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Aaron Sharockman, PunditFact Editor

Aaron Sharockman

Aaron Sharockman is editor of PunditFact.com, a fact-checking project launched by the Tampa Bay Times in November 2013. Previously he served as deputy government and politics editor for the Times, and a writer and editor for PolitiFact.com. Sharockman has been following Florida government and politics for the Times since 2003 and has city governments in Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and the Tampa Bay Rays' pursuit of a new baseball stadium. He's a graduate of Indiana University.

Phone: (727) 892-2273

Email: asharockman@tampabay.com

Twitter: @ASharock

Blog: PunditFact

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  1. PolitiFact: Fact-checking claims about rising Obamacare premiums

    Politics

    New polls that show Ben Carson leading Donald Trump in Iowa have put Trump on the defensive in recent days, subtly questioning Carson's Seventh-day Adventist religion and Carson's energy to lead the country.

    On ABC This Week Sunday, Trump described comments over the weekend that he doesn't "know about" Seventh-day Adventists as a statement of unfamiliarity and not criticism.

    "I know nothing about it, really. I'm a Presbyterian and I had mentioned that, and I did say I don't know about it. And in fact, those are my exact words," Trump said. "So I just really don't know about the Seventh-day Adventists."...

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is not a big fan of Obamacare. “It’s a disaster,” he said Sunday.
  2. PolitiFact and Scripps launch partnerships in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Ohio

    National

    PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter is coming to Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Ohio.

    PolitiFact and the E.W. Scripps Co. are partnering to provide local fact-checking in four key 2016 battleground states.

    Scripps television affiliates in Ohio (WEWS in Cleveland and WCPO in Cincinnati), Colorado (KMGH in Denver), Arizona (KNXV in Phoenix and KGUN in Tucson) and Nevada (KTNV in Las Vegas) will create PolitiFact websites to hold state and local politicians accountable....

  3. PolitiFact: Fact-checking the Sunday shows, claims about the race for House speaker

    Politics

    Some of the most conservative members of the U.S. House are being criticized for hijacking the election of John Boehner's replacement as House speaker.

    But are some congressional Republicans going as far as to call for members of the Freedom Caucus to be kicked out of the party?

    That's a claim one member of the Freedom Caucus, Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia, made Sunday on Meet the Press. Brat was debating who the next speaker should be with Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. ...

    Seventh district Congressional candidate, Republican Dave talks during a tour of Farmer Machine Corp. in Ashland, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. Brat received the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
  4. PolitiFact: Fact-checking the GOP debate

    National

    Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina seized her moment on stage at the second Republican debate, launching a passionate attack against Democratic policies on abortion and Planned Parenthood.

    Fiorina said defunding Planned Parenthood should be a priority since videos about fetal tissue procurement have been publicized.

    "I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes," she said at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday night. "Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.' This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us."...

    Donald Trump and Jeb Bush interact during the Republican candidates' debate, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Wednesday. Looking on are Ben Carson, left, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, right. (Max Whittaker/The New York Times)
  5. PolitiFact: 17 candidates, 2 debates, 1 Donald Trump and plenty to fact-check

    National

    Seventeen candidates, five moderators, two debates, one Donald Trump. All of it kept the fact-checkers busy Thursday.

    Let's start with Trump.

    Early in the prime time Republican presidential debate, Fox News moderator Chris Wallace pressed Trump on some of his past statements about undocumented immigration — the signature issue of Trump's campaign.

    Wallace asked Trump, "What evidence do you have, specific evidence, that the Mexican government is sending criminals across the border?"...

    Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Ben Carson, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Donald Trump participate in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio. [Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
  6. In Mostar, a bridge spans war and peace

    Travel

    MOSTAR, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    The scars of war remain around every corner in this tranquil river valley town, though they can be easy to miss amid the sea of camera-carrying tourists.

    The European waiter who says he hasn't been on a train in 25 years. The "I (heart) Mostar" mural trying, and failing, to cover up bullet holes on a concrete wall. The manicured hillside graveyard with the rows of white marble tombstones that nearly all read 1993. ...

    In Mostar, a small city nearly three hours by train from Sarajevo, the main attraction is the Old Bridge, where boys jump off — and into the icy cold Neretva — to prove they’re men.
  7. PunditFact: Abortion-funding measure holds up AG confirmation vote

    Politics

    A clause about abortion funding in an otherwise noncontroversial sex trafficking bill has stopped the Senate from voting to confirm Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's nominee for attorney general.

    On Fox News Sunday, liberal Juan Williams and conservative Karl Rove debated who's to blame.

    Here's the relevant part of the back-and-forth between Williams and Rove. Rove claimed that Republicans are simply trying to extend a prohibition against using federal funding for most abortions that has been in place for nearly 40 years....

