characterized it as "more of an attempt to test the waters than a blueprint for action.")

So while Ingraham has a point in that Cantor had a role in creating the document, the two major newspapers didn't describe it as equivalent to the Senate legislation. We rated Ingraham's statement Half True.

Divisions within the Republican Party, on immigration and other issues, raised questions about how it will handle the race for the presidency in 2016.

Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer asked Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus about how the party will be able to field a successful candidate. Priebus said Republicans had many candidates to choose from and that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate. Priebus derided the rollout of her new book, Hard Choices, and claimed her poll numbers are sinking.

Specifically, Priebus said her approval ratings went from 70 to 52 in 18 months; we checked his numbers. We found that her poll numbers have dropped, but not by as much as Priebus claimed. He used a poll that was an outlier; a synthesis of the major polls showed her approval ratings declined from 58.2 percent to 52.6 percent.

Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll, analyzed polls that have asked Clinton-specific questions at multiple times and found an average decline in those polls of about 8 points in the last 12-20 months.

Considering a broader array of polling led us to rate Priebus' statement Half True.

We should also note that when voters are asked who they would pick if the election were held today, Clinton wins out against the major Republican candidates, including Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Rand Paul.

Staff writers Steve Contorno and Katie Sanders contributed to this report. Read more at and

The statement

Eric Cantor "was the co-author of the House GOP principles on immigration reform. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post said that that captured the essence of what was in the Senate immigration bill."

Laura Ingraham, on ABC's This Week

The ruling

PolitiFact ruling: Half True
The House GOP principles didn't have listed authors, but the House Republican leadership, which included Cantor, put the principles together. The newspapers presented the principles as a starting point for negotiations with the Senate, not the equivalent of what the Senate passed. We rate the claim Half True.

The statement

Hillary Clinton's approval rating went from 70 percent to 52 percent in 18 months.

Reince Priebus, on CBS' Face the Nation

The ruling

PolitiFact ruling: Half True
Priebus looked at one poll that was an outlier, particularly in showing Clinton's approval as high as 70 percent. Other polls found her approval rating started in the high 50s and dropped by about 8 points over the time period in question. We rate the claim Half True.

PunditFact fact-checks the Sunday news shows 06/15/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 16, 2014 2:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tim Tebow heads back to Sunshine State with promotion to St. Lucie


    Tim Tebow is coming back to the Sunshine State.

    Columbia Fireflies outfielder Tim Tebow looks out from the dugout before the team's game against the Augusta GreenJackets on April 6 in Columbia, S.C. Columbia defeated Augusta 14-7.
  2. 'Sharknado' coming to Tampa Theatre with director Q&A


    A movie about a tornado filled with man-eating sharks has to be better on the big screen, right? You'll have a chance to find out for yourself when the Syfy network's original Sharknado screens at Tampa Theatre.

    The original 'Sharknado,' which premiered in 2013, will screen at Tampa Theatre.
  3. Coast Guard airlifts man from fishing boat in Gulf of Mexico

    Public Safety

    A 27-year-old man was evacuated from a fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter Saturday night, authorities said.

  4. Trump: Not 'that far off' from passing health overhaul


    WASHINGTON — Making a final push, President Donald Trump said he doesn't think congressional Republicans are "that far off" on a health overhaul to replace "the dead carcass of Obamacare." Expressing frustration, he complained about "the level of hostility" in government and wondered why both parties can't work …

    President Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing event for the "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017" in the East Room of the White House, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) DCEV208
  5. Erin Andrews, ex-NHL player Jarret Stoll marry in Montana


    NEW YORK — Sportscaster Erin Andrews and former NHL player Jarret Stoll have tied the knot.

    FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2016 file photo, Fox Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews, left, speaks with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones after an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Atlanta. Jennifer Allen, a publicist for Andrews, confirms Sunday, June 25, 2017, that the 38-year-old Fox Sports sideline reporter and ???‚??“Dancing with the Stars???‚?? co-host married the 35-year-old Stoll over the weekend.  (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) NYSP103