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Louis Jacobson, Politifact Staff Writer

Louis Jacobson

Louis Jacobson is a senior writer for PolitiFact and 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. 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.

Phone: (202) 463-0576

The Jacobson file:


  1. PolitiFact: Fiorina exaggerates on consumer protection bureau's lack of oversight


    The statement

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has "no congressional oversight."

    Carly Fiorina, Nov. 10 in a presidential debate

    The ruling

    The bureau's mission is to "protect consumers by carrying out federal consumer financial laws." This includes enforcing consumer financial protection laws, following up on consumer complaints, promoting financial education, conducting research on consumer behavior, and monitoring financial markets for risks....

    Carly Fiorina speaks during Republican presidential debate at Milwaukee Theatre, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) WIKS155
  2. Next to tax code, is Bible a quick read?


    The statement

    "There are more words in the IRS code than there are in the Bible."

    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, | R-Texas, in a Republican presidential debate

    The ruling

    During Tuesday's Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee, Ted Cruz compared two volumes — one beloved by many, the other loathed by almost everybody.

    "There are more words in the IRS code than there are in the Bible — and — and not a one of them is as good," Cruz said....

    Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican presidential hopeful, greets members of the audience after a town hall-style event at VFW Post 1088 in Kingston, N.H., Nov. 11, 2015. (Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist/The New York Times) XNYT169
  3. PolitiFact: Examining Rand Paul's statement about president's borrowing ability


    The statement

    The debt limit deal "allows President Obama to borrow unlimited amounts of money."

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Oct. 28 in a presidential debate

    The ruling

    The measure in question is the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The part of the bill that Paul is referring to — section 901 — would temporarily lift the limit on how much money the federal government is permitted to borrow. If the debt limit had not been lifted, the government wouldn't have been able to pay its outstanding debts, with potentially serious economic consequences and negative reactions from equity and other markets....

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks with the media during the opening of a Rand Paul campaign office in Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP) LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT NVLVS105
  4. Trump mistaken in saying no TVs are made in U.S.


    Donald Trump is a reality TV star. But on Fox News Sunday, he was more interested in the television sets than the programs.

    "I just ordered 4,000 television sets. You know where they come from? South Korea," Trump said on Sunday. "I don't want to order them from South Korea. I don't think anybody makes television sets in the United States anymore. I don't want to order from South Korea, I want to order from here."...

    Ted Cruz
  5. PolitiFact: The one about Vladimir Putin, Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Abbas? Don't believe it


    It sounds like the opening to a joke: A young Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Russian President Vladimir Putin walk into a Soviet-era Moscow university …

    But it's a claim that was made with a straight face by Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson — on national television, three times.

    First, on the Oct. 5 edition of the Fox News show Hannity, Carson said Putin's "relationships go way, way, way, way back, you know? 1968 at Patrice Lumumba University — that's when Putin first got to know the Ali Khamenei, and also Mahmoud Abbas."...

    Timing of Soviet school is wrong for Khamenei.
  6. A short visit with history in Sarajevo


    Earlier this year, I was invited to represent PolitiFact at a conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where I would serve on a panel about fact-checking. The conference was timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the war in the Balkans, in which Sarajevo — and its many Bosnian Muslim residents — were held in siege for three years by Bosnian Serb forces who maintained positions on the ridges above the low-lying city. My visit was short, but it enabled me to learn a bit about the complicated ethnic, political and cultural mix in a city whose role as a diverse historical crossroads has led some to call it the European Jerusalem....

    Old town Sarajevo, with a view of the Gazi Husrev Beg mosque, which was built in the 16th century.
  7. Fact-checking Jeb Bush, Ben Carson on the Sunday shows


    With a new poll showing him in a virtual tie with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, Ben Carson went on the Sunday news shows to talk politics, including to explain some of his recent comments on immigration.

    On ABC's This Week, Carson said he gets his information on immigration from local sheriffs and that he doesn't trust information from the federal government.

    "You know, a lot of these people who are captured, it's ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) who comes along and says, 'You must release these people.' And that's not helpful to the American people. They need to be working for the American people, not against them," Carson said....

    Ben Carson's claim that the government abolished programs that allowed Yuma County to achieve dramatic reductions rates Mostly False. [AP photo]
  8. PolitiFact: Demand for 8-hour workday predates Henry Ford Era


    The statement

    "Unions did not create" the eight-hour work day and the 40-hour work week. "Henry Ford did."