    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08:  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at the National Action Network (NAN) national convention on April 8, 2015 in New York City. Reverend Al Sharpton founded NAN in 1991; the convention hosted various politicians, organizers and religious leaders to talk about the nation's most pressing issues.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) 547088945
  8. PunditFact: Indiana governor says Obama once voted for 'very same' religious freedom bill (w/video)

    News

    At least five times Sunday, ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos asked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence a variant on a simple question about Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act: "If a florist in Indiana refuses to serve a gay couple at their wedding, is that legal now in Indiana?"

    And at least five times, Pence would not answer.

    Instead, the first-term Republican governor defended Indiana's new and controversial law as providing a legal framework if government infringes on someone's freedom of religion. He also noted that the very same law has been supported by Democrats in other places, including President Barack Obama....

    Thousands of opponents of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act gathered on the lawn of the Indiana State House to rally against that legislation Saturday.
  9. PunditFact: Netanyahu changed course on two-state solution

    Politics

    Did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flip-flop on the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a peace deal in the Middle East to help secure re-election?

    That's at least the suggestion floating around in the days after Netanyahu's Likud Party won enough seats to retain coalition control of Israel's government.

    "On the final day of his re-election campaign, Benjamin Netanyahu said that as long as he serves as prime minister of Israel, there will not be an independent Palestinian nation," read the top line of a Washington Post news report....

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets supporters at the party’s election headquarters March 18 in Tel Aviv. Before the elections, Israel had already become a source of division, rather than unity, for American Jews, who bitterly debated the ever-expanding Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories and the acceptable boundaries of dissent from Israeli policies. The outcome of the Israeli election will only deepen that polarization, experts say. Netanyahu’s anti-Arab campaign rhetoric and his rejection of a Palestinian state, they say, will further splinter American Jews into hard left and right camps, and intensify conflicts over what it means to be loyal to the Jewish state.
  10. PolitiFact: Fact-checking a defense of Hillary Clinton's private email use

    Politics

    People defending Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday over revelations that she used a private email account as secretary of state offered a novel piece of evidence to bolster their argument.

    While the State Department has asked all previous secretaries to turn over their private emails, only Clinton has complied, they claimed. "The State Department asked all secretaries of state to send their emails over, and she's the only one who's done it," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said on CBS' Face the Nation....

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during the Iowa Agriculture Summit, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) IACN135
  11. PolitiFact: Fact-checking House Speaker John Boehner's numbers on President Obama's actions

    National

    House Republican leaders fanned out across the Sunday shows to defend their attempts to overturn President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration through a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security.

    The group came armed with the same talking point and a very specific claim.

    "The president chose to use an authority that he said 22 separate times that he didn't have the authority to do," Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told Meet the Press' Chuck Todd....

    House Speaker John Boehner says President Barack Obama said 22 times that he couldn’t take executive action on immigration, and that he made “unilateral changes” to Obamacare 38 times.
  12. Perspective: Without PunditFact, pundits stand uncorrected

    Perspective

    WASHINGTON

    The staff of PunditFact flipped the script last week at the National Press Club. Instead of fact-checking pundits, we hosted a roundtable of talking heads to discuss how they operate on television, and how we affect (or don't affect) their lives.

    Pundits punditing about PunditFact.

    "I thought that was a brilliant idea when I first read about PunditFact. I thought that's great, we really need that," said Kathleen Parker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and Meet the Press regular. ...

    Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute moderates a PunditFact.com panel discussion at the National Press Club on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. From left to right, Tompkins, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, Jackie Kucinich, senior politics editor for the Daily Beast, and Donna Brazile, CNN/ABC contributor and longtime political strategist. National Press Club event for PunditFact.
  13. PunditFact: Checking claims about al-Qaida, measles vaccinations

    Politics

    Super Sunday brought talk about the spread of terrorists abroad and the spread of measles back home.

    PunditFact fact-checked a pair of claims.

    On Fox News Sunday, retired Army Gen. Jack Keane discussed the situation in the Middle East with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and foreign policy expert Dennis Ross. Keane made the case that the foreign policy of President Barack Obama is not working, saying that "al-Qaida has grown fourfold in five years."...

  14. PunditFact: Ohio Gov. John Kasich puts words in Abraham Lincoln's mouth about tax policy

    Politics

    Republicans thinking of running for president in 2016 began their tour of the news shows Sunday.

    On CNN, former Sen. Rick Santorum touted his national security experience. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal discussed his religion on ABC. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talked Common Core on NBC. And on Fox News Sunday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich quoted Abraham Lincoln in criticizing President Barack Obama's proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund tax cuts and government programs for the middle class....

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks after being sworn in for his second term during the ceremonial swearing-in, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) OHJL111
  15. PolitiFact: For all the talk about Keystone, U.S. is world's top oil producer

    Politics

    A new year means a new Congress and, with Republicans holding majorities in both the House and Senate, a new set of priorities in Washington.

    The Sunday shows discussed the road ahead, including Congress' plan to vote on approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., made the case for the pipeline, saying that it creates jobs and does not harm the environment....

    South Dakota Senator John Thune addresses the delegates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)  RNC735