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.

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.

PolitiFact: A look at claims Donald Trump could repeat at convention


Donald Trump has taken his philosophy of "a little hyperbole never hurts" from his 1987 best-seller The Art of the Deal and magnified it for his 2016 presidential campaign.

When Trump gives his Republican Convention speech, he will likely repeat some attacks on Hillary Clinton and statements about immigration, security and the economy.

We looked through Trump’s Truth-O-Meter record and selected seven of his most significant misstatements.

Trump said Hillary Clinton "wants to abolish the Second Amendment."We found no evidence of Clinton ever saying or suggesting that she wants to abolish the Second Amendment. She has repeatedly said she wants to protect the right to bear arms while enacting measures to prevent gun violence. Gun advocates say Trump’s claim is backed up by Clinton’s openness to a gun buyback program and her disagreement with a Supreme Court decision on gun rights. But these two cherry-picked comments don’t add up to opposition to the Second Amendment itself. We rated this claim False

Keep reading here from PolitiFact.

Photo by Mark J. Terrill / AP

July 20, 2016

Rick Scott's misleading claim about the economy at Republican convention

Republican Gov. Rick Scott likes to be known as the "jobs governor" in Florida.

Opening the third night of the Republican National Convention, Scott said the United States is struggling on the economic front, and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump knows how to make it strong again.

"Let me tell you why this is the time for Donald to be president," Scott said. "A lot of politicians like to give speeches where they say ‘We are at a crossroads.’ That’s not really where we are today. Today America is in a terrible world, record-high debt. Our economy is not growing. Our jobs are going overseas. We’ve allowed our military to decay and we project weakness on the international stage."

Trump made a similar statement about the economy at a Miami debate in March. Trump said, "GDP was zero essentially for the last two quarters," which rated False.

Our fact-check will focus on Scott’s statement that the economy is "not growing." Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

April 13, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott to speak at RNC meeting in Broward


Gov. Rick Scott will speak at the Republican National Committee in Broward County next week.

The RNC will hold it's spring meeting at the swanky oceanside Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood starting Wednesday. The RNC has not yet released a schedule of events but several Florida politicians are expected to attend the event including Republican Party of Florida chairman State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia. Scott's political consultant Melissa Sellers confirmed that Scott will speak. 

The RNC committees could discuss rules related to the July presidential convention in Cleveland -- the first potentially brokered convention in decades. 

Republicans will be meeting in the county with the highest number of registered Democratic voters in the state: Broward has about 560,000 registered Democrats.

April 08, 2016

DNC chief Wasserman Schultz to Bernie and Hillary: Chill


With most political enthusiasts' attention riveted on the divisive GOP presidential race, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is urging the Democratic White House hopefuls to tone down their rhetoric.

Wasserman Schultz, who lives in Weston when she isn't in Washington or traveling the country as head of the Democratic National Committee, was asked about the increasingly sharp attacks against each other in recent days by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

"I think both campaigns really need to be careful about making sure that we don't do lasting damage," Wasserman Schultz told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program Friday morning. "I don't think we're at that point, but I think it is important to be careful that at the end of the primary process, when we have a presumptive nominee, that we're able to easily reunify."

In advance of the April 19 primary in New York, which Clinton represented for six years as a U.S. senator before heading the State Department, Clinton has challenged Sanders' allegiance to the Democratic Party and questioned his preparedness to be president.

On Wednesday, Clinton told MSNBC that Sanders "himself doesn't consider himself to be a Democrat." Sanders, who lists his party for Senate votes as Independent but caucuses with Democrats, has at various times in his career described himself as a Socialist or a Democratic Socialist.

Clinton also criticized Sanders' repeated presidential campaign calls to break up big banks, again comparing her record as a pragmatist who gets things done.

"You can't really help people if you don't know how to do what you are campaigning on saying you want to do," Clinton said.

Sanders responded that night at a rally in Philadelphia.

"She has been saying lately that she thinks I am quote-unquote 'not qualified to be president,'" Sanders declared. "Let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton, I don't believe that she is qualified if she is, though her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special-interest funds. I don't think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq. I don't think you are qualified if you support the Panama free trade agreement."

Clinton didn't actually say the phrase Sanders attributed to her about his lack of qualifications, but that phrase or similar ones ran in headlines in some news accounts of her comments.

Despite the sharp exchanges, Wasserman Schultz said it doesn't compare to "the food fight and the civil war that continues to rage on the Republican side."

Wasserman Schultz, who some Sanders supporters have accused of favoring Clinton in the Democratic race, also said that Clinton and then-Sen. Barack Obama had a more hard-hitting contest in their presidential primary campaign in 2008.

