Fact Checking the Debate in Iowa

By ABC News

Dec 10, 2011 9:45pm

Fact Check 1 - We’ll lose 1.6 million jobs over five years under the affordable healthcare act.
Fact Check 2 - Newt Gingrich would build a colony on the moon.
Fact Check 3 - Payroll tax cut: band-aid, gimmick or something else all together?
Fact Check 4 – Romney’s record on the Affordable Care Act.
Fact Check 5 – HPV vaccine vs. Romney’s health care plan. 
Fact Check 6 – Palestinians as an “invented” people?

Fact or Fiction Number 1 - We’ll lose 1.6 million jobs over five years under the affordable healthcare act.

ABC News’ Amy Bingham reports:

GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann came out swinging at the ABC News Iowa debate Saturday night, but rather than taking a jab at her comrades on stage, the Minnesota congresswoman directed her ire at President Obama.

In her first answer of the evening Bachmann blasted the president’s health care legislation, saying the Affordable Care Act would kill 1.6 million jobs.

“We can cut government bureaucracy, which is Obamacare,” Bachmann said. “N.F.I.B. tells us, that’s the small business agency, that we will lose 1.6 million jobs over five years if we keep Obamacare.  I want to — I am committed to repealing Obamacare.”

The National Federation of Independent Business report Bachmann cites shows 1.6 million jobs will be cut because of the law’s tax increases and employer mandate. The report shows that more than 1 million of those lost jobs will be from small businesses.

But an analysis by Americans for Tax Reform and the Beacon Hill Institute found that the act will destroy far fewer jobs, more to the tune of 120,000 to 700,000.

Yet another report, from the Urban Institute, predicted the act “will not have noticeable effect on net levels of employment,” because while some provisions of the act will negatively impact employment, those cuts will be offset by increases in the demand for health services.

Fact or Fiction Number 2 – Newt Gingrich would build a colony on the moon.

ABC News’ Alexa Keyes reports:

Romney’s first example of how he differs from Gingrich? Lunar colonies.

Romney and Gingrich sparred early at the ABC News Iowa debate Saturday night. When pressed to name the issues on which he and Gingrich disagree, Romney jabbed the former House speaker’s ideas for space:

“We can start with his idea to have a lunar colony that would mine minerals from the moon,” Romney said.

This is not the first time Romney has taken issue with Gingrich’s proposal to start a permanent colony on the moon. In an interview with the Des Moines Register on Friday, Romney dismissed the moon colony and suggested that the country has “other priorities for spending.”

Gingrich has proposed scaling back NASA and offering private companies prizes for space travel, including travel to the moon. He mentioned lunar colonies at a townhall meeting in Bluffton, South Carolina when a student said he wanted to work for NASA.

Fact or Fiction Number 3 – Payroll tax cut: band-aid, gimmick or something else all together?

ABC News’ Greg Krieg reports:

To extend or not to extend? The debate over the future of the “Payroll Tax Holiday,” one of Washington’s most hotly contested issues right now, came to Iowa tonight. And like it has on Capitol Hill, it split the room.

Three of the six candidates on stage –Mitt  Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul — are in favor of elongating the holiday. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry said they’d let it expire.

Romney played both sides, saying he’d keep the provision despite it being “just a band-aid.” Bachmann, meanwhile, called it a “gimmick” and accused the three candidates on the other side of the matter of “standing with President Obama.”

So is the holiday, which is set to expire on Dec. 31, a short-term fix, or does it prop up demand and with it, a struggling economy?

Depends on who you ask.

Economists quizzed by ABC News were pretty much split on the issue. Some said that in these tough times any extra money tends to be stashed away, saved for the many rainy days still to come. Others, noting the fragility of the economy, said that every bit helps. Less money in people’s hands means less spending, and less spending hurts the recovery.

“I think that the economy is so fragile and the recovery is so weak that if the payroll tax is allowed to expire, you’d end up reducing money in consumers’ pockets and that would end up reducing demand,” said David Kautter, managing director of the Kogod Tax Center at American University in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Biggs, resident scholar at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute, disagreed.

“This really isn’t a left-right issue, it’s just a question of how big an effect you think it’ll have and whether the stimulative effect is worth the cost. My guess is that it isn’t,” he said.

