The two leading presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, have their sights set on North Carolina with its 15 electoral votes and status as a swing state.
They were both in the state again on Tuesday, with Clinton speaking in Charlotte alongside President Barack Obama, and Trump rallying supporters in Raleigh.
Both gave speeches filled with talking points they’ve used before, including plenty of material PolitiFact has checked in the past. Here’s a look at a few of their claims.
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She said: “The auto industry just had its best year ever.”
Context: PolitiFact rated this statement Mostly True when Clinton said it in May. She’s using it to argue that the economy is doing well under Obama. Her claim received a Mostly True because 2015 saw the most auto sales ever by American automakers, as well as strong but not record-breaking manufacturing numbers. While U.S. automakers did sell more cars than ever, the majority of all cars sold in the United States weren’t made in the United States.
She said: “Donald Trump thinks wages are too high.”
Context: Trump said exactly that during a Republican debate in November. He also defended a low minimum wage last August, but in May he changed course somewhat and said while he would personally like to see a higher minimum wage, he doesn’t think the federal government should raise it. Clinton made this same attack on Trump last month, and PolitiFact said Clinton’s statement “was accurate, but it left out Trump’s more nuanced answer in May.”
She said: “20 million people now have health care.”
Context: Clearly, far more than 20 million Americans have health care. But Clinton was speaking specifically about people insured because of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. PolitiFact hasn’t checked her statements about this before, but other politicians have been checked making similar claims.
Republican candidate Carly Fiorina earned a Pants On Fire in November for saying “Obamacare isn’t helping anyone,” with PolitiFact noting the roughly 25 million people who have received health care through the Affordable Care Act, including the law’s expansion of Medicaid. And Obama earned a Half True in March for a claim about the percentage of Americans who are uninsured, in which PolitiFact cited documents that said at least 20 million people have gained health insurance through the ACA.
He said: “We got more votes than anyone in the history of the Republican Party.”
Context: Trump has made versions of this claim several times before, and while PolitiFact rated his statements False previously, it’s finally true now. Trump said he had broken the record in May, when in fact he was still trailing George W. Bush’s record 11.54 million primary votes – but with several states still to go. So while Trump was wrong, PolitiFact noted, he was on track to probably break the record. Then on June 1, Trump claimed to have broken the record “by millions.” That was also rated False – while he had finally broken the record, he only had about 150,000 more primary votes than Bush, and not millions more.
He said: “We’re losing our manufacturing.”
Context: Trump hasn’t been fact-checked on this claim before, but Obama has been fact-checked claiming the opposite. Obama said last month that “we’ve seen more manufacturing jobs created since I've been president than anytime since the 1990s.” PolitiFact rated that Half True. Obama has actually presided over a net loss of manufacturing jobs, but all of the losses happened in the first year of his presidency. In 2010 and every year since then, the number of manufacturing jobs has increased. Before 2010, the country had lost manufacturing jobs every year since 1999.
He said: Regarding refugees from Syria, “we don’t know who they are, we don’t know where they come from. They have no documentation.” He also said Clinton “wants to increase the immigrants coming in from Syria.”
Context: As Donald Trump has noted before, earning a Mostly True from PolitiFact for an attack on Clinton’s plan, Clinton does want to increase the number of refugees by more than 500 percent.
But is Trump also right that we don’t know who these refugees are or where they’re coming from? No. He previously said there’s no system to vet refugees, which PolitiFact rated False.
That fact check noted the State Department says Syrians are actually more likely than refugees from other countries to have ID documents and that “Their names, biographical information and fingerprints are run through federal terrorism and criminal databases. Meanwhile, the refugees are interviewed by Department of Homeland Security officials. If approved, they then undergo a medical screening, a match with sponsor agencies, ‘cultural orientation’ classes and one final security clearance.”
Doran: 919-836-2858; Twitter: @will_doran