Robert Farley, Times Staff Writer

Robert Farley

Although based in Clearwater where he covers Scientology and has other general assignment duties, Rob Farley has spent most of the last year working out of St. Petersburg on the paper's investigative team (writing a series of stories involving antipsychotic medications) and contributing stories to PolitiFact, a mostly Web-based project to check the truth of campaign statements.

Phone: (727) 893-8603

E-mail: farley@tampabay.com

  1. PolitiFact: Obama says Reagan raised debt ceiling 18 times; George W. Bush seven times

    The statement

    "President Reagan did it (raised the debt ceiling) 18 times. George W. Bush did it seven times."

    President Barack Obama, Monday, in a televised address

    The ruling

    In a televised address to the nation to discuss the pending deadline on the debt ceiling, President Barack Obama made his pitch for a "balanced" approach to reducing the deficit — one that includes spending cuts as well as revenue increases from tax increases for wealthier Americans....

  2. Don't be a sucker and pay full price for a hotel room

    News

    Ever notice when a woman receives a compliment on a dress or shoes, she will often blurt out something like: "$15, Steinmart!"

    Well, that's me with Priceline.

    "How was your trip to D.C.?"

    "Great. I stayed in a 4-star downtown hotel for $60. Priceline." ...

  3. PolitiFact: Obama order to review rules is not unprecedented

    National

    The statement

    "What I have done — and this is unprecedented … is I've said to each agency … 'look at regulations that are already on the books and if they don't make sense, let's get rid of them.' "

    President Barack Obama, on Wednesday in a news conference

    The ruling

    We wondered if a systematic review of old regulations was really such an unprecedented effort. And we found it isn't....

  4. Dems say under Gov. Mitt Romney, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation

    The statement

    When Mitt Romney was governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation.

    David Axelrod, in a CNN interview Sunday

    The ruling

    Axelrod, President Barack Obama's re-election campaign strategist, tried to ding the job-creating reputation of Romney during a recent CNN interview.

    "If you're Gov. Romney and you say I'm going to turn this economy around, I've got the answers. You don't offer them. Then people have a right to say, why is it that your state was 47th in the country in job creation when you were governor?" Axelrod said....

  5. PolitiFact: Sarah Palin has rough ride with Paul Revere story

    National

    The statement

    "Part of (Paul Revere's) ride was to warn the British that were already there that, 'Hey, you're not going to succeed.' "

    Sarah Palin, Sunday in an interview on Fox News

    The ruling

    We don't remember anything about Revere trash-talking to the British, so let's go to accounts from Revere himself.

    The Massachusetts Historical Society has two accounts of the night of April 18, 1775, from Revere....

  6. PolitiFact: Sarah Palin's $8 billion figure for cost of lost oil production is way, way off

    National

    The statement

    "We're going to be looking at $8 billion a day that we're going to be pouring into foreign countries in order to import that make-up fuel that we're going to need to take the place of what we could have gotten out of the gulf."

    Sarah Palin, in an interview on Fox News

    The ruling

    In an exclusive interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on her "One Nation" bus tour, said there will be a steep price to pay for President Barack Obama's decision to place a temporary moratorium on new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill....

  7. Bulb warnings are light on facts

    National

    The resistance to the socialist assault on free enterprise has a new mascot: the Edison lightbulb.

    The government says they use too much energy.

    According to some Republicans, liberals are soon going to make you buy expensive new alternatives to the incandescent bulbs, like those weird curly-cue compact fluorescent bulbs, or worse yet, LED bulbs that go for $50 apiece.

    "Enough!" says a fundraising letter making the rounds from a conservative political action committee that draws a political line in the sand over lightbulbs. ...

  8. PolitiFact: Al-Qaida weaker, but remains deadly force in international terrorism

    National

    WASHINGTON — In announcing Osama bin Laden's death Sunday night, President Barack Obama said U.S. military and counterterrorism professionals have "made great strides" in the effort to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat" al-Qaida.

    But terrorism experts, U.S. officials and Obama himself say that despite progress in capturing or killing key al-Qaida leaders, the group is still a force in international terrorism....

  9. With Obama's birth certificate's release, doubters believe, right?

    National

    Orly Taitz is a leader among those who question President Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president. For three years, the California dentist/lawyer and others have filled the Internet and courts with demands that the president produce his original, long-form birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii, not Kenya.

    With that document's release Wednesday, the issue is finally settled, right? ...

  10. PolitiFact: Bachmann claim on oil drilling permits rates a Pants On Fire

    National

    The statement

    "One. That's the number of new drilling permits under the Obama administration since they came into office."

    Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., in a speech at the Conservative Principles PAC Conference in Iowa

    The ruling

    The Department of the Interior press office sent us a link to a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or BOEMRE, report on the "Status of Well Permits and Plans Subject to Enhanced Safety and Environmental Requirements."...

  11. PolitiFact: Recent polls back up claim of more support for gay marriage

    National

    The statement

    Says the majority of Americans support gay marriage.

    Anne Hathaway, in a letter she and other celebrities wrote to President Barack Obama

    The ruling

    Jackie Yodashkin, a spokeswoman for Freedom to Marry, backed up the claim by pointing us toward two polls.

    The first was a poll conducted by the Associated Press in August 2010 that asked the question, "Should the Federal Government give legal recognition to marriages between couples of the same sex, or not?"...

  12. PolitiFact: Americans don't work the longest hours

    National

    The statement

    "We now work the longest hours of any people around the world."

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in a C-SPAN interview

    The ruling

    Sanders' office forwarded us a news release from the International Labor Organization, a London-based United Nations agency that oversees international labor standards.

    According to the story, "US workers put in the longest hours on the job in industrialized nations, clocking up nearly 2,000 hours per capita in 1997, the equivalent of almost two working weeks more than their counterparts in Japan where annual hours worked have been gradually declining since 1980, according to a new statistical study of global labour trends published by the International Labour Office."...

  13. PolitiFact: Glenn Beck off the mark on first ladies' staff counts

    National

    The statement

    Says Michelle Obama has 43 people on her staff; Nancy Reagan had just 3.

    Glenn Beck, on his radio program

    The ruling

    Allegations that Michelle Obama has an excessively large staff compared to other first ladies is nothing new. In 2009, FactCheck.org and Snopes.com debunked the claim circulated in a chain e-mail that Obama had an "unprecedented" number of staffers, with 22....

  14. PolitiFact: Wisconsin bill would even playing field for elected officials, workers

    National

    The statement

    "Every (Wisconsin) legislator that votes for this bill" will have to "give up the same amount of pay" as other state employees.

    Jeff Fitzgerald, Wisconsin State Assembly speaker, on Fox News Channel Tuesday

    The ruling

    Amid the fiery debate over benefits cuts and collective bargaining rights, we haven't heard much about how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's plan would personally affect the legislators who will vote on it, so we decided to check Fitzgerald's comment....

  15. PolitiFact: Obama spending claims contain dose of budget hocus-pocus

    National

    The statement

    The White House budget plan will bring domestic discretionary spending to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

    President Barack Obama, on his proposed budget

    The ruling

    Obama has used the phrase "domestic spending" or "domestic discretionary spending," but you won't find either term in the actual budget from the White House Office of Management and Budget. A spokeswoman said Obama was talking about nonsecurity discretionary spending. Furthermore, when Obama said it will "bring" domestic spending, as a percentage of GDP, to Eisenhower levels, he didn't mean next year, he meant by 2015....