A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The 2012 GOP Field

In episode 43 of our podcast, we take a look at what some of the potential Republican presidential candidates have been saying.

For more on the claims discussed in this podcast, see:
Let the Distortions Begin  Dec. 23

Let the Distortions Begin

It has been seven whole weeks now since the midterms, and – like you, perhaps – we’ve enjoyed watching football and “Glee” uninterrupted by campaign ads. But that doesn’t mean there’s no campaigning going on. Potential Republican presidential aspirants …

Huckabee an Evangelical

Q: Is it correct to refer to Mike Huckabee as an evangelical?
A: Yes. Huckabee describes himself as an evangelical.

Simi Valley Showdown

Summary

With a nationwide wave of nominating contests looming next week, Republican presidential candidates held their last scheduled debate against the backdrop of Ronald Reagan’s retired Air Force One. But we found some of the candidates' facts just won’t fly.

Romney complained that McCain used "the wrong data" about job creation to support his assertion that Massachusetts had ranked 47th among the 50 states while Romney was governor. Romney was wrong;

Bogus Claims in Boca

Summary
In last night's debate, held days before Tuesday's Republican primary in the Sunshine State, the remaining GOP candidates came up with a few new factual distortions and repeated several old ones. Among them:

McCain said he had won the Republican vote in both the South Carolina and New Hampshire primaries, where independent voters also participate. One exit poll showed him narrowly prevailing with Republicans in New Hampshire, while another didn’t. And the same poll that favored him in that state had him losing the GOP vote to Huckabee in South Carolina.

Myrtle Beach Blarney

Summary

Another debate, another round of fact-checking. The GOP meeting in South Carolina was the third for Republican candidates in a week, but they haven’t run out of exaggerations or misstatements:

Romney claimed Massachusetts gained jobs "every single month" he was governor after hitting a low point. In fact the job gains seesawed, with seven of 36 months producing job losses.
Huckabee escalated his misleading claims about cutting taxes, saying he cut taxes for the first time in the history of the state of Arkansas,

One-Two Punch for GOP

Summary

In the final debate before New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary election, five Republican candidates appeared on Fox News. We found no shortage of recycled bunk, and a new twist or two:

Huckabee repeated his claim to have made 94 tax cuts including the "first broad-based tax cut" in the history of Arkansas, though he actually signed tax bills that resulted in a net increase in taxes of $500 million.
Romney said his increases in "fees"

N.H. Debate: The GOP Field

Summary
Republican and Democratic candidates participated in double-header debates in New Hampshire Jan. 5 in advance of the state's first-in-the-nation primary. Republicans were up first, and they got a little wild with their swings:

Romney claimed that the 47 million Americans who lack health care are not covered because they say "I'm not going to play. I'm just going to get free care paid for by everybody else." Experts say that very few who are offered insurance turn it down and that the uninsured get worse care.

Huckabee’s Attack Ad Runs After All

 Summary
The ad Huckabee said he decided not to run has now appeared at least three times in Iowa anyway. It accuses Romney of being "dishonest" but shades the facts in the process.
Update, Jan. 4: The ad ran at least 10 times on four different stations in Davenport and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Huckabee campaign called those airings a mistake.
In another ad Huckabee claims to have signed the most broad-based tax cut in Arkansas history.

Huckabee Cut Crime and Taxes?

Summary
In the run-up to the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, Huckabee is running a TV ad featuring graphics that claim he was "tough on crime" and "brought Arkansas' crime rate down," and that he "cut taxes over 90 times as governor."
In fact, the violent crime rate was higher at the end of his tenure than it was the year he took office. And the tax cuts he claims credit for were minor compared with the large increases he approved,