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July 22, 2016

Fact-checking Donald Trump's convention speech


The Republican Party has a new sheriff.

Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president Thursday in Cleveland, vowing a law and order campaign that will "liberate our citizens from the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threatens their communities."

"On Jan. 21, 2017, the day after I take the oath of office, Americans will finally wake up in a country where the laws of the United States are enforced," Trump said.

Trump accused President Barack Obama of rolling back "decades of progress" in reducing crime.

Crime rates are generally declining, even as the country has been pummeled by report after report of mass shootings, fatal shootings by police, and fatal shootings of police. Violent crime has been falling on an almost uninterrupted basis since the early 1990s.

Some of his specific talking points were more accurate than others. 

Keep reading from PolitiFact.

Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP

July 21, 2016

Donald Trump's Half True claim about Latinos and poverty

Are you better off than you were eight years ago? Donald Trump posed this classic election-year question in his speech accepting the Republican nomination for president at the party’s national convention in Cleveland.

"What about our economy?" he asked.

"I will tell you the plain facts that have been edited out of your nightly news and your morning newspaper," he continued. "Nearly four in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58 percent of African-American youth are not employed. Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when the president took his oath of office less than eight years ago. Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely."

There’s a lot to unpack there, but given Trump’s attention to immigration from Mexico, we decided to focus on his claim that 2 million more Latinos are in poverty than when Obama took office.

See what Lauren Carroll of PolitiFact found.

Donald Trump, Republican presidential nominee



CLEVELAND -- On the night when it mattered most, Donald Trump harnessed the power of his populist campaign rhetoric and turned it into a potent, structured speech in which he contended that he — and he alone — understands voters’ angst in a frightening, rapidly changing world.

“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves,” the 70-year-old billionaire New York developer said.

“Nobody knows the system better than me,” he added, pausing for laughs and dramatic effect, “which is why I alone can fix it.”

Trump accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination Thursday in Cleveland, a little more than a year after launching an insurrectional candidacy that overwhelmed 16 other candidates and upended the modern GOP.

He reveled in retelling the story of his improbable White House bid, decrying a political class whose campaigns he helped fund for years and a news media that gave singular attention to his celebrity candidacy.

“America is a nation of believers, dreamers and strivers that is being led by a group of censors, critics, and cynics,” Trump said. “Remember: All of the people telling you that you can’t have the country you want are the same people telling you that I wouldn’t be standing here tonight.”

Though toned down and scripted, Trump still sounded like his blunt, blustery self, speaking in direct and often-short sentences and offering a grim picture of America.

More here.

Photo credit: J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

PolitiFact: Trump says Clinton wants sanctuary cities

Donald Trump said at the Republican convention that nothing affected him more deeply than spending time with parents who have lost their children to violence "spilling across our border."

He said that Hillary Clinton favors shielding undocumented immigrants from federal laws.

"My opponent wants sanctuary cities," Trump said to boos.

Sanctuary cities are jurisdictions that have laws or practices that limit their assistance to federal immigration officials, for a variety of reasons that we’ll explain. Trump proposes eliminating federal grants to sanctuary cities.

Clinton expressed support for the sanctuary city policies during her first presidential race in 2008. During her current race, she criticized decisions by a particular city in the spotlight for sanctuary policy; however, she did reiterate her support for sanctuary cities. We did not get a reply from the Trump campaign for this fact-check.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

PolitiFact: Donald Trump's misleading speech claim about ISIS and Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump told the audience of the Republican National Convention that ISIS wasn’t an issue before Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.

"In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map," he said July 21. "Libya was stable. Egypt was peaceful. Iraq was seeing, really a big big reduction in violence. Iran was being choked by sanctions. Syria was somewhat under control. After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the entire world."

Trump made a similar claim pointing the finger at Clinton for the creation of ISIS in an interview that aired on 60 Minutes Sunday, a day before the convention began.

While the name ISIS (or Islamic State or Daesh, etc.) is relatively new, the leaders and founders have origins that pre-date Clinton’s time as the chief diplomat of the United States.

"There were evolutions that took place with some of the name changes," Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, previously told PolitiFact. (He has testified before Congress multiple times and works for a foundation focused on foreign policy and security.)

The roots of what today is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, trace back to 2004, when longtime Sunni extremist Abu Mus‘ab al-Zarqawi established al-Qaida in Iraq, according to the National Counterterrorism Center.

Keep reading from PolitiFact.

Rick Scott gets prime seats in Trump box at GOP convention


via @amy_hollyfield

A day after addressing the Republican National convention crowd, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is back and has a great seat in the Trump family box. We spotted him there watching the convention speakers with his wife, Ann. Big night to get a prime seat with Donald Trump accepting the Republican presidential nomination. Although, looking at the box on TV as Trump is getting ready to speak, not sure if he kept his seat.

--AMY HOLLYFIELD, Tampa Bay Times

Joe Garcia had company among Democrats on Obamacare votes


Annette Taddeo says that former rep. Joe Garcia was one of "three or four" Democrats that voted "against Obamacare" eight times during Garcia's two years in Congress.

"Eight times my opponent voted against Obamacare with the Republicans," Taddeo said in a candidate forum on Tuesday. "Those votes had only three or four Democrats that voted with the Republicans and he was one of them. Let's check the record with Obamacare."

