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Louis Jacobson, PolitiFact Senior Correspondent

Louis Jacobson

Louis Jacobson is the senior correspondent for PolitiFact and a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times. He has served as deputy editor of Roll Call and as founding editor of its legislative wire service, CongressNow. Earlier, he spent more than a decade covering politics, policy and lobbying for National Journal magazine. Since 2002, he has handicapped political races, including state legislatures, governors, congressional seats, state attorneys general and the electoral college, currently for Governing. He is senior author of The Almanac of American Politics 2016 and also contributed to the 2000 and 2004 editions. In 2004, Jacobson originated the "Out There" column on politics in the states, which ran in Roll Call and later in and which won five annual awards from Capitolbeat, the association of state capitol reporters and editors. He received the Weidenbaum Center Award for Evidence-Based Journalism from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014.

Phone: (202) 463-0576

The Jacobson file:


  1. PolitiFact: Flint water still has problems, but Michael Moore minimizes progress made


    After Michigan turned away from Barack Obama in 2012 and toward Donald Trump in 2016, Michael Moore, the liberal filmmaker and activist, said he understood voters' frustrations.

    This could be seen, he said, even in Genesee County, which includes Moore's hometown of Flint, where residents have been grappling with major water-contamination concerns. In Genesee County, Obama in 2012 won by 62 percent to 37 percent, yet in 2016, Hillary Clinton won by a significantly narrower 52 percent to 43 percent share of the vote....

    Speaking about the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Mich., this May, President Barack Obama held up a glass of Flint water as he drinks at a Flint high school. The water is now filtered, but the pipes are still being replaced.
  2. PolitiFact: Donald Trump's Pants on Fire tweet about illegal voters


    Nearly three weeks after Election Day, President-elect Donald Trump continues to lash out against what he calls a rigged election system — one that nonetheless carried him to the presidency despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.

    "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally," Trump tweeted Sunday....

    Trump says millions voted 
  3. Was it a wave election? Roll, Republicans, roll


    Election 2016 turned out to be pretty dismal for the Democrats. But how dismal?

    Before the election, we offered 10 yardsticks to use when judging how well the Democrats did. Now that the ballot-counting is (mostly) finished, we can see what these metrics show.

    We chose these factors based on two assumptions — that a wave can be stronger or weaker depending on the type of race being contested; and that the true strength of a wave is measured less by victories in places where the surging party is already strong and more by victories in states that are either competitive or actually lean toward the opposing party....

    In nearly every category, the GOP outperformed expectations,  gladdening these Trump backers at an Ybor City watch party.
  4. How to watch for a wave this Election Day


    As Election 2016 nears a close, one of the most pressing questions is whether Donald Trump's embattled presidential candidacy will hurt Republicans farther down the ballot.

    For the fourth consecutive campaign cycle, Perspective is providing a guide to measuring the scale of a "wave" by one party or the other.

    As we've noted in the past, the true strength of a wave is measured less by victories in places where the surging party is already strong, but more by victories in states that are either competitive or that actually lean toward the opposing party....

  5. The Buzz’s Florida congressional vulnerability rankings, October edition


    It’s been six months since the Buzz last handicapped the most vulnerable congressional seats in Florida. Since then, the list of House-seat battlegrounds in the state -- and the intensity of several key races -- has only grown.

    Florida was already on track for a volatile season of congressional races, thanks to newly redrawn district lines, a contested U.S. Senate race that attracted U.S. House members, and a smattering of retirements. ...

  6. PolitiFact: Donald Trump off-base in claim about Michelle Obama ad against Hillary Clinton


    During the second presidential debate in St. Louis, Donald Trump tried to pull off the equivalent of making a bank shot while hanging upside down — that is, using the words of first lady Michelle Obama to hammer Hillary Clinton.

    "I've gotten to see the commercials that they did on you," Trump said. "And I've gotten to see some of the most vicious commercials I've ever seen of Michelle Obama talking about you, Hillary."...

    First lady Michelle Obama is campaigning hard for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. She made her case recently at a rally in Charlotte, N.C.
  7. In context: Bill Clinton's remarks on health care


    Is former President Bill Clinton one of Donald Trump's best surrogates? Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway joked that he might be, after comments Monday in Flint, Mich., that were quickly seized upon by Republican opponents of the Affordable Care Act.

    Trump said Clinton "came out and told the truth" about the law when he "absolutely trashed" it, adding, "I bet he went through hell last night" with his wife....

    After former President Bill Clinton spoke Monday in Flint, Mich., his comments were seized upon by some Republicans.
  8. RNC misses mark in saying black youth unemployment is up


    The statement

    "Over the past eight years, black youth unemployment is up."

