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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 Stateline.org 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: PolitiFact.com

E-mail: ljacobson@tampabay.com

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  1. PolitiFact: Obstruction of justice, presidential immunity, impeachment, what you need to know

    Perspective

    Americans are hearing a lot of comparisons these days between Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, particularly after news reports revealed the existence of contemporaneous notes taken by soon-to-be-fired FBI director James Comey during his conversations with Trump.

    The news reports hinted at further notes that could be subpoenaed by either Congress or law enforcement, fueling speculation that these materials could help lay out a case that Trump committed obstruction of justice by seeking to quash probes into his campaign's alleged ties to Russia....

    President Donald Trump speaks during commencement ceremonies at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., on Wednesday. Trump used his first commencement address to a military academy to defend himself on Wednesday, telling graduating cadets that no leader in history has been treated more "unfairly." (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
  2. PolitiFact: The Pants on fire claim that no one dies from lack of health care access

    Perspective

    What Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, told a restive town hall audience in Lewiston, Idaho, was destined to go viral. And it did.

    At the May 5 event, questioners asked the congressman about the Republicans' vote the previous day on a major health care overhaul that would roll back many aspects of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, including limits on expanding Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor....

    Rep. Raul Labrador responds to questions during a town hall meeting on May 5 in Lewiston, Idaho. (Associated Press)
  3. PolitiFact: Nancy Pelosi on target about what Donald Trump might save under his tax plan

    Business

    The statement

    "The 'tax plan' rolled out by @realDonaldTrump would have cut his taxes by $30 million in 2005 (the only year we have returns for)."

    Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., April 27 in a tweet

    The ruling

    Trump is the first presidential candidate, and the first president, in decades not to release his tax returns.

    Two portions of Trump's tax returns have been leaked to the media. One consists of summary pages from state tax returns from 1995, which were sent anonymously to the New York Times last fall. However, because these are state — not federal — tax documents, they don't shed much light on Pelosi's claim....

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27:  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center April 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Pelosi gave President Donald Trump a letter grade for his performance as he approaches his 100th day in office.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
  4. PolitiFact: What's up with Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson?

    Perspective

    If it were possible to have a bromance across the centuries, Presidents Andrew Jackson and Donald Trump would almost certainly qualify.

    Repeatedly over the past year, Trump has invoked and praised his predecessor in the White House, who served from 1829 to 1837. In addition to various mentions in remarks and on Twitter, Trump placed a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office and made a pilgrimage to the late president's tomb in Nashville less than two months after being sworn in....

    President Donald Trump speaks on the telephone in the Oval Office of the White House. In the background is a portrait of former President Andrew Jackson which Trump had installed in the first few days of his administration. [Associated Press]
  5. Trump is incorrect about 'statistically employed'

    Business

    The statement

    "When you look for a job, you can't find it and you give up. You are now considered statistically employed."

    President Donald Trump, Tuesday in a CEO town hall

    The ruling

    At a town hall with CEOs, President Donald Trump revived some of his long-standing concerns about how the nation's unemployment statistics are calculated.

    Appearing to reference the number of Americans out of work, Trump said, "We have 100 million people if you look. You know, the real number's not 4.6 percent (for the unemployment rate). They told me I had 4.6 percent last month. I'm doing great. I said yeah, but what about the hundred million people? A lot of those people came out and voted for me. I call them the forgotten man, the forgotten woman. But a lot of those people — a good percentage of them would like to have jobs and they don't. You know, one of the statistics that, to me, is just ridiculous — so, the 4.6 sounds good. But when you look for a job, you can't find it and you give up. You are now considered statistically employed. But I don't consider those people employed."...

    President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) DCPM110
  6. PolitiFact: Fact-checking Donald Trump's Time magazine interview on truths and falsehoods

    Perspective

    Confronted by Time magazine about his most flagrant falsehoods, President Donald Trump finally faced the question of why he makes so many unsubstantiated claims.

    "What have I said that is wrong?" Trump asked.

    Trump said his instinct is usually right, and he usually finds evidence supporting his claims that the media and his critics ignore — even as he continued to cite nonexistent evidence....

  7. Fact-checking Tallahassee: See what lobbyists, lawmakers got wrong, and right, during a week of session

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — PolitiFact Florida reporters attended committee hearings, peered in on floor debates and hoofed it to rallies and news conferences during a week of fact-checking lawmakers and lobbyists at the state Capitol.

