News & Politics

7 of the Worst Distortions and Outright Lies of the GOP Debate

Fox Business manages to out-Fox Fox News.

Ted Cruz.
Photo Credit: CNBC

Thursday night Fox Business hosted another GOP debate in which it teed up softballs and acted as though what was good for the stock market and the Fortune 500 was automatically good for the average American. Indeed, it's no surprise longtime Wall Street hack and debate moderator Maria Bartiromo would play right into the Republicans' wheelhouse of low taxes and trickledown ideas, but despite this friendly environment the Republican candidates still managed to unleash some serious whoppers.

Here are seven of the most naked and shameless.

1. Trump says refugees and migrants are "strong, powerful men."

This is categorically untrue. The majority of the more than 4.6 million Syrian refugees are women and children. Of the refugees who arrived by boat, over half are women or children. According to the U.N., only 22.7% of refugees of Middle Eastern origin are men older than 18. This is irrelevant to Donald Trump, who was more concerned with race- and Islam-baiting than making a coherent point on the dangers posed by Syrian immigrants. 

2. Christie: Obama allowed Iran to kidnap American sailors, reflecting American weakness.

This is one of the more disingenuous attacks of the night, and it's been debunked by numerous outlets over the past 48 hours. The American sailors in question had sailed into sovereign Iranian waters due to a navigation error, were disarmed—as is protocol for all countries—fed and housed, and then summarily released to U.S. custody after an investigation revealed it was indeed an honest mistake. No harm, no foul. But hacks like Christie and Cruz couldn't resist using the incident as a way to demagogue Obama on Iran. It's a topic that, not coincidentally, aligns with the interest of Republican super-donor Sheldon Adelson, who rewards anti-Iran candidates with millions in donations.

3. Rubio insists Hillary Clinton lied to families of the victims of the Benghazi attacks in 2012.

While some family members have indeed accused Clinton of lying to them about the Benghazi attacks, others have insisted Clinton was forthcoming. Their communication, according to the New York Times, remains largely private, so it's impossible to tell one way or the other. In any event, it's a highly contestable claim that is far from a settled matter. The families, like any large group composed of various parties, don't have a set opinion on anything.

4. Cruz says he disclosed his bank loans for his 2012 Senate campaign. 

On Wednesday the New York Times published a blockbuster claim that Ted Cruz had received a cushy loan from Goldman Sachs while his wife worked there, a claim Cruz denied Thursday night. According to the Times reporter who broke the story, it's not that simple:

Senator Ted Cruz is conflating two types of financial reports. One is the annual personal disclosure in which members of Congress list their assets and income. On those reports, he listed the bank loans — without indicating that they were used for his campaign.

But it is the other type of report, which campaigns must file with the Federal Election Commission, that is at issue. On those reports, Mr. Cruz failed to disclose any bank loans he obtained to finance his Senate race.

5. Chris Christie said he didn't support Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court .

This is demonstrably false. Christie supported Sotomayor's nomination in 2009, according to reports.

6. Cruz said "not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan."

Manhattan is home to over 83,000 Republicans, and when one adjusts for wealth the number is no doubt much higher. Cruz's use of the term "New York values" while taking a shot at Trump was met with widespread criticism on Twitter as being an anti-Semitic dog whistle. 

7. Christie doubles down on his claim that he did not support Planned Parenthood.

But he did. In a 1994 article, he claimed, "I support Planned Parenthood privately with my personal contribution and that should be the goal of any such agency, to find private donations. It's also no secret that I am pro-choice....But you have to examine all the agencies needing county donations and prioritize them. I would consider all groups looking for funding, but there is a limit and we have to pick and choose."

Christie has been insisting he pledged no such support, but the article is quite clear: either he was misquoted or he is now lying.

h/t New York Times and Politifact.

Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst at FAIR and contributing writer for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @AdamJohnsonNYC.

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