Dem convention speeches Day 4: CNN's Reality Check Team vets the claims

Fact check: Hillary Clinton on the economy
Fact check: Hillary Clinton on the economy

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    Fact check: Hillary Clinton on the economy

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Fact check: Hillary Clinton on the economy 02:20

Story highlights

  • The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the speeches
  • They selected key statements and rated them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it's complicated

(CNN)The Democratic Party gathered in Philadelphia on Thursday for the fourth night of its convention, and CNN's Reality Check Team put the speakers' statements and assertions to the test.

The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the speeches and selected key statements, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it's complicated.

Clinton on Trump

Reality Check: Clinton on Trump's 'I alone can fix it' claim
By Ali Foreman, CNN
Accepting her nomination for president, Hillary Clinton warned against supporting Donald Trump -- urging voters not to "believe anyone who says, 'I alone can fix it.'" She quoted Trump's line from his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week, adding that it "should set off alarm bells for all us."
Clinton emphasized the teamwork aspect she believes the presidency requires, asking, "Isn't he forgetting troops on the front lines. Police officers and firefighters who run toward danger. Doctors and nurses who care for us ... He's forgetting every last one of us. Americans don't say, 'I alone can fix it.' We say, 'We'll fix it together.'"
While Clinton's quote may be correct -- Trump did say "I alone can fix it" -- she took his remarks out of context. In that portion of his speech, Trump began by once again addressing Clinton's email server scandal and commented that the FBI's lack of legal action against Clinton indicated "that corruption has reached a level like never before." He stated that his perspective made him the only person capable of preventing powerful politicians -- like Clinton -- from taking advantage of "people that cannot defend themselves."
Clinton criticizes Trump for saying he can fix it alone
Clinton criticizes Trump for saying he can fix it alone

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Clinton criticizes Trump for saying he can fix it alone 01:20
Trump's full statement on being the only one able to fix this system included: "Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it. I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders."
Notably, the "I and only I" rhetoric is not new for Trump -- he has frequently claimed he alone can solve America's problems. But in the context of his convention speech, in which he references his perspective on Clinton's alleged corruption, we rate Clinton's claim true, but misleading.

Response to Dallas shootings

Reality Check: Clinton on Dallas police recruitment
By Kate Grise, CNN
Clinton applauded the Dallas community's response to its police chief's call for people to step up and join the police force to make a difference after the fatal shootings of five police officers.
"Police Chief David Brown asked the community to support his force, maybe even join them," she said. "And you know how the community responded? Nearly 500 people applied in just 12 days. That's how Americans answer when the call for help goes out."
After the July 7 shooting, Dallas Police Chief David Brown called protesters to "serve your communities."
"We're hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in," he said. "We'll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you're protesting about."
As CNN has reported, the department received 467 applications from July 8 to July 20. That was a 344% increase from the same dates in June. One-hundred and thirty-six applications were received from June 8 to June 20.
While her number is a hair high, we rate Clinton's claim true.

Economy

Reality Check: Clinton on economy
By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
Clinton praised President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for turning around America's economic fortunes.
"Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs. Twenty million more Americans with health insurance. And an auto industry that just had its best year ever. That's real progress," she said.
When Obama took office in January 2009, the country was in the midst of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Over the course of his administration, the economy has grown 2% a year. It's not spectacular growth, but the economy is certainly stronger than during the recession. We rate that claim as true.
The nation has added 14.8 million private-sector jobs between the low point of February 2010 and June 2016, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But if you look over Obama's two terms, the nation is up only 9.8 million jobs. We rate that claim as true, but misleading.
Health Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in May that 20 million more people have coverage now thanks to Obama's signature health reform law. It includes both people who have gained coverage on the Obamacare exchanges and through Medicaid expansion, as well as young adults who have been able to stay on their parents' plans until they turn 26. We rate that claim as true.
The auto industry sold more cars and trucks in 2015 than ever before. We rate that clam as true.

Trump and Atlantic City

Reality Check: Clinton on Trump's Atlantic City contractors
By Sonam Vashi, CNN
Clinton attacked Trump's record, saying, "In Atlantic City, 60 miles from here, you will find contractors and small businesses who lost everything because Donald Trump refused to pay his bills."
CNN reported on this claim last month.
In June, both USA Today and The Wall Street Journal published investigations on this subject, reporting that Trump's companies face hundreds of claims that the businessman has not paid contractors -- including waiters, painters, a banking firm and more.
USA Today looked at 60 lawsuits and more than 200 mechanic's liens, and interviewed businesses like an Atlantic City cabinet builder who claimed that the Trump Organization did not pay more than $80,000 owed to him, which started the closure of the builder's business. Hundreds of other contractors in the 1980s made similar claims. Additionally, the investigation found 21 citations against the now-defunct Trump Plaza for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act in the same city.
The Wall Street Journal cited a well-known controversy where contractors on Trump's Taj Mahal casino were told by the organization that they should agree to accept "less than full payment or risk becoming unsecured creditors in bankruptcy court," the paper reported. A year later, the Taj Mahal Casino went bankrupt.
In response to the reports, Trump told USA Today in an interview that he only stiffs or shorts bills if the work is unsatisfactory, and he told the Journal that he pays "thousands of bills on time."
These are just cases in Atlantic City, but both investigations cite examples in other cities such as Miami as well.
Based on the reporting of these two news outlets, we rate Clinton's claim as true.