    Republican National Committee, Sept. 17 in an email

    The ruling

    This struck us as odd, because the overall unemployment rate has plunged from a high of 10 percent in October 2009 to 4.9 percent in August. Has African-American youth unemployment really moved in precisely the opposite direction as the nation as a whole?...

  9. Rise in food stamps far below Giuliani's claim


    The statement

    "Food stamps have gone up 2½ times under Barack Obama."

    Rudy Giuliani, Sept. 4 on CNN's State of the Union

    The ruling

    Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a surrogate for Donald Trump, recently criticized President Barack Obama's stewardship of the economy as he touted Trump's efforts to court African-American voters.

    "So, now you compare New York to Detroit and Baltimore, and you look at the number of crimes in both of those cities and you look at New York, you look at the unemployment rates, you look at the economic opportunities, and you see that I think Donald Trump is the first Republican since Jack Kemp, and me, to go into minority, poor communities and say, the Democrats have failed you for 50 years, and you are reflexively giving them your vote, and they are going from bad to worse," Giuliani said. "Food stamps have gone up 2½ times under Barack Obama. He should be ashamed of himself. Jobs should have gone up 2½ times."...

    Caption: (Tampa 12/15/2007) Republican primary presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani gives a speech at the Tampa Convention Center. (CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times) Summary: Republican presidential primary candidate Rudy Giuliani delivers a speech at the Tampa Convention Center.
  10. PolitiFact: Donald Trump's Pants on Fire claim that Barack Obama 'founded' ISIS


    Donald Trump has found a ferocious way to describe President Barack Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: as the founder and co-founder of ISIS, the terrorist group behind beheadings of Americans and lethal attacks around the world.

    Speaking to thousands of supporters at a Broward County arena Wednesday, Trump vowed to "knock the hell out of ISIS" before pointing the finger at the Democrats....

    Donald Trump now claims that his ridiculous characterization of Obama’s ISIS role was just sarcasm.
  11. Watch the turbulent Florida delegation breakfast unfold in real time


    PHILADELPHIA - It was not entirely unexpected, but it came suddenly: An otherwise ordinary Florida delegation breakfast at the Democratic National Convention erupted into a frenzy of booing and catcalls as Debbie Wasserman Schultz - the soon-to-be resigning Democratic National Committee chairwoman - took the podium.

    The room included a significant number of Bernie Sanders supporters who blame Wasserman Schultz, a member of Congress from Florida as well as DNC chair, for putting a finger (or a whole hand) on the scales for Hillary Clinton in the primary. The previous day, she said she would resign after embarrassing details from DNC communications emerged from a hack of the committee's emails on her watch....

  12. PolitiFact: Statement that lowest percentage of Americans in 40 years have a job is mostly true


    The statement

    "We have the lowest percentage of Americans actually holding a job in 40 years."

    Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Monday in a speech at the Republican National Convention

    The ruling

    Taken literally, the correct economic statistic to use for answering this question is the employment-to-population ratio, or EPOP for short, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks. This divides the number of employed Americans by the total civilian noninstitutional population at least 16 years of age....

    CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18:  Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) delivers a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) 655469503
  13. PolitiFact: The economic divide between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton


    The battle of economic agendas between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is a showdown of wonk vs. CEO.

    Clinton has literally decades of experience in the domestic and international policy trenches. Befitting this background, she has offered a wide range of detailed proposals on everything from renewable energy goals to sick-leave guarantees. The issues page of her campaign website lists no fewer than 32 topic headings, some as specific as Alzheimer's disease and animal welfare....

    PURCHASE, NEW YORK - MARCH 31:  Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is introduced at SUNY Purchase on March 31, 2016 in Purchase, New York. Clinton gave a speech to both students and supporters that covered a host of domestic and international issues. New York will hold its primaries on April 19.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
  14. The race to win Ohio: Three key questions for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton


    With the eyes of a nation on Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, the four-day confab is once again focusing attention on Ohio, the perennial presidential swing state.

    A discussion with several politicos in this suburb of Cleveland zeroed in a few key questions that will likely shape the outcome of the Buckeye State. The state has 18 electoral votes and polls show a close race, with Clinton typically ahead by a small margin. It is a crucial element of both parties’ paths to the 270 electoral votes needed to win....

  15. Fact-checking the Florida delegation breakfast


    Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and consultant and pundit Dick Morris threw loads of red meat to members of the Florida delegation to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland over breakfast on July 20. Once again, PolitiFact was in attendance and took a look at some of the facts that were checkable.

    Morris argued that Trump is winning support from both sides of the ideological spectrum, from disaffected Americans of either partisan stripe, or none at all....