Fact or Fiction Number 4 – Romney’s record on the Affordable Care Act.

Mitt Romney tonight put out his hand and offered Texas Gov. Rick Perry a bit more than a handshake. Romney challenged Perry to a $10,000 bet.

The hefty wager was offered after Romney and Perry disagreed – again – over whether the former Massachusetts’ governor removed a line about President Obama’s healthcare plan in his book, “No Apology.”

“Rick, I’ll tell you what,” said Romney, sticking out his hand. “10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?”

“I’m not in to the betting business,” responded Perry, to which Romney laughed and said, “oh okay, okay.”

“I’ll show you the book,” offered Perry.

“I’ve got the book,’” Romney shot back.  Romney, in fact, does not gamble under the guidelines of the Mormon faith.

Perry first accused Romney of altering a  line in his book in September, when he said that a line referencing Obama’s healthcare plan in his first version of his book was different missing in a later version.

In the first version of “No Apology,” a line is included that reads:  ”We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.” The line is not, in fact, in the later paperback version, which according to the campaign was removed because there was more information when the second version of the book came out. The line was originally written, according to the Romney advisor, before Obamacare was on the books.

The first edition of Romney’s book was published in March 2, 2010. Obama’s Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The paperback version of Romney’s book was first issued in February of 2011.

After the disagreement during tonight’s debate, the Romney campaign sent out a press released titled, “Why Rick Perry Didn’t Take The Bet” that included links to articles explaining the updated version of the book.

Fact or Fiction Number 5: HPV Vaccine vs. Romney’s Health Care Plan.

“And my view– you had a mandate in your state.  You mandate that girls at 12 years old had to get a vaccination for a sexually transmitted disease.  So it’s not like we had this big difference on mandates.”

That was the comparison made by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to Texas Gov. Rick Perry at tonight’s ABC News/Yahoo! debate in Des Moines.

So how do those two mandates compare? It’s a fair comparison.

In 2007 Perry issued an executive order which made Texas the first state in the nation to require sixth grade girls to receive the HPV vaccin,a vaccine which prevents women from the sexually transmitted disease which causes cervical cancer.

The executive order followed the recommended age of vaccination as set forth by a federal panel- 11 or 12 years old. The vaccine is strongly recommended by the American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The order included an opt-out clause that allowed parents of daughters who would be effected by the mandate to request an objection affidavit form. According to the Texas Department of State Health Service immunization report from the 2008-2009 school year, less than 1 percent of students filed these forms.

The Massachusetts Health care insurance reform law requires all residents of the commonwealth of Massachusetts to carry health insurance or pay a fine. Passed in 2006 the law also makes a few exceptions for small businesses and a couple other unique cases. Today Massachusetts boosts the lowest rate of uninsured residents in the country; 98 percent of those living in the commonwealth carry insurance.

Perry’s executive order dealt with one specific issue, and only effected women in the state of Texas. The health care reform signed into law by Romney was broader in its scope. However, in the end, both were a requirement for residents of their respective states to address an issue related to their personal health.

Which makes Mitt Romney’s statement a fair comparison.

Fact or Fiction Number 6: Palestinians as an “invented” people?

Newt Gingrich stood by the comments he made this week that Palestinians are an “invented” people.

“I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community,” Gingrich said in an interview the Jewish Channel. “And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it’s tragic.”

While  former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said in 1969 that “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people,” it is not exactly a factual statement.

Scholars assert that a Palestinian national identity began to solidify in the 1890s when Arabs in the region now known as Palestine revolted against the Ottoman Empire. While the revolt was eventually crushed, the clans that banned together later reemerged as a relatively unified Palestinian people.

Gingrich also said at the debate that “every day rockets are fired into Israel.” That is true. Rockets are fired from Gaza to Israel on a regular basis. No Israelis have been killed by these attacks since Oct. 30 when one man was killed in the southern city of Ashkelon. Nine Palestinians were killed in retaliatory Israeli air strikes, according to the BBC.

More recently, the Jerusalem Post reports that 18 rockets were launched at Israel from Gaza since Friday, but no injuries or damages were reported.

The Israeli Defense Force struck back against Gaza with aircraft attacks on Friday and Saturday, which killed a Palestinian man and his 12-year-old son and wounded several family members, the New York Times reports.

 

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