    Viral image, Sept. 6 in a Facebook post

    The ruling

    In the United States, a few limited eight-hour-day laws were on the books shortly after the Civil War. One, in Illinois, was passed in 1867, followed in 1868 by a law covering certain classes of federal workers. But neither law was well-enforced, and in most sectors, working hours of 10 to 12 hours were common. So a reduction in the work week became a leading issue for the nascent labor movement....

  9. PolitiFact: Trump's claim that U.S. is most highly taxed country is wrong


    The statement

    "We're the most highly taxed nation in the world."

    Donald Trump, Aug. 24, in an interview on Fox & Friends

    The ruling

    During a recent interview on Fox & Friends, Donald Trump offered a digression on tax policy — at times an unorthodox one, at least for a Republican.

    For instance, Trump said that hedge fund managers — some of them the billionaire counted as "friends" — are "not paying enough tax." He also rejected a flat tax, an idea supported by some Republicans, countering that progressivity in the tax code is important. "As you make a certain amount of money, I think you should have to graduate upward" in tax rates, Trump said....

    In this Thursday, Aug.  27, 2015, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens during a news conference after speaking at the TD Convention Center, in Greenville, S.C. Trump's call for mass deportation of millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, as well as their American-born children, bears similarities to a large-scale removal that actually happened to many Mexican-American families 85 years ago.  (AP Photo/Richard Shiro) WX102
  10. Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton's dueling tweets each miss the mark


    What works better on Twitter? Snarky digs at your enemies, or serious public policy discussions?

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — or at least their respective campaign staffs — did both on Aug. 10, using graphics, hashtags and cheeky banter to debate a legitimate policy issue: the cost of higher education.

    As part of promoting her college affordability plan, Clinton tweeted a graphic that said "$1.2 trillion, the amount 40 million Americans owe in student debt," accompanied by the text, "Cost won't be a barrier to an education. Debt won't hold you back." Her proposal offers federal money to states that work to rein in college costs. ...

    Jeb Bush’s campaign sent out a snarky tweet  on Clinton.
  11. PolitiFact: Do stocks do better under Democratic presidents?


    The statement

    "The stock market does better when you have a Democratic president in the White House."

    Hillary Clinton, July 28 in a town hall in Nashua, N.H.

    The ruling

    There have been a couple of studies addressing this question, and they all agree: For whatever reason, going back more than a century, the stock market has done better under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents....

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to a home care worker during a roundtable discussion on home care, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) CAJH101
  12. Perspective: Anatomy of a talking point: the smallest Navy since 1917


    Not long after Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., announced his run for the presidency in June, he appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe — and hearkened back to World War I.

    "I'm going to rebuild our military," Graham said on June 4, 2015. "We're on a course to have the smallest Army since 1940, the smallest Navy since 1915."

    The line about the "smallest Navy" has become a popular talking point among presidential candidates who want to discuss spending more money on the military....

    Former U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon, 
  13. PolitiFact: Trump wrong on economic decline of African-Americans under Obama


    Blunt Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump portrayed himself Sunday as the target of vicious attacks from his competition, four days ahead of the first prime time debate of the 2016 cycle.

    But it didn't take long in an interview, one of three he gave by phone, for Trump to insult one figure who definitely won't be on stage Thursday: President Barack Obama.

    ABC's This Week's Jonathan Karl asked Trump about comments on Twitter in November in which Trump said Obama has done "such a poor job as president, you won't see another black president for generations."...

    In this July 13, 2015, photo, Republican presidential candidate former Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to the media following a meet and greet with local residents in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Perry's devout Christian beliefs were a centerpiece of his short-lived 2012 White House bid but are an afterthought in his second-chance campaign across Iowa.  (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) WX102
  14. PolitiFact: Trump offers clumsy defense of comments on McCain


    Donald Trump didn't back down Sunday from comments he made a day earlier that Vietnam War POW John McCain is "not a war hero."

    In an interview on ABC's This Week, Trump claimed his remarks at an Iowa forum were taken out of context by Republican presidential candidates jealous of Trump's poll numbers.

    "Four times, I said he is a hero," Trump told ABC's Martha Raddatz. "But you know, people choose little selective like you try to do. People choose little selective pieces. If you read what I say or if you watch what I say, which is even better, you'll say that there was nothing wrong."...

    Donald Trump repeatedly said that John McCain “is a war hero,” but the statement was always made with strings attached.
  15. PolitiFact: International fact-checkers focus on fake photos


    SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina

    It's said that a picture tells 1,000 words. But what if they are lies?

    That was one of the most urgent topics addressed by a group of fact-checkers and other experts during the second War, Art, Reporting & Memory (or WARM) festival, a gathering in Sarajevo in late June that was designed to bring together journalists, artists, historians and others who study the world's contemporary armed conflicts....