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Groundhog Friday

This week’s wrap-up of repeated claims includes several we heard during the parties’ national conventions. Follow the links to our original articles for more information on each claim.

Groundhog2Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on job creation, Aug. 1 rally in Omaha, Nebraska: “We now have 15 million new jobs that have been created in the last seven-and-a-half years.”

Actually, since President Barack Obama took office seven-and-a-half years ago, the U.S. has gained 10.1 million jobs. Clinton gets her number by starting the count in February 2010, the low point of employment during the Great Recession, and only counting private-sector jobs, which went up by 14.8 million (overall employment has gone up by 14.4 million since February 2010).

In her convention speech, Clinton stipulated that she was speaking of private-sector jobs, but didn’t reveal her time frame.

“FactChecking Clinton’s Big Speech,” July 29



Clinton on income inequality, Aug. 1 rally in Omaha: “Ninety percent of the income gains have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent in America.” And, at a July 31 rally in Columbus, Ohio: “… they have earned 90 percent of all of the income gains since the recession. That’s the top 1 percent.”

That was accurate for 2009 to 2013, based on the economic analysis of Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, but not anymore. Saez’s most recent data show that the top 1 percent of families captured 52 percent of the income growth from 2009 to 2015. That’s also the case for 1993-2015.

“FactChecking Clinton’s Big Speech,” July 29



Clinton on paying for her proposals, July 31 rally in Columbus: “Everything I’ve proposed – and you can go to HillaryClinton.com and read all about it – I’ve told you how I will pay for it. … I will pay for everything I’ve proposed by making the wealthy, corporations and Wall Street pay their fair share of taxes.”

We can’t predict the future, but the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that Clinton doesn’t quite get there with what she has proposed so far. CRFB said her proposals would increase the debt by $250 billion over 10 years. “For Clinton, this small increase in debt relative to current law is the result of spending increases that are largely but not entirely paid for by revenue increases,” the CRFB report says.

“FactChecking Clinton’s Big Speech,” July 29



Clinton on her emails, Aug. 3 interview with KUSA 9News in Denver: “And as the FBI said, everything that I’ve said publicly has been consistent and truthful with what I’ve told them.”

As we said earlier this week when Clinton made a similar claim, she’s parsing FBI Director James Comey’s words. He didn’t say that Clinton’s public statements on her use of private email and a private server as secretary of state were “truthful,” as she suggests here. Comey, in a congressional hearing about the FBI’s investigation into the handling of classified material in Clinton’s private emails, said, “We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.” When asked about the veracity of Clinton’s statements to the American public, Comey responded, “That’s a question I’m not qualified to answer. I can speak about what she said to the FBI.”

But Comey contradicted Clinton’s public statements that “there is no classified materials” among the emails she sent and received. Comey told Congress: “There was classified material emailed.”

“Clinton’s Email Falsehood,” Aug. 1



Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Putin, ABC “This Week” interview, recorded July 29: “When Putin goes out and tells everybody — and you talk about a relationship, but he says Donald Trump is going to win and Donald Trump is a genius, and then I have people saying you should disavow. I said, I’m going to disavow that?”
And in an Aug. 1 rally in Columbus, Ohio: “He did call me a genius, but these are minor details.”

Vladimir Putin didn’t call Trump a “genius,” and the Russian presidential himself said so in June. Putin said he had only described Trump as “flamboyant.” Putin’s original comment, made in December, had been interpreted as calling Trump “colorful” or “bright,” according to Russian language experts we consulted.

Putin also didn’t say in those comments that Trump was “going to win,” as Trump told ABC News. Instead, he said, “he is absolutely the leader in the presidential race,” according to the translation by Russia Insider.

“Putin Did Not Call Trump a ‘Genius,'” May 6



Trump on trade deficit with China, Aug. 1 rally in Columbus: “Right now, we’re being ripped off — $500 billion trade deficit with China. $500 billion.”

Trump has continued to inflate the trade deficit with China. It was $367 billion for 2015, not $500 billion. In fact, the total U.S. trade deficit — $531.5 billion — is closer to Trump’s number.

This is now the fourth time we’ve included this false claim in a Groundhog Friday report.



Trump on Indiana’s AAA bond rating, Aug. 1 rally in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: “Indiana has triple A bond rating. … But think of it, triple A bond rating. Very few states have that.”

Trump boasts that under Gov. Mike Pence, his vice presidential running mate, Indiana had a AAA bond rating, but that has been true since July 2008, almost five years before Pence took office. Also, 15 states have that same rating, not “very few.”

“Trump Oversells Pence’s Record,” July 17



Trump on funding his campaign, Aug. 1 rally in Columbus: “So I funded as you know my primary…. But we’re also taking small donations, which in the primary wasn’t a big factor … we sold hats and things, little things. It was cute and people like it. People put in small money. But I funded it. And I guess I’m into everything for $60 million or over $60 million or soon will be over $60 million.”

Trump exaggerates. He did fund a large portion of his primary campaign — roughly 73 percent, according to records from the Federal Election Commission as of May 31. Trump’s financing totaled $46 million at that point, with $17.1 million coming from individual donors. A month later, as of June 30, his self-financing was nearly $50 million, constituting 56 percent of his total campaign funding. Individual contributions totaled $36.8 million or 41 percent of the funding.

Throughout the primary, Trump exaggerated the extent of his self-financing many times.

“GOP Convention, Day 2,” July 20

“Trump’s Education Exaggeration,” May 4



Gen. John Allen on carpet-bombing, ABC “This Week” interview on July 31: “[Trump has] talked about carpet-bombing ISIL. Who do you think is going to carpet-bombed when all that occurs?”

Gen. Allen repeated a false claim first made by Vice President Joe Biden in late July. It was Sen. Ted Cruz, not Trump, who said that the U.S. should use carpet-bombing as a strategy against the Islamic State terrorist group, or ISIL.

“Trump’s Press Conference,” July 27