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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. 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....

  2. 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
  3. 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)
  4. 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....

  5. 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....

  6. PolitiFact at the RNC: Fact-checking Ben Carson, Tom Cotton and Adam Putnam


    Florida delegates once again heard speeches from prominent Republicans at their delegate breakfast on July 19, including former presidential candidate Ben Carson, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. PolitiFact checked some of their remarks for accuracy.

    Carson said that in the United States, “we have 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. That doesn’t make any sense.”...

  7. PolitiFact: Fact-checking speakers at the Florida delegation breakfast

    State Roundup

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio  —  Florida delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland kicked off their quadrennial confab with a Monday breakfast featuring four speakers. PolitiFact took a look at some of their talking points.

    Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, touted his state's economy on his watch.

    "I've been governor for 18 months," he said. "We have a 3.8 percent unemployment rate, which is the lowest rate in the history of Arkansas."...

    Republican pollster and consultant Frank Luntz said the GOP must attract younger voters. 
  8. Fact-checking the RNC: PolitiFact has got this


    Florida delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland kicked off their quadrennial confab with a breakfast featuring four speakers. PolitiFact took a look at some of their talking points.

    Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, touted his state’s economy on his watch.

    “I’ve been governor for 18 months,” he said. “We have a 3.8 percent unemployment rate, which is the lowest rate in the history of Arkansas.”...

  9. PolitiFact: Donald Trump has floated big tariffs. What could the impact be?


    It hasn't gotten the same amount of attention as some of his more controversial comments, but one of the policy proposals Donald Trump has floated — imposing double-digit tariffs on goods from such countries as China and Mexico — is quietly giving a lot of economists heartburn.

    Trump's proposal springs from an understandable concern — that the U.S. manufacturing base has weakened dramatically over the past few decades, as companies have moved operations to lower-cost countries....

    Speaking in front of recyclables, Donald Trump vowed to rip up international trade deals and start an unrelenting offensive against Chinese economic practices.
  10. PolitiFact: Fact-checking Donald Trump's statements on "radical Islam," immigration and President Obama's loyalties


    In the wake of the Orlando shootings, Donald Trump doubled down on his proposed Muslim immigration ban and not-so-subtly insinuated that President Barack Obama's interests are more aligned with the Islamic State than with the United States.

    Trump has a long history of skepticism about Obama's loyalties, suggesting in years past that Obama is a Muslim and that he was born in Kenya — both claims that PolitiFact found to have no basis in fact. But now Trump has a bigger and more consequential platform, speaking as the presumptive Republican nominee for president....

    Donald Trump has not tempered the tenor of his remarks since becoming the presumptive GOP nominee.
  11. PolitiFact: Fact-checking Bernie Sanders on 'Meet the Press'


    Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Sunday he believes he still has a chance to win the Democratic nomination by winning the California primary against Hillary Clinton.

    But whether he's ahead or behind in pledged delegates when the primaries end, Sanders said he intends to make a case to superdelegates to support him.

    Sanders argued on Meet the Press that he's a better nominee for November because he polls better than Clinton in head-to-head matchups against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump....

    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign rally, Saturday in Santa Maria, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
  12. PunditFact: Newt Gingrich says China stole $360 billion in intellectual property


    The statement

    "The Chinese last year probably stole $360 billion in intellectual property from the United States."

    Newt Gingrich, May 15 on Fox News Sunday

    The ruling

    Intellectual property refers to creative concepts such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names and images used in commerce, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization. Its creators and owners are protected legally through patents, copyrights and trademarks, but cross-border theft of intellectual property is hard to police....

    CNN Coverage of the State of the Union in Washington, D.C. on January 28th, 2014. Newt Gingrich broadcasts from the D.C. bureau.
  13. PolitiFact: Trying to pin down what Donald Trump thinks about abortion, minimum wage, more


    Donald Trump's changing views have attracted attention, and criticism, during his run for the Republican presidential nomination. But how much of this stems from actual changes in position from one day to the next, and how much stems from his penchant for using confusing, vague and even contradictory language?

    We decided to look into this question by scrutinizing a few of Trump's alleged changes of position. We concluded that it's a little of both....

    Some perceived flip-flops stem from Donald Trump’s changes in position, others from confusing and vague language.
  14. PolitiFact: Fact-checking a $15 minimum wage


    One of the biggest policy battles between Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders has been about the minimum wage — not whether to raise it, but how high it should go.

    Sanders, who supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, has used his stance as a wedge to win liberal primary voters away from Clinton. She backs a national rate of $12 per hour, with some localities able to go as high as $15....

    Efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 have been successful in several cities. But making it universal could have big drawbacks, especially in rural areas.
  15. Here are the most vulnerable seats in Florida's congressional delegation


    For the fourth straight election cycle, the Buzz is publishing periodic rankings of the most vulnerable seats in Florida's U.S. House delegation, which includes 17 Republicans and 10 Democrats. This is our first attempt to compile rankings since June 2015 -- and a lot has happened since then.

    Thanks to newly redrawn district lines, an open U.S. Senate seat that attracted U.S. House members from both parties, a smattering of retirements, and some primary challenges to incumbents, nearly half of Florida's seats in the U.S. House - 13 out of 27 - are in some type of flux this year....