The fact-checkers were out in full force during Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa.
It was the last gathering of the candidates before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.
Several fact-checking outlets looked at claims made by Rep. Michele Bachmann on topics ranging from Iran’s nuclear capabilities to the number of jobs that would be created during by building an oil pipeline.
So instead of doing our own check today, here’s PoliGraph’s round up of last night’s best reports.
“We have an IAEA report that just recently came out that said literally Iran is within just months of being able to obtain that weapon,” said Bachmann.
She is referring to a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
As FactCheck.org points out, unnamed sources told the Los Angeles Times shortly before the report came out that Iran had the technical ability to design a nuclear weapon within six months if it wanted to.
But FactCheck.org also writes that the actual report isn’t so definitive. While the Agency believes that Iran has “serious concern regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme” and that intelligence gathered on the issue is “overall, credible,” it stops short of saying that the country is “within months” of having an operative weapon.
The delayed Keystone XL pipeline “would have brought at least 20,000 jobs,” Bachmann contended.
Several of the candidates, including Bachmann, criticized President Barack Obama for delaying action on the oil pipeline that would start in Canada and stretch as far as Texas.
Bachmann’s jobs estimate is one frequently touted by TransCanada Corporation, the company proposing the project, and other proponents.
But it’s on the high-end, because it assumes that only one person holds a pipeline related job for one year, FactCheck.org reports. So, if a pipeline construction job lasts for two years and the same person has the job, the number of jobs created declines.
Meanwhile, the State Department estimates that between 5,000 and 6,000 construction jobs would be created.
“The evidence is that Speaker Gingrich took $1.6 million [from Freddie Mac]. You don’t need to be within the technical definition of being a lobbyist to still be influence peddling with senior Republicans in Washington, D.C., to get them to do your bidding,” Bachmann said.
CNN previously reported that Newt Gingrich’s consulting group had taken between $1.6 million and $1.8 million from Freddie Mac for its services.
But CNN said Bachmann’s claim was misleading.
“While Freddie Mac was a Gingrich Group client, Bachmann did not offer hard evidence that Gingrich lobbied for Freddie Mac.”
PolitiFact.com came to a similar verdict about Gingrich’s history with Freddie Mac, writing that “Gingrich is technically correct that he was not a registered lobbyist for Freddie Mac. But it appears he took pains to avoid being subject to the rules. Giving strategic advice is widely considered a way of using political influence without having to register.”