Heading into Wednesday night’s GOP town hall hosted by CNN, I knew that lies were not going to be in short supply. Considering that the candidates were broken up into two groups, as opposed to doing the usual summary of the event, I decided to fact check a few of the comments from Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. (All due respect to Ben Carson who was also involved in tonight’s town hall, but he’s irrelevant. At this point, all he’s doing is wasting time.)
The first up of those two candidates was Sen. Marco Rubio, somebody who’s been branded a bit of a talking points robot over the last few weeks. Though in a town hall format, without any real pushback from his opponents, I didn’t expect to see much of that this evening.
1. Immigration reform wouldn’t pass: That’s a lie. Not only did the Senate pass the bipartisan immigration reform bill that Marco Rubio was a big part of, the only reason why former House Speaker John Boehner didn’t allow the House to vote on it is because he was afraid enough Republicans would have sided with Democrats, passing the bill thus making immigration reform the law of the land. Boehner definitely wasn’t going to allow to happen out of fear that tea party House members would revolt and kick him out of his role as Speaker of the House.
2. Philosophy degrees don’t pay well: This is a lie he’s told before and was soundly debunked. In fact, the average mid-career pay for philosophy majors is $85,000 per year.
3. When confronted with the Confederate flag controversy in South Carolina, Rubio took the cowardly way out: While Rubio spoke tonight about racism and how far South Carolina has come, last summer when the debate was going on as to whether or not the racist flag should be taken down from the statehouse grounds, he continually refused to take a direct position, saying it should be up to the state. While this isn’t technically a “lie,” it is telling of the “genuine” nature of Rubio’s concerns about racism that he refused to publicly condemn a blatant symbol of racism when he had the chance.
4. There’s an 80 year precedent of presidents in their last year in office not replacing Supreme Court Justices: Considering Justice Anthony Kennedy took his place upon the Supreme Court on February 18, 1988 – during Ronald Reagan’s final year in office – this is complete nonsense. Not only that, but presidents have frequently nominated appellate judges during their final year in the White House. (Ted Cruz also went on to repeat this lie as well)
Next up was Ted Cruz, who I knew going into this, based on his record, was going to spew almost nothing but lies.
1. No one said Cruz had a chance in Iowa: Actually, for weeks heading up to the Republican Iowa Caucus many polls showed Cruz ahead of Donald Trump in the state.
2. Planned Parenthood doesn’t do anything good: Actually, 97 percent of what Planned Parenthood does has nothing to do with abortion. In fact, they do over 10.5 million procedures a year that are centered on services like providing birth control ( which help prevent abortion), cancer screenings, breast exams, adoption referrals, vaccinations and STD testing.
3. President Obama has shrunk and degraded our military: Actually, many of the big military cuts we’ve seen recently are due to the Republican-led sequester that automatically triggered across the board cuts, including many to our military and defense. By the way, as a member of the U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz is largely responsible for these cuts as well.
4. Common Core is a national program and he’ll repeal it on Day One: Actually Common Core is not a federal program or mandate and is voluntarily adopted by each individual state. The 43 states that adopted the program did so of their own free will.
5. President Obama sent back a bust of Winston Churchill: Actually, that’s a huge myth. This never happened and the bust of Churchill is still in the White House. This claim has been soundly debunked for several years.
While these town halls aren’t nearly as eventful as the actual debates, they do provide another great reminder as to why everyone with common sense must rise up, get out to vote and make damn sure none of these GOP candidates becomes our next president. With women’s rights, gay rights, climate change, health care and many other issues all on the line this election, we cannot allow conservatives to outnumber us at the voting booths. We must come together, unite behind our candidate and protect this country from another Republican administration setting us back decades.
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