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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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....

  5. PolitiFact: Fact-checking the Democratic debate


    Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled in Brooklyn in the ninth Democratic primary debate Thursday night, leaving no feelings spared and no attacks unused.

    The candidates shirked their usual congeniality and tussled over their approaches to foreign policy, Wall Street regulation, raising the minimum wage and gun control during their last debate before New York's primary election Tuesday....

    Journalists watch Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debate Thursday in Brooklyn.
  6. PolitiFact: Lawmaker cherry-picks CBO remarks on the economic outlook


    The statement

    Says the Congressional Budget Office "is expecting a protracted economic malaise for at least the next decade under current policies."

    Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., March 28 on the website Medium

    The ruling

    We wondered whether Price accurately quoted the CBO, so we looked at the original document. It turns out that he repeated the CBO's glass-half-empty comments while glossing over the agency's alternate, glass-half-full interpretation....

    WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12:  U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) addresses the second annual Conservative Policy Summit at the Heritage Foundation January 12, 2015 in Washington, DC. The theme for the summit this year is "Opportunity for All, Favoritism to None."  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
  7. PolitiFact: Cruz statement on jobs moving overseas under Obama is mostly false


    The statement

    Says President Barack Obama has "been presiding over our jobs going overseas for seven years."

    Ted Cruz, March 13 on NBC's Meet the Press

    The ruling

    We will note that there is no single data source that provides specific numbers of jobs flowing overseas. We did find a couple of studies that touched on this subject; however, each has drawbacks....

    Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas pauses while speaking to the media about events in Brussels, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, near the Capitol in Washington. Cruz said he would use the "full force and fury" of the U.S. military to defeat the Islamic State group.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) DCJM105
  8. Trump falsely links protester to ISIS


    In answering questions about clashes between his supporters and protesters at campaign events, Donald Trump made the startling — but incorrect — claim that a recent protester was linked to Islamic terrorism.

    At a Trump rally Saturday in Dayton, Ohio, Thomas DiMassimo, 22, jumped a barrier and rushed the stage, according to police. Secret Service agents tackled him, and DiMas­simo was charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct. He was released from the Montgomery County Jail later the same day....

    CINCINNATI, OH- MARCH 13: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts to a question by one of his supporters during a campaign rally at the Savannah Center March 13, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Trump continue to campaign before Ohio March 15th primary day.   (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images) 608211901
  9. PolitiFAct: With Kasich, Ohio grew out of $8 billion 'deficit'


    The statement

    When John Kasich became governor of Ohio, "there was an $8 billion budget deficit, and now there's a $2 billion surplus."

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, March 6, in an endorsement speech in Columbus, Ohio

    The ruling

    Kasich has made similar statements throughout his campaign for president and highlighted this fiscal transformation on his website....

    GOP Presidential candidate John Kasich speaks during CPAC 2016 on March 4, 2016 in National Harbor, Md. The American Conservative Union hosted its annual Conservative Political Action Conference to discuss conservative issues. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)  1181534
  10. politifact: Romney once praised Trump on business


    Donald Trump's campaign has roiled the primary contests for president, forcing politicians and pundits alike to sort out what's going on in 2016. On Meet the Press, Mitt Romney continued to make the case that a Trump nomination would be bad for the party and bad for the country.

    "Let me put it plainly: If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished," said Romney, the party's 2012 nominee....

    Mitt Romney is interviewed by Neil Cavuto during his "Cavuto Coast to Coast" program on the Fox Business Network, in New York Friday, March 4, 2016.[Associated Press]
  11. PolitiFact: Who is to blame for Flint water crisis?

    As Flint, Mich., prepares to host a Democratic presidential debate March 6, the presidential candidates are tossing around blame for the city's water crisis.

    Hillary Clinton, for example, mentioned the city in her concession speech on the night of the New Hampshire primary.

    "When I started this campaign last spring, I knew we were facing profound challenges as a country," Clinton told supporters Feb. 9. "The way too many things were going just wasn't right. It isn't right that the kids I met in Flint on Sunday were poisoned because their governor wanted to save money."...

    To a significant degree, the buck does stop with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, shown addressing the media Thursday. But there is plenty of blame to go around at different levels of government and among political parties.
  12. PolitiFact: Why Donald Trump is wrong about the unemployment rate


    During his victory speech after the New Hampshire primary, Donald Trump repeated a claim he'd made several times before.

    "Don't believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 and 5 percent unemployment," Trump said. "The number's probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent."

    Actually, Trump's the one who shouldn't be believed. Numbers that high are not even close to accurate....

    Addressing his supporters after winning the New Hampshire primary, Donald Trump made an absurd claim on unemployment rates — “I even heard recently 42 percent.” Is there a plausible calculation that can get us to 42 percent? In a word, no.
  13. PolitiFact: Digging deeper into the divide between Sanders, Clinton


    Fresh off his victory in the New Hampshire primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders decried former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's record and her admiration for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as the pair met onstage Thursday in Milwaukee.

    We fact-checked a number of statements by both candidates in the Democratic debate.

    During her opening statement, Clinton tried to channel the frustration that has led many voters to consider backing her opponent....

    Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton differed during Thursday’s debate, which revealed no utter falsehoods.
  14. Were Jeb Bush's picks for the Florida Supreme Court consistent conservatives?


    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s positions on some issues, such as immigration, have been to the left of other members of the GOP presidential field. But last month, Bush laid down a marker on his own conservatism: his selection of conservative judges.

    "I have a proven record of appointing conservatives to the Florida judiciary as governor, and my administration devoted substantial time to vetting nominees,"Bush wrote in an article for Medium. "We sought judges who had shown humility, courage, an appreciation of the duties of a judge, a respect for the will of the people, and devotion to full application of the law without equivocation. My two appointments to the Florida Supreme Court, Raul Cantero and Kenneth Bell, have earned reputations as its most consistent conservatives. Additionally, two of the appellate judges I named as governor, Charles Canady and Ricky Polston, are now serving with distinction on the Florida Supreme Court."...

  15. PolitiFact: Jeb Bush wrong to claim national debt never a debate topic


    The statement

    The debt "comes up all the time in town meetings … but it's never asked in the debates. It's really weird. It hasn't been brought up."

    Jeb Bush, Feb. 2 at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H.

    The ruling

    We found this hard to believe — and it turns out, Bush's memory on this one is faulty.

    Examples of questions about the debt asked during a debate:...

    Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush gets ready to speak during a campaign stop at New England College, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in Henniker, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) NHJC113