The last Republican debate will (probably) not include Donald Trump. But that doesn’t mean it will lack factually-challenged bluster.
The Republican presidential candidates will meet Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa for the final debate before Monday’s caucuses. The final showdown gives them one last chance to convince Iowa voters that they should win the party’s nomination. For many candidates that has meant repeating arguments with a strained relationship with the truth.
Here are six lies you will likely hear from the candidates during Thursday night’s debate:
“Planned Parenthood… [was] in fact trafficking in baby body parts.”
A Texas grand jury this week declined to indict Planned Parenthood after being tasked with investigating allegations against the women’s health organization. Instead, the jury moved to indict the videographers who targeted Planned Parenthood with a series of highly edited, misleading videos. Unsurprisingly, the Republican candidates — many of whom have helped to lead the fight against the organization — were not pleased. Carly Fiorina said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Tuesday that she knows the organization “has been trafficking in body parts” and “has been altering late-term abortion techniques to this specific purpose of harvesting body parts.” Similarly, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he was disturbed by the grand jury’s finding and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took his anger to Twitter, saying that “Its [sic] a sick day in America when our govnt punishes those who expose evil w/ a cellphone — yet accommodates those who perform it with a scalpel.”
Even before the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) videos were released last summer, Planned Parenthood was upfront about the fact that it is involved in tissue donation, but is not actually selling anything or benefiting financially. And courts have sided with Planned Parenthood on the matter. A California court issued a restraining order against CMP last summer and around the country, GOP-led investigations against Planned Parenthood have not turned up any proof that the organization is breaking the law.
“The satellite data demonstrate that there has been no significant warming whatsoever for 17 years.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA announced last week that 2015 was officially the hottest year on record. But that won’t stop the GOP candidates from continuing to deny climate change. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the worst climate denier of the bunch, loves to repeat that line about satellite data whenever he is asked about the issue or about the environment. Of course, the statement has no basis, because satellites don’t measure the Earth’s temperature. While some of the other candidates are at least willing to acknowledge a small degree of human involvement in the warming of the plant, none of them are likely to propose solutions.
Well before last week’s report on the severity of the issue, data has shown that the planet is warming and will continue to do so, especially if the next president doesn’t expand on Obama’s climate agenda. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities.
CREDIT: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
“[President Obama’s] first impulse always is to take rights away from law-abiding citizens.”
After Obama issued his executive action on guns earlier this month, Republican candidates were quick to call the move an assault on people’s Second Amendment rights. Jeb Bush said that remark on Fox, but all of the contenders responded with some variation of the misleading line. Chris Christie said that the “president wants to act as if he’s a king, as if he’s a dictator,” and Trump vowed to overturn the action as soon as he takes office. “I will veto that. I will unsign that so fast,” he said.
Obama’s executive actions on guns will not actually take guns away from any “law-abiding citizens.” His measures are designed to narrow who can sell guns without a federal license, expand background checks and require them for people who try to buy firearms through a legal entity, and tighten rules for reporting guns that are lost or stolen. Among other changes, the FBI will also hire more people to help run background checks to meet rising demand. While the candidates may disagree, the actions the White House announced are popular with gun owners and NRA members.
“The biggest threat today… is Islamic terrorism”
Bush said this line on the Fox Business Network in November, but the remark could just as likely come out of many of the contenders’ mouths. The GOP candidates like to criticize President Obama’s decision not to call ISIS “Islamic extremists.” Like Bush, Cruz often declares that Obama “will not utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ and as matter of policy, nobody in the administration will say the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’”
The Republican candidates are quick to denounce Islamic terrorism after mass shootings like the one in San Bernardino, California that left 14 people dead. But they will not speak out about radical, right-wing Americans who actually pose a greater terrorist threat to the country. Recent studies have shown that domestic attacks by right-wing radicals are a graver concern to law enforcement and have led to more deaths than the threat of “homegrown jihadists.” And other common household objects — including swimming pools, cribs, planes, trains, and cars — are all more likely to kill people than terrorism.
CREDIT: AP Photo/Chuck Burton
“We have people pouring in. They’re pouring in.”
Trump says that line in one of his latest campaign ads. The real estate mogul loves to highlight the problem of undocumented immigrants, saying often that “there’s a huge problem with illegals coming through.” While he once seemed like the most extreme on immigration, most of his competitors are now in agreement. Cruz frequently discusses the need to secure the border in order to prevent “illegal” immigrants from breaking the law and entering the country, and Bush’s immigration plan emphasizes border security for the same reason.
It’s easy for the candidates to point the finger at Obama for letting millions of undocumented immigrants into the country, but the United States has more resources deployed than ever before on the border and illegal crossings have dropped dramatically. A study published this week found that the population of undocumented immigrants has now fallen every year since 2008, and 2014 marked the first time in a decade that it dropped below 11 million. The total number of undocumented immigrants is lower now than it was when Obama took office.
CREDIT: AP Photo/Chuck Burton
“Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.”
Ben Carson said that remark during a GOP debate in November, but it’s a claim many of the candidates have made. Rubio has said raising the minimum wage would be “a disaster,” and Bush and Christie have said we need to leave the minimum wage to the private sector because of its potential to increase joblessness.
But raising the federal minimum wage would not increase unemployment. In fact, states that have raised their minimum wages have experienced faster job growth. Boosting wages would also help the economy overall because it would reduce turnover and cut the costs that employers that pay low wages impose on taxpayers.