WASHINGTON (AP) — Twelve Democrats seeking the presidency tussled Tuesday night in a wide-ranging debate featuring the largest number of qualifying candidates on the same stage.
Here’s a look at how some of their claims from Westerville, Ohio, stack up with the facts:
KAMALA HARRIS: “Five million assault weapons are on the streets of America today.”
THE FACTS: The California senator’s statistic on the number of AR- and AK-style firearms is not accurate. Even the gun industry estimates there are now 16 million “assault weapons” in circulation in the United States today. In 1994, President Bill Clinton enacted an assault weapons ban, at a time when there were an estimated 1.5 million of them in circulation. Current owners were allowed to keep them, however, and once the ban expired a decade later, sales resumed and boomed.
ELIZABETH WARREN: “The data show that we’ve had a lot of problems with losing jobs, but the principal reason has been bad trade policy. The principal reason has been a bunch of corporations, giant multinational corporations who’ve been calling the shots on trade.”
THE FACTS: Economists mostly blame those job losses on automation and robots, not trade deals.
So the Massachusetts senator is off.
Let’s start by acknowledging that the U.S. economy has been adding jobs, just that the nature of those jobs has changed as factory work and other occupations have become less prevalent.
Trade with China has contributed to shuttered factories and the loss of roughly 2 million jobs, according to research published in 2014.
But the primary culprit that accounted for 88% of factory job losses between 2000 and 2010 was automation, according to researchers at Ball State University.
There is also a bigger threat from automation for workers outside factories. These are secretaries, bookkeepers and a wide array of professions. Automation can displace these workers and put downward pressure on their wages, forcing them to find other jobs.
WARREN: Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Medicare buy-in option is “Medicare for all who can afford it.”
THE FACTS: Warren ignored the fact that Buttigieg would provide subsidies to help people pay premiums for the plan.
She was jabbing at Buttigieg’s proposal to create an optional health insurance plan based on Medicare. Individual Americans could join it, even those covered by employer plans.
Buttigieg calls it “Medicare for all who want it.”
The South Bend mayor’s plan tracks with former Vice President Joe Biden’s health care proposal . Biden would also provide subsidies for those who pick his “public option.”
Details are unclear on who would get financial assistance, and how much that would be. But Buttigieg and Biden have said they want to provide help to a broader cross section of Americans than are currently helped by the Affordable Care Act.
JULIAN CASTRO, former U.S. housing secretary: “Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania actually in the latest jobs data have lost jobs, not gained them.”
THE FACTS: Nope.
Figures from the Labor Department show that the former Housing and Urban Development secretary is wrong.
So Castro’s statement is off.
WARREN: “Mueller had shown to a fare-thee-well that this president obstructed justice.”
THE FACTS: That’s not exactly what special counsel Robert Mueller showed.
It’s true that prosecutors examined more than 10 episodes for evidence of obstruction of justice, and that they did illustrate efforts by President Donald Trump to stymie the Russia investigation or take control of it.
But ultimately, Mueller did not reach a conclusion as to whether the president obstructed justice or broke any other law. He cited Justice Department policy against the indictment of a sitting president, and said that since he could not bring charges against Trump, it was unfair to accuse him of a crime. There was no definitive finding that he obstructed justice.
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