A check of the eight votes, which were referenced in a Taddeo campaign press release, shows that Garcia was joined by more than three or four fellow Democrats in voting to tweak portions of Obamacare.

In the most extreme case, 12 Democrats, including Garcia, voted to delay the penalty for not having health insurance to 2019. In another case Garcia was one of 67 Democrats to vote in favor of requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to report security breaches in the Obamacare system within two days.

The other six bills had between 22 and 39 Democrats on board, a long way from three or four.

"Accusing Joe of opposing Obamacare is completely untrue," Garcia spokesman Javier Hernandez said in a statement. "Joe has voted more than 20 times to support the Affordable Care Act."

President Obama opposed the eight bills that Garcia voted for. In one statement the president's budget office said H.R. 3522 "would roll back the progress made" on healthcare.

Garcia said on Tuesday that he doesn't go to Washington to represent the president.

"You saw the implementation problems Obamacare had," Garcia said on Tuesday. "I was on the floor of the House of Representatives. What we did was make it easier for people to subscribe to and expand Obamacare."

Taddeo's campaign manager James Strech characterized Garcia's votes as "repeatedly voting against voting against President Obama and with Republicans trying to weaken the Affordable Care Act."

The implementation of Obamacare was a well-publicized debacle for the Obama administration. The initial failed website resulted in $150 million in cost overruns.

See summaries of the eight bills in question here: H.R. 3522, H.R. 2667, H.R. 2668, H.R. 4118, H.R. 3350, H.R. 3362, H.R. 3811 and H.R. 4015.    

Patrick Murphy, Alan Grayson agree to U.S. Senate primary debate

@ByKristenMClark & @MichaelAuslen

U.S. Senate candidates Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson have accepted invitations to participate in a Democratic primary debate next month on an Orlando TV station.

The debate is set to be a taped one-hour event sponsored by WFTV News. It is expected to air Aug. 12, with news anchor Greg Warmoth moderating.

It's not clear which other Democratic candidates were invited to participate. Also in the Democratic race are Miami labor attorney and former naval officer Pam Keith, former assistant U.S. attorney Reginald Luster of Jacksonville and California real estate developer "Rocky" Roque De La Fuente of Orlando.

The debate has yet to be announced by the station.

Florida's party primaries are nearly a month away.

Murphy, a congressman from Jupiter considered the frontrunner in the Democratic race, has vowed repeatedly to debate Grayson, his main primary rival and a fellow congressman from Orlando, but the candidates had -- until now -- failed to agree on an event ahead of the Aug. 30 primary.

Only one debate has been held so far during the 2016 U.S. Senate campaign -- but that April event was between only Grayson and Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly, who has since dropped out of the U.S. Senate race and is seeking re-election to the House.

As the Herald/Times reported last week, several TV and radio stations have been trying to organize primary debates for both the Republican and Democratic races, but the biggest obstacle has been the candidates themselves.

Murphy's campaign, in particular, has been called out for being difficult. Murphy declined to participate in both a Aug. 3 debate for Orlando public radio station WMFE and in the Grayson-Jolly debate. For the latter, Murphy's campaign contended he was never invited, but the debate sponsor provided emails that proved otherwise.

No debates have been scheduled on the Republican side, between incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio and challenger Carlos Beruff.

This post has been updated.

Democrats release early list of 80+ convention speakers and it includes (only) one Floridian

Hillary Clinton underscores the importance of the Florida vote tomorrow, arriving for a two-day tour of Orlando, Tampa and Miami where she is even expected to introduce her vice presidential choice.

On the eve of the visit Thursday, the campaign released its first line-up of 62 speakers for the four-day convention in Philadelphia next week. How important is Florida? Only one Florida Democrat is worthy of a speaking spot according to the list: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. 

The announcement followed a report that 20 "Americans from across the country" also would be telling their personal story to the convention audiences. That list also includes no Floridians. 

Gillum is a rising star but is the Clinton camp dissing the entire congressional delegation? It's likely DNC Chair and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will have a role but how about Sen. Bill Nelson? etc. The campaign says stay-tuned. 

Here's the release: 

Continue reading "Democrats release early list of 80+ convention speakers and it includes (only) one Floridian" »

Florida Gov. Rick Scott's media tour at the GOP convention


CLEVELAND -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott seemed to relish his presence this week at the Republican National Convention -- especially among radio and television stations.

Scott camped out twice over two days at Media Row across from downtown Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena. He gave so many interviews that his office had a hard time keeping track of them all.

"He's done around 50," spokeswoman Jackie Schutz told the Miami Herald.

As in 5-0?


The high number is surprising, given Scott's reluctance to indulge detailed interviews in Florida. He routinely "gaggles" -- takes questions from scrums of reporters at his public events -- but his Cleveland interviews were sit-down affairs, held back-to-back-to-back. Scott also held several gaggles, including impromptu ones.

The interviews -- before and after Scott's Wednesday night convention speech -- didn't just boost his national profile. He also spoke to local Florida TV stations covering the convention. He even went on the air in Kansas, the state where he spent his childhood.

And, because no political media tour would be complete without cable news, Scott also hopped on Fox News, CNBC and Fox Business Network -- and had a slot scheduled on CNN.