Who Won the Republican Debate?
It all depends on who you ask. If you are a supporter of Donald Trump, he won the debate. If you are a die hard supporter of Ben Carson, he won the debate.
In the debate, here are a few statements made by Republican candidates and facts:
Statement: Sen. Rand Paul says Saudi Arabia is not accepting any Syrian refugees.
FACT: While Saudi Arabia says it has accepted 2.5 million Syrians under its guest program, it’s not clear under what timeframe and whether those are people seeking refuge from the Syrian civil war. An accounting of how many refugees Saudi Arabia has received from Syria is difficult, since Riyadh is not an official signatory to the U.N. refugee convention, which is a legally binding document giving refugees rights and protections.
Statement: Ben Carson says there have been numerous studies and they have not demonstrated that there is any correlation between vaccinations and autism.
FACT: Dr. Andrew Wakefield was the lead researcher of the study, published in the British medical journal The Lancet. After learning that Wakefield was compensated for his research by a law firm hoping to sue the makers of the vaccine, most of the co-authors of the paper withdrew their names. In 2010, Wakefield lost his medical license, and in 2011, the journal retracted the study. Subsequent studies looking for a link between the vaccine and autism haven’t found any.
Statement: Gov. Chris Christie says he supported medical marijuana.
FACT: Christie did support a modest expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program in 2013, but that was after he fought the implementation of the program signed by his Democratic predecessor, Jon Corzine. And, one year after he signed the medical marijuana expansion, he criticized medical marijuana as a “front for legalization.”
Statement: Sen. Ted Cruz’s criticism of the Iran nuclear agreement.
FACT: False in regard to self-inspections, but It’s Complicated on the 24-day notice. The 24-day window Cruz referred to comes into play if Iran and the IAEA are not able to agree on access to a particular site. Cruz’s assertion falsely suggests that all nuclear inspections in Iran would be conducted by the Iranians, but without access to the full document, it’s unclear exactly how inspections at Parchin will proceed. And the assertion that military facilities are entirely off-limits is also false.
Statement: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio claims “The (legal immigration system) primarily is built whether you have a relative living here instead of merit.”
FACT: Approximately two-thirds of the people who were admitted to the United States from 2000 to 2013 as lawful permanent residents were admitted on the basis of family ties, according to a November 2014 report from the U.S. Congressional Research Service. In 2013, the most recent year for which we have aggregate data, of the 990,553 foreign nationals who were admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents, 649,763 were admitted on the basis of family ties.
Statement: Jeb Bush says U.S. has failed to bolster ties to any nation under Obama.
FACT: President Barack Obama has reopened ties with at least two countries that the U.S. had no diplomatic relations with when he entered office. In 2012, the Obama administration renewed full diplomatic ties with Myanmar. This year, Obama renewed relations with Cuba, meeting the country’s leader, Raul Castro, at a summit in Panama and officially reopening the U.S. embassy in Havana.
Statement: Carly Fiorina says a Planned Parenthood video shows a “fully formed fetus on the table, with its heart beating, its legs kicking.”
FACT: The clip does show what appears to be a fully formed fetus on an operating table with its legs twitching. But the clip Fiorina references is not part of the CMP sting video but was instead taken by another anti-abortion group and was added to the sting video.
Statement: Donald Trump says he never went bankrupt.
FACT: Trump himself has never filed for personal bankruptcy. But he has filed four business bankruptcies – Trump Taj Mahal, 1991; Trump Castle Associates, 1992; Trump Hotel & Casino Resort, 2004; and Trump Entertainment Resorts, 2009 – which Bankruptcy.com says makes Trump the top filer in recent decades. All of them were centered around casinos he used to own in Atlantic City. They were all Chapter 11 restructurings, which lets a company stay in business while shedding debt it owes to banks, employees and suppliers.
Statement: Lindsey Graham says we need legal immigrant workers in order to replenish the workforce, based on historical ratios of workers to retirees.
FACT: According to Social Security data, in 1950, there were 16.5 covered workers per Social Security beneficiary. In 2014, the latest figures available, there are 2.8, which is lower than Graham’s figure. Twenty-five years from now, in 2040, the projection is 2.1.
Statement: Bobby Jindal says letting more Syrian refugees into the U.S. would involve a circumvention of the normal immigrant vetting process.
FACT: Actually, the increase the Obama administration is proposing would be managed through the normal process within the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. The president of the United States, in consultation with Congress, sets the quota for how many refugees can be admitted through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program at the beginning of each fiscal year, and can change that number mid-year if there is a humanitarian refugee crisis.
I have made this statement on several occasions. I will make it again – Ben Carson nor Donald Trump will ever be president of the United States.