AP: Fact-Checking MSNBC’s New Hampshire Democratic Debate

AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton cast the financial industry as an adversary in her presidential campaign—despite the money that industry has poured into her White House effort. Bernie Sanders once again mischaracterized the share of the wealth taken by the very richest Americans.

A look at some of the claims in their latest Democratic presidential debate:

CLINTON on Wall Street: “They are trying to beat me in this primary.”

THE FACTS: Wall Street is not the anti-Clinton monolith she implied. People in the securities and investment industry gave more than $17 million last year to super political action committees supporting her presidential run and nearly $3 million directly to her campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org, a campaign-finance watchdog. Wall Street is the top industry donating to her effort, ahead of the legal profession, non-profit institutions and others.

Clinton is taking heat from Sanders over her Wall Street ties, which go back decades.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Clinton has brought in more money from the financial sector during her four federal campaigns — for Senate and president — than her husband, Bill Clinton, did in his quarter-century political career. In all, more than $44 million was raised for her campaigns. This includes more than $1 out of every $10 of the money contributed for her 2016 campaign.

Clinton has often talked about how much she has raised from teachers, as opposed to big corporate interests. But the $2.93 million given directly to her campaign last year by people in the securities and investment industry surpassed the $2.88 million given by people in education, OpenSecrets found.

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SANDERS: “Almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent.”

THE FACTS: This has been a common mantra by Sanders but it relies on outdated numbers. In the first five years of the economic recovery, 2009-2014, the richest 1 percent captured 58 percent of income growth, according to Emmanuel Saez, a University of California economist whose research Sanders uses.

That’s a hefty share, but far short of “almost all.” In the first three years of the recovery, 2009-2012, the richest 1 percent did capture 91 percent of the growth in income. But part of that gain reflected an accounting maneuver as the wealthiest pulled income forward to 2012 in advance of tax increases that took effect in 2013 on the biggest earners.

Many companies paid out greater bonuses to their highest-paid employees in 2012 before the higher tax rates took effect. Those bonuses then fell back in 2013. And in 2014, the bottom 99 percent finally saw incomes rise 3.3 percent, the biggest gain in 15 years. Average wages also showed signs of picking up last year as the unemployment rate fell, suggesting the bottom 99 percent may have also seen gains in 2015.

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CLINTON: “I am against American combat troops being in Syria and Iraq. I support special forces. I support trainers. I support the air campaign.”

THE FACTS: Clinton makes a dubious distinction. Although it can be debated whether certain types of military personnel fit the definition of “combat” troops, there is little doubt that special operations forces like those now operating both in Syria and Iraq do.

In the fall, a special operations soldier was killed in a firefight in Iraq during a joint U.S.-Kurdish commando raid on an Islamic State prison.

The Pentagon recently sent up to 200 special operations troops to Iraq to carry out a range of risky missions, including raids against Islamic State targets.

Pilots of fighter aircraft, bombers and other warplanes that have flown over Iraq and Syria, dropping bombs and missiles on Islamic State targets on a daily basis, certainly are engaged in combat.

Clinton said she supports Obama’s reluctance to take the lead in ground combat in Iraq and Syria. But many military members are now engaged in combat.

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CLINTON: “I am not going to make promises I can’t keep. I am not going to talk about big ideas like single-payer and then not level with people about how much it will cost.”

THE FACTS: Clinton was taking aim at Sanders’ universal health care coverage plan that he calls “Medicare for all,” and a new independent analysis suggests that she was correct about his understating the cost.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that the tax increases in Sanders’ plan would only cover about 75 percent of the estimated spending under the plan, creating at least a $3 trillion hole over 10 years.

The analysis was based on Sanders’ estimate of how much his plan would spend. If that turns out to be low, then the financing gap would grow.

The group represents deficit foes from both political parties. Leon Panetta, a CIA director and a defense secretary under President Barack Obama, is a co-chairman of its board.

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Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Robert Burns contributed to this report.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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