    What we found: Less controversial issues produced largely accurate claims, but the truth suffered on more divisive topics, such as gun control and the "stand your ground" law....

    
Florida Capitol looking east, Tallahassee.
  8. Dreaming fondly of playtimes (and crushes) past, senators back mandatory recess

    Blog

    Appropriations Committee senators had a little nostalgic fun today while approving SB 78, a bill to require minimum standards for elementary school recess statewide.

    The bill, sponsored by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, would require each district school board to provide students between kindergarten and fifth grade with 20 minutes of daily recess. Some districts already do that, but others do not. This was the bill's second committee stop....

    First and second graders have recess at Sexton Elementary School in St. Petersburg Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. Around Florida and particularly in Pinellas County, parents have started pushing for public schools to bring back recess in elementary school.
  9. 'Religious liberties' measures diverge, but advance

    Blog

    Efforts by the Legislature to make explicitly clear the rights students and teachers have to express their religious beliefs in Florida public schools is ready for a floor vote in the Senate, while earning high praise in an initial House hearing.

    A fast-tracked measure in the Senate (SB 436) — one of President Joe Negron’s top priorities — passed its second and final committee Tuesday on a party-line vote, shortly before a House panel unanimously advanced its own version (HB 303)....

    Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, presents his “religious liberties” bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. The panel sent it to the Senate floor on a 5-4 vote, with Democrats opposed.
  10. Plan to fortify religious expression in public schools quickly advancing

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Efforts by the Legislature to make explicitly clear the rights students and teachers have to express their religious beliefs in Florida public schools is ready for a floor vote in the Senate, while earning high praise in an initial House hearing.

    A fast-tracked measure in the Senate (SB 436) — one of President Joe Negron's top priorities — passed its second and final committee Tuesday on a party-line vote, shortly before a House panel unanimously advanced its own version (HB 303)....

    Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, is sponsoring a bill that would allow students to express their religious beliefs. It cleared a key Senate committee on Tuesday. [AP Photo | /Steve Cannon]
  11. Fact-checking claims from session on Alzheimer's, equal pay

    Blog

    PolitiFact Florida reporters looked into two claims heard around the Capitol today.

    No. 1: "Please make no mistake -- we are in the midst of an epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease," Rosemary Laird, a geriatrician at the Centre for Senior Health in Winter Park, told the Senate Health Policy Committee. "Currently, half a million Floridians have Alzheimer’s disease, and in less than 10 years, a 40 percent growth rate means that another 200,000 Floridians will develop this devastating illness."...

    St. Mark Village, Palm Harbor, resident Pearl Leimbach, 91, who has dementia, listens to music on her new MP-3 player with the help of Kimberly Glem, Care Center Life Enrichment Director at St. Mark Village in May 2016.
  12. After skirmish, Senate panel OKs formalizing non-abortion pregnancy centers into law

    Blog

    After a brief but divisive debate, the Senate Health Policy Committee Tuesday advanced a bill that would enhance an existing state pregnancy services program that excludes abortion referrals.

    SB 1130, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, would for the first time place into Florida statute a program that provides state funds to a network of pregnancy centers. The program has been operating since 2005 outside of statute, with funding provided on an annual basis during budget negotiations....

    Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, sponsored a bill that would for the first time place into Florida statute a program that provides state funds to a network of pregnancy centers.
  13. Remittances boost Mexico, but aren't No. 1 income

    Business

    The statement

    "Here's the fact: The No. 1 source of income into Mexico are Mexicans working here and sending the money back."

    Kellyanne Conway, White House adviser, Jan. 27 on CBS This Morning

    The ruling

    This would be more appropriately considered an alternative fact. Conway does have a point that "remittances" (as they are officially called) from individuals in the United States constitute a significant boost to the Mexican economy, and they may be of enormous importance to the individual families on the receiving end....

    ARLINGTON, VA - JANUARY 27: President Trump's counselor Kellyanne Conway looks on in the Hall of Heroes at the Department of Defense on January 27, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia. Trump signed two orders calling for the "great rebuilding" of the nation's military and the "extreme vetting" of visa seekers from terror-plagued countries. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images) 695550541
  14. How to watch for a wave this Election Day

    Perspective

    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....

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

    Blog

    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. ...