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From Nazis to gay prisoners to vaccines, Ben Carson’s claims keep PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter busy

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson, who brings his book tour to Miami and Fort Lauderdale today, has made several controversial statements that have drawn much interest on PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter.

PolitiFact has fact-checked Carson 17 times as of Nov. 4 and rated the majority of his claims on the false side (we rated three Half True). The retired pediatric neurosurgeon has made claims about gay prisoners, illegal immigrants and vaccines, among other topics.

Here is a snapshot of the three Carson claims that have received the most traffic on PolitiFact, starting with the most popular:

  • "In the class of 1968 at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, Mahmoud Abbas was one of the members of that class, and so was Ali Khamenei. And that's where they first established relationships with the young Vladimir Putin."

When we asked Carson's campaign for his evidence, a spokesperson replied: "We are not in the habit of providing Googling support to the media." Abbas may have attended the university, though we don’t know for sure, or when. No credible evidence has yet surfaced to place Khamenei as a student in the Soviet Union -- ever, much less in close proximity to Abbas, or in 1968. And Putin would have been a teenager in 1968, attending school 450 miles away. The idea that the three men developed lifelong ties as students in the late-1960s-era Soviet Union is ridiculous. PolitiFact rated this claim Pants on Fire!

In a telephone interview with the Miami Herald on Wednesday, Carson said his source for that claim was a “Middle Eastern scholar at a university in Texas who is actually writing a book about it right now and translating it into English and should be out next year. He says he has got yearbook information and everything to demonstrate both Abbas and Khamenei were there at that time.”

We asked Carson for the name of the scholar and he said: “I would have to go back and look. It was a middle eastern kind,” of name. The day after our Oct. 9 fact-check was published, Carson told CBN News that his source for the claim was “advisors across the government, including the CIA."

In his new book, Carson said "German citizens were disarmed by their government in the late 1930s," which allowed the Nazis to "carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance." German citizens as a whole were not disarmed by the Nazis although Jews were subject to having their weapons seized. But for most German citizens, the Nazi period was one in which gun regulations were loosened, not tightened. Second, a lack of guns was not the issue. We rated this claim False.

During the CNBC debate, Carson said he "didn’t have an involvement with" nutritional supplement company Mannatech. In reality, he got paid to deliver speeches to Mannatech and appeared in promotional videos. We rated this claim False.

Here are all of PolitiFact’s fact-checks related to the 2016 race which includes Truth-O-Meter records for Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Spot a claim by a presidential candidate or politician we should fact-check? #PolitiFactThis or truthometer@politifact.com

 

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