A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Santorum File (Take Two)


Rick Santorum, the second-place finisher in the 2012 Republican presidential primary, is making official later today in a speech at a Pennsylvania manufacturing plant that he will run again for the presidency.

We regularly run roundups of our fact-checks of politicians when they announce their candidacy for president, and some of our regular readers may recall that several months ago, we ran one on Santorum in December after the Washington Post wrote that he is running again. That turned out to be a premature announcement — Santorum called it a “rather presumptuous … leap” by the Post — but now it’s officially official.

We won’t rehash our earlier wrap-up here, but since we’ve fact-checked Santorum a few times after that premature announcement, we thought we’d update our Santorum file with a summary of those claims.

Iran

Earlier this month, Santorum engaged in a bit of revisionist history regarding an Iran sanctions bill he championed in the mid-2000s as a senator. Despite claiming he had no cosponsors in 2004 when he introduced the Iran Freedom and Support Act — which he described as “a bill that put sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program” — the Pennsylvania Republican had two cosponsors when he first introduced it in 2004 (but that version did not address sanctions at all) and 61 cosponsors when he revised and reintroduced it in 2005 (when it did address sanctions).

Santorum also singled out Democratic Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as those “who stood up and voted against” his bill in 2006. But he failed to mention that the Bush White House lobbied against his bill because the administration was negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran. The bill initially was defeated 46-53 on June 15, 2006, when Santorum offered it as an amendment to a defense appropriations bill. The Senate unanimously approved the bill about three months later after a compromise was worked out with the Bush administration.

Moreover, despite boasting that he authored “a lot” of “the sanctions that you hear about that are crushing Iran, that brought them to the [negotiating] table,” the bill he sponsored codified existing sanctions.

Environment

In April, Santorum misrepresented the Environmental Protection Agency’s impact analysis of a new agency rule that would reduce power plant emissions of mercury and other toxins. He falsely claimed that the EPA’s cost-benefit analysis assumed hundreds of thousands of pregnant women eat six pounds of fish caught in lakes per week, potentially exposing their unborn children to high levels of mercury. The EPA assumption was far lower, about 0.1 pounds per week on average. He also misstated the effects of mercury on IQ levels.

In January, Santorum falsely claimed that U.S. policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions “will have zero impact” on climate change. The U.S. is the world’s second-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, and a reduction in its GHG emissions could slow global warming. Santorum also claimed that even those who accept the science on climate change agree that U.S. action will accomplish nothing, which is inaccurate.

Jobs

That same month, Santorum claimed that of the “6 million net new jobs created in America” since 2000, “all of them” are held by immigrants. That’s not accurate. Santorum ignores the 2.6 million job gains by native-born Americans over the age of 65 in the same time period.

We will continue to monitor statements made by Santorum and all announced and potential 2016 presidential candidates. Our full file on Santorum is available here.

— Robert Farley