Fact-checking Hillary Clinton’s Raleigh speech

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks to a capacity crowd at the Exposition Center of the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, N.C. Wednesday, June 22, 2016.
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks to a capacity crowd at the Exposition Center of the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, N.C. Wednesday, June 22, 2016. cliddy@newsobserver.com

In a speech Wednesday in Raleigh, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke about trade, inequality and other economic issues.

Many of her claims were repeated from previous speeches – or similar to claims made by other politicians – and PolitiFact has fact-checked some of them in the past.

Here are a few of them.

Pay for women

Clinton said she wants to “guarantee equal pay for women,” which she said is important because women are the primary breadwinners in most families.

On the issue of equal pay, PolitiFact has found that while there is a pay gap between men and women, it’s not as large as many claim.

Men do make more than women in general. But how much more depends on how economists count wages and benefits, and which types of employees they decide to include in or exclude from the studies.

Depending on the variables in a study, the pay gap can range from 78 to 95 cents earned by a woman for every dollar earned by her male counterpart.

And Clinton is correct that women are the primary breadwinners in most families. That comes from a 2014 study .

All of this is also relevant to another fact-check of Clinton’s. PolitiFact previously looked at her claim that two-thirds of minimum wage jobs are filled by women. PolitiFact rated that Mostly True because the true number isn’t quite two-thirds, and it also doesn’t account for jobs like waitressing where workers earn tips on top of wages.

Clinton used arguments about the pay gap for women Wednesday to call for a higher minimum wage.

Paid family leave

“Over the past several decades, women have entered the workforce and boosted our economy, yet we are the only — the only developed country that doesn’t provide paid family leave of any kind,” she said.

Clinton has long been a supporter of paid family leave, but during their primary battle, rival Bernie Sanders pushed her on it, arguing her stance wasn’t strong enough. PolitiFact checked Sanders when he also said in October that the United States is the only country without paid family leave.

One study of 41 of the most advanced nations found all of them except the United States offered paid family leave. The 40 other countries gave an average of 17 weeks of paid leave, which is more than a month longer than the United States gives in unpaid leave.

And in a much broader study of 170 countries of varying development standards, only the United States and Papua New Guinea don’t offer any paid family leave.

Some American companies do choose to offer paid leave; PolitiFact found about 13 percent of workers had access to it in 2014.

The claim by Sanders was rated Mostly True.

Democrats cleaning up after GOP

“Twice now in the past 30 years, a Republican president has caused an economic mess and a Democratic president has had to come in and clean it up,” she said.

Clinton was talking about her husband and President Obama to argue that the economy does better under Democratic presidents.

Former President Bill Clinton made a similar claim about himself in 2010, saying the budget he and Congress passed in 1993, his first year in office, led to “an enormous flowering of the economy in America” by reversing some of former President George H.W. Bush’s economic policies.

Compared to Bush, the economy did perform better under Clinton. Income, gross domestic product, the stock market, industrial production and housing prices all grew, while unemployment fell.

Yet economists told PolitiFact that credit — or blame — for the economy can’t be attributed entirely to a president’s actions.

The claim was rated Half True.

Hillary Clinton has also previous said directly that the economy does better under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents.

Economists say that while it’s accurate, again the president can’t take all the credit – and the trend might just be due to luck.

That claim was also rated Half True.

Achievements as first lady

Clinton was introduced by Alicia Wilkerson, a Durham Public Schools teacher whose children benefited from a health care program Clinton takes credit for.

When Clinton took the stage she thanked Wilkerson and mentioned the Children’s Health Insurance Program. She brought it up a second time as an example of a bipartisan success she has already accomplished from the White House.

The CHIP program provides federal money to states to subsidize health insurance for children in low-income families, and it was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress.

“I helped create the Children’s Health Insurance Program when I was first lady,” Clinton said. “That happened with support from both parties. And it now covers 8 million kids.”

As first lady, Clinton had no actual power to write, sponsor, vote for or sign the legislation. The program was co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachussets.

But Clinton was heavily involved behind the scenes, with Kennedy once saying CHIP “wouldn’t be in existence today if we didn’t have Hillary pushing for it.”

PolitiFact rated Clinton’s claim Mostly True.

Attacking Trump

Clinton attacked her Republican opponent Donald Trump for not having a solid economic plan, and for his own personal business history.

“In fact, he doubled down on being the ‘king of debt,’” she said.

Trump recently tweeted that he is the “king of debt.” Clinton hit him for that Tuesday, and on Wednesday just before Clinton took the stage in Raleigh, Trump did indeed double down, saying he liked the nickname but also that he wouldn’t govern in a similar fashion.

“I like debt, for me; I don’t like debt for the country,” Trump said.

Clinton said in Raleigh that “we need to write a new chapter in the American dream, and it can’t be Chapter 11.”

That was the second day in a row she used a similar line. The day before, she added that Trump had filed for “not one, not two, but four bankruptcies.”

PolitiFact rated that Mostly True; Trump has actually filed for six bankruptcies, but experts say they’re not entirely his fault since most of them happened while the country’s casino industry was struggling in general.

Doran: 919-836-2858; Twitter: @will_doran