Republican candidates for president faced off in South Carolina in their sixth debate
CNN's Reality Check Team put their statements and assertions to the test
The Republican candidates for president gathered Thursday in North Charleston, South Carolina, for their sixth debate,, and CNN’s Reality Check Team spent the night putting their statements and assertions to the test.
The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN selected key statements and rated them: True; Mostly True; True, but Misleading; False; or It’s Complicated.
Reality Check: Bush on Iran missile tests
By Jamie Crawford, CNN National Security Producer
In discussing foreign challenges in the Middle East, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said, “As it relates to Iran, we need to confront ambitions across the board, reimpose sanctions. They already violated sanctions after the agreement was signed by testing medium-range missiles.”
The agreement Bush was referring to was the deal reached last year between Iran, the United States and five other countries that seeks to roll back Iran’s ability to obtain a nuclear weapon.
Since the signing of that agreement, Iran has indeed tested missile technology. The test violated sanctions not covered by the new deal but rather in contravention of existing U.N. Security Council resolutions. Last month, a panel at the United Nations said Iran violated existing resolutions when it tested a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead in October.
But under the terms of the agreement reached in Vienna last year over Iran’s nuclear program, the missile tests, while violating existing resolutions, are actually not a violation of the new agreement because that accord is focused on restricting Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.
In fact, the October ballistic missile test violation would not contravene the nuclear agreement brokered with Iran once it goes into effect, which the Obama administration believes will happen soon. Under the new nuclear deal, Iran will be able to conduct ballistic missile tests – a concession to Iran included in the deal – meaning Iran could have simply waited until after implementation of the deal to do the test.
Verdict: True – Iran violated the sanctions, but not the nuclear weapons agreement
Reality Check: Rubio on Cruz’s opposition to ethanol
By Theodore Schleifer, CNN
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida claimed that Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas flipped on his support for ethanol, just one attack in a rapid-fire succession of them, but also the one that could matter the most in Iowa, which is a leading corn producer.
Cruz has always opposed the Renewable Fuel Standard, the fuel mandate supported by the state’s ethanol interests, calling it an example of corporate welfare pushed by “lobbyists and Democrats.” It’s an issue that Cruz has taken flak over all across Iowa, with voters frequently questioning him at town halls and retail stops concerned about his view.
Cruz admits that he did co-sponsor a 2013 bill that would’ve ended the RFS immediately. But his current position, as outlined in a 2014 comprehensive energy bill he introduced in the Senate, is to phase it out over five years, with his policy as of now to end the RFS by 2022.
The ethanol lobby sending negative mailers about Cruz’s record says that he did flip, but Cruz denies that, pointing to his bill instead of the one he co-sponsored. Cruz’s personal preference, however, has always been for a five-year phase-out.
Reality Check: Rubio says Obamacare is a certified job killer
By Tami Luhby and Kate Grise, CNN
Rubio said that Obamacare is “a certified job killer.”
In fact, Obamacare is not a job killer, according to the 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Education Trust survey released in September 2015.
The report showed that only 4% of employers with at least 50 employees said they shifted some staffers to part-time hours so they wouldn’t qualify for health care, and another 4% said they were reducing the number of full-time employees they planned to hire because of the cost of health benefits. In fact, that study showed that 10% of employers reported that they were changing workers from part-time to full-time status to enable them to obtain coverage.
An ADP Research Institute study had similar findings.
One reason may be that the economy has been improving. Some companies interviewed by ADP said they may increase their part-timers’ hours to retain talent and reduce training costs.
As to whether employers are cutting jobs because of Obamacare, it’s nearly impossible to determine from Labor Department data since the economy is recovering and adding jobs. The number of people who can only find part-time jobs has declined in recent years, signifying companies are hiring more full-time workers.
Marco Rubio and Chris Christie
Reality Check: Rubio claims Christie supported Sonia Sotomayor
By Marshall Cohen, CNN
Sen. Marco Rubio took a swipe at Chris Christie when he said the New Jersey governor backed President Barack Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court in 2009. Christie hastily denied the accusation.
But looking back at the record, Christie did in fact support Sotomayor’s nomination. It was July 2009, and Christie locked in a tight race for governor of New Jersey, a Democratic-leaning state. Perhaps in an attempt to appeal to moderate voters, Christie said “elections have consequences” and threw his support behind Obama’s nominee.
“While Judge Sotomayor would not have been my choice, President Obama has used his opportunity to fill a seat on the Supreme Court by ch