PoliGraph: Fact-checking the GOP presidential debate

After several weeks of disappointing polling results, the Republican presidential debate was an important moment for Rep. Michele Bachmann.

During the event, Bachmann’s rhetoric focused on job creation and the economy. PoliGraph took a look at four of her statements, and found a mixed bag of true, false and misleading claims.

The Claim: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said that the new health care law is a job-killer.

The Facts: Bachmann’s talking about a CBO report that estimated roughly 800,000 people would leave the workforce to take advantage of new coverage options offered in the health care overhaul that don’t require working.

Bachmann gets her number right. But her claim implies that all those people will be fired because of the new law, which is not the case.

PoliGraph said that claim is misleading.

The Claim: The new health care bill took over one-sixth of the American economy.

The Facts: According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the health care industry comprises roughly one-sixth of the economy. So, Bachmann’s statement implies that the new health care law took over the entire industry.

The Pulitzer Prize winning site PolitiFact gave a similar claim from the Florida Republican Party a Pants on Fire.

PolitiFact sums up its reasoning this way: The plan would expand the government’s role in the health care system, but it also would continue to rely on private insurers. Furthermore, for those who can’t get coverage, the bill would create a marketplace for people to get private insurance.

Bachmann’s claim is false.

The Claim: Bachmann said she was the first person to introduce a repeal of the health care law.

The Facts: The House of Representatives passed the health care law on March 21, 2010.

The following day, Bachmann announced legislation that would eliminate the new law.

Her claim is accurate.

The Claim: Gas was less than $2 a gallon before Obama took office.

The Facts: Recently, Bachmann promised to bring the cost of a gallon of gas below $2 a gallon if she becomes president – roughly the same cost of a gallon of gas in the months before Obama took office.

During the debate, Bachmann again cited that fact, and said she wanted to lower the cost of gas. But she fell short of saying she’d shoot for $2 a gallon. Indeed, her talking point has been criticized for leaving out the important point that gas was cheap in the months leading up to Obama’s inauguration because of the recession. Economic activity was at a low point, and as a result, so was fuel consumption.

Listen to reporter Catharine Richert discuss Bachmann’s claims with MPR’s Cathy Wurzer on Morning Edition: