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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Groundhog Friday

Welcome to our third installment of Groundhog Friday, an occasional feature highlighting repeat offenses. Follow the links to our original articles for more information on our debunking of the claims.

Groundhog2Donald Trump on Libyan oil fields, June 5 interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation”: “ISIS has taken over the Libyan oil. And we don’t do blockades. We don’t do anything. They’re selling it. They’re making a fortune with it.”

This is not accurate. Claudia Gazzini, a senior analyst for Libya with the International Crisis Group, told us that the Islamic State’s strategy thus far has largely been to disrupt oil operations in Libya rather than to try and make a profit off of them.

She previously told our colleagues at the Washington Post Fact Checker and PolitiFact.com that “there is no evidence that they are pumping out the crude oil and certainly no evidence that they are trading it.”

For more: “Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech,” April 28

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Trump on the 2012 Benghazi attacks, June 6 interview on Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor“: “Look at Benghazi, [Hillary Clinton] was sleeping when the phone call came in. She did the ad on the phone call at 3:00 in the morning. She was sleeping. She was sound asleep or wherever she was, but she wasn’t answering that call when our ambassador and the others needed help.”

As we have reported, the embassy in Tripoli alerted the State Department headquarters in Washington about the first attack on the diplomatic facility in Benghazi at about 3:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Sept. 11, 2012, according to Clinton’s accounts and a Senate report on the attacks. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, were killed in two separate attacks. In her book “Hard Choices” (on pages 322-323), Clinton said she received the news in her office from the department’s executive secretary, Steve Mull. Clinton wrote that her first action was to use a secure phone on her desk to contact the White House, where she spoke to National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. According to an independent Accountability Review Board report, “the safe evacuation of all U.S. government personnel from Benghazi twelve hours after the initial attack and subsequently to Ramstein Air Force Base was the result of exceptional U.S. government coordination and military response.”

For more: “Trump on Clinton’s ‘3 a.m. Call’,” April 28

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President Obama on clean energy, June 1 address at Concord Community High School in Elkhart, Indiana: “We’ve . . . doubled the clean energy that we produce.”

Total renewable energy production has increased by about 35 percent from 2008 to 2015. Obama’s statement is true if we consider only wind and solar power, which have more than doubled since 2008. However, this would mean excluding the two largest categories of renewable energy: biomass and hydropower.

Biomass accounted for about half of all renewable energy production in both 2008 and 2015, and hydroelectric power is the second largest category of renewable energy consumption. The U.S. has made significant gains in wind and solar production, but they still account for only a small portion of renewable energy consumption, and an even smaller share of energy use overall.

Obama previously made this claim in a speech to House Democrats in January 2015 when he said the U.S. “doubled clean energy production.” He also made similar claims back in 2012.

For more: “Renewable Energy ‘Doubled’?” Sept. 14, 2012


Hillary Clinton on the economy, June 5 speech at Sacramento City College: “It is a fact that the economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House.”

Clinton has repeatedly stated that the U.S. economy does better with a Democrat in the White House, citing research by two Princeton economists. But the authors of that report do not credit Democratic fiscal policies for the economic growth. In fact, the authors say “our empirical analysis does not attribute any of the partisan growth gap to fiscal or monetary policy.”

For more: “Clinton: Economy Better Under Democrats,” Oct. 20, 2015

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— Robert Farley, with Jenna Wang, Zachary Gross, Ilana Nathans, Sydney Schaedel and Caroline Wallace