"Right now I would characterize the tenor and tone of this party to be nothing like the intensity of where we (Democrats) were eight years ago in 2008 between then-Sens. Clinton and Obama," she said.

After Obama gained the Democratic nomination in that primary race and then defeated Sen. John McCain to gain the White House, he chose Clinton as secretary of state. The two established a close relationship, and she has been trumpeting his achievements during her current run.

On the Republican side, billionaire businessman Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz have been engaged in a nasty war of words for weeks, with the fight intensifying two weeks ago when the Republican front-runner tweeted an unflattering photograph of Cruz's wife Heidi Cruz.





January 28, 2016

Scott: Don't count Jeb out


Gov. Rick Scott hasn't written off one of his famous predecessor's chances of becoming president.

Scott, in Washington to deliver an address on reforming hospital pricing practices at the American Enterprise Institute, put on his politics hat after the talk.

Scott, governor since 2011, said it's too soon to give up on former Gov. Jeb Bush despite his failure to gain traction in polls.

 "I still think it's early," Scott told the Miami Herald. "I mean, we haven't even done the first primary yet."

Scott said that Bush "was a very successful governor" when he headed the state from 1999 to 2007, noting in particular his education reforms.

"We're at a 12-year high in our K-12 graduation rate," Scott said.

Adding that "Jeb is working hard," Scott said, "The person that works the hardest generally wins."

Despite praising Bush's record in Florida, Scott declined to endorse him. Neither is he endorsing -- yet -- fellow Floridian Marco Rubio, the first-term U.S. senator, nor any of the other Republican presidential hopefuls.

"Like a lot of voters in Florida, I'm watching the candidates," the governor said.

Four days before the Feb.1 Iowa caucuses, Bush tallied just 4 percent in a NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll of that state's Republican voters released Thursday. He was far behind businessman Donald Trump and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio of Florida, while also trailing neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Bush is faring better in New Hampshire, which will hold its primary Feb. 9, according to a poll released Thursday by Suffolk University. Bush broke out of the single digits with 11 percent, putting him in a second-place tie with Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Rubio, with all four men well behind Trump's 27 percent standing.

In addition to Bush, Scott said he has personal relationships with Rubio, along with Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie through the Republican Governors Association.

Scott criticized the Republican National Committee for having scheduled just nine presidential debates this year.

"I wish the national party hadn't limited the number of debates and limited the locations," he said.

The RNC is weighing three additional possible Republican presidential debates.

The March 10 GOP debate will be at the University of Miami, nine days after Super Tuesday, when 14 states will hold Republican primaries or caucuses. Florida will hold its primary on March 15.

Scott declined to comment directly on Trump's decision to skip Thursday night's Fox News debate because of his ongoing feud with Megyn Kelly, one of its moderators.

"Every candidate's got to think about what's the best forum for them to get their message out, whether it's debates, whether it's town halls," Scott said.


September 09, 2012

Antonio Villaraigosa plays Democrat empty suit to Clint Eastwood's GOP empty chair

The Democratic National Convention had its Clint Eastwood.

His name: Antonio Villaraigosa.

Like Eastwood arguing onstage with an empty chair at the GOP convention, Villaraigosa provided an unscripted moment that led to mockery and political trouble.

Specifically, the Democratic convention chairman messed up a political no-brainer: rewording the party platform to reinsert a reference to God and another concerning Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The language got in the platform.

But it took three chaotic voice votes, all called by a flat-footed Villaraigosa — the mayor of Los Angeles — who was caught grinning in confusion after a surprising number of Democratic delegates repeatedly shouted “No!” on the convention floor as TV cameras rolled.

Suddenly, a pro-forma vote that normally garners relatively little negative attention turned into drama. Lots of drama. It was satirized roundly on the liberal-leaning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

A needless and unforced error, it was a gift to Republicans. Just as Eastwood’s performance allowed Democrats to try to cast the GOP as a party of angry old white guys, the Jerusalem issue allowed Republicans to try to cast the Democrats as too hostile to Israel.

Like his fellow Californian Eastwood, Villaraigosa refused to acknowledge any error. “Not one person objected. It’s more a media concern than a delegate concern. I can tell you this — the president of the United States said, ‘Wow.’ The president said, ‘You showed why you were speaker of the California Assembly,’” Villaraigosa later told The Los Angeles Times. “The president, the vice president, Mrs. Obama, all of them acknowledged the decisive way I handled that.”

Did the president say “Wow!” or “Wow?”

The way Villaraigosa managed the situation gives an indication of why California is so messed up. And if Obama thought he did a great job, it speaks volumes about Illinois and the Democratic Party in general — especially when it comes to handling Jewish voters.

At the least, the incident underscores the needless political risk the party took in omitting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/09/2993488/empty-chair-vs-empty-suit.html#storylink=cpy

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