Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Politics

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 PolitiFact.com and PunditFact.com

Comments
Special counsel files new charge in Russia probe

Special counsel files new charge in Russia probe

WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election charged an attorney Tuesday with lying to federal investigators about his interactions with a former Trump campaign official. A charging document filed in federa...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Man featured on ‘Trump Dating’ site has child sex conviction

Man featured on ‘Trump Dating’ site has child sex conviction

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina man with a felony conviction for indecent liberties with a child was one-half of the poster couple for a new "Trump Dating" website.News outlets reported Monday that visitors to the dating site geared toward suppor...
Updated: 7 hours ago
St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

The 2017 St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race was celebrated as more than a competitive regatta to Cuba’s capital city of Havana.The relaunch of the maritime competition cancelled since 1959 was hailed as a reflection of the detente started under Preside...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Associated PressST. PETERSBURG, Russia — While Russian officials scoff at a U.S. indictment charging 13 Russians with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, several people who worked at the same St. Petersburg, Russia, "troll factory" say t...
Published: 02/19/18
Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Associated PressWEST PALM BEACH — From the confines of his Mar-a-Lago golf club, President Donald Trump offered support Monday for a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases while staying largely mum in the past few days ab...
Published: 02/19/18
For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a ‘reprieve’ from scandals

For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a ‘reprieve’ from scandals

The White House was under siege.Domestic abuse allegations against a senior aide were ignored, pointing to a potential high-level coverup. Two Cabinet secretaries were caught chargin taxpayers for luxury travel. A Playboy centerfold alleged an extram...
Published: 02/19/18
President Trump expresses support for senators’ gun bill

President Trump expresses support for senators’ gun bill

President Donald Trump signaled support for one piece of gun control legislation on Monday, five days after a mass shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead and scores injured."The president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal...
Published: 02/19/18
Do Trump’s alleged affairs even matter?

Do Trump’s alleged affairs even matter?

One of the quotes from the 2016 presidential campaign that has stuck with me came from an unidentified Donald Trump supporter who shared his appraisal of the "Access Hollywood" tape on an episode of Showtime’s "The Circus."Having heard Trump boast on...
Published: 02/18/18
Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

PARKLAND, Fla. — Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger Sunday at President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive. "You're the president. You're supposed t...
Published: 02/18/18
Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

MUNICH — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Saturday there was "incontrovertible" evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election, a blunt statement that shows how significantly the new criminal charges leveled by an...
Published: 02/17/18