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FactChecking Jeb Bush


Jeb Bush, the brother of one president and son of another, plans to join the 2016 presidential campaign today. It is the first time he has run for national office, so our file on him isn’t as robust as those for some other candidates. But it’s early.

Here are some statements made by the two-term Florida governor that we have checked:

Climate change: Bush claimed in May that the science is unclear as to how much humans contribute to global warming. The United Nations climate change research organization, however, said it was “extremely likely” that more than half of the warming since 1950 is due to human activities. (“Extremely likely” means that the likelihood of an outcome is between 95 percent and 100 percent certain.)

The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report released in 2013 estimated the causes of observed warming since 1951. In its Summary for Policymakers, IPCC said: “The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.” In other words, the IPCC estimates that humans have caused essentially all of the warming that has occurred.

Public education: In 2013, Bush repeatedly — and falsely — claimed that the United States spends “more per student than any country in the world.” Bush’s office provided us with data, however, that showed Luxembourg and Switzerland spent more than the U.S. on elementary and secondary education. Luxembourg, at $16,909 per student, was 54 percent higher than the U.S. rate of $10,995.

Also, the data provided by Bush’s office was incomplete. It was based on a 2012 Department of Education report (table A-22-1 on page 200) that showed Norway, too, spent more per student on elementary and secondary education than the United States. The DOE report contained spending data on elementary and secondary education for 32 countries.

Economy: In a 2013 op-ed, Bush said U.S. manufacturing was enjoying a “renaissance” because of “conservative, pro-growth” policies in Southeast states under Republican control. “The Southeast is leading a renaissance in American manufacturing,” he wrote. But that was not so.

We analyzed Bureau of Labor Statistics data for manufacturing jobs from February 2010, when U.S. manufacturing jobs hit a low point at 11,460,000 jobs, until March 2013, the most recent jobs report available at the time. We found that the Midwest had experienced a 9 percent increase in manufacturing jobs during that time — double the 4.5 percent growth in the Southeast states.

We also found that the Southeast state that saw the biggest manufacturing jobs gain was Kentucky, which had a Democratic governor and a split Legislature during this time.

We will review Bush’s announcement speech and follow his campaign appearances in the coming months, as we will for all presidential candidates. So bookmark our “Presidential Election 2016” page and visit it frequently.

— Eugene Kiely