Wages

Reality Check: Income growth
By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
Katie McGinty, who is running for Senate from Pennsylvania, said that when she was growing up, hard work meant success, but today that deal is off the table.
"Middle-class families aren't making a dime, in real terms, more than they were two decades ago. But we know costs have been going through the roof." she said.
Whether this is true or not depends on your time frame.
The most recent census data is from 2014, when median household income was $53,657. That's up 5.2% from 1994, when it was $51,006.
However, if you look at 20 years ago from today -- or 1996 -- median income was $53,345. While technically that's quite a few dimes higher, it is essentially flat.
McGinty is echoing a common refrain that wages have been stagnant in recent years. It's true that median income is still lower than its pre-Great Recession level peak of $57,357 in 2007.
Median income, however, has risen over the past year or two, according to estimates from Sentier Research, which was founded by two former Census Bureau employees. By June 2016, it had risen to $57,206.
While their data doesn't go back 20 years, it supports McGinty's statement that median income has been flat over the longer term. Sentier estimates the typical household earned $57,826 in June 2000, the earliest month they looked at.
As for costs, Americans are paying more for many things. CNNMoney compared the price of tuition, housing, Big Macs and movie tickets between 1995 and 2013 and found all had risen (on an inflation-adjusted basis) while median income remained the same.
We rate McGinty's claim mostly true. While median income rose 5.2% between 1994 and 2014, it's roughly the same as it was in 1996, according to census data. And Sentier Research found that median income in June 2016 is roughly the same as it was in 2000. And it's true costs for many things have risen since then.
Reality Check: LA's minimum wage
By Chip Grabow, CNN
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti focused on the challenges faced by America's cities. Garcetti touted his city's action on raising the minimum wage: "In Los Angeles, we saw too many Americans living in poverty, so we became the biggest city in America to raise the minimum wage to $15, inspiring other cities and states to follow."
In June 2015, Garcetti did indeed sign into law a bill that raises LA's minimum wage from $9 an hour to $15. But the increase is being phased in over a five-year period. As of July of this year, LA's minimum wage has only risen to $10.50 an hour.
Other cities also passed measures to raise the minimum wage, including San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago and Seattle. Seattle did so in 2013, before Los Angeles did, and its $15 rate will be implemented sooner, by 2018.
New York City, the country's biggest by population, will raise its minimum wage to $15 by the end of 2018 (business with 10 employees or fewer will have an extra year). The New York state legislature passed a similar law in March 2016.
While LA was the largest city at the time to enact a minimum wage increase, it is not yet up to $15 an hour, as Garcetti implies. Also, other cities like New York will phase in the $15 rate sooner than LA will.
Verdict: True, but misleading.
Reality Check: Clinton's minimum wage position
By Lisa Rose, CNN
Henrietta Ivey, a home care worker from Detroit, praised Clinton as an advocate for a higher minimum wage.
"I know she will fight to raise the minimum wage," Ivey said. "In Michigan, we are 'Fighting for 15,' a $15 minimum wage."
Clinton has indeed spoken out in support of setting a new bar for wages but she has waffled on the amount of the pay hike. Last November, she told an audience at a town hall in Iowa, "I favor a $12 minimum wage at the federal level."
A week after the town hall, she wrote a tweet with the hashtag #Fightfor15, a hat tip to a grass-roots labor group promoting a $15 minimum wage nationwide.
During a CNN debate in April, moderator Wolf Blitzer pressed Clinton to clarify her plans for the federal minimum wage. Clinton said that she was on board with the Fight for $15 movement but she then outlined some fine print, prompting an extended back-and-forth with Bernie Sanders.
"I am sure a lot of people are very surprised to learn that you supported raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour," Sanders said.
Clinton explained that her policy at the federal level would mirror New York's recent minimum wage increase, which establishes a $15 floor for workers in the New York City metro area and a $12.50 minimum wage for the rest of the state, where the cost of living is lower.
The increases will be phased in over the next five years and there are different timetables for employers in the city, suburbs and rural areas. Small businesses have a more staggered schedule than large companies. The New York law calls for pay statewide to eventually hit $15 but there's no established timeline yet for the increase.
After the debate, a minimum wage "fact check" was posted on Clinton's website.
"Hillary Clinton supports a $12 federal minimum wage but believes that the federal minimum is just that, and encourages states, cities, and workers through bargaining to go even higher, including a $15 minimum wage in places where it makes sense," the post says.
Ivey correctly states that Clinton's platform includes a raise for low-wage workers, so our verdict is true, but it's important to note that some geographic restrictions apply to her fight for $15.

Colorado's economy

Reality Check: John Hickenlooper on Colorado's economy
By Sonam Vashi, CNN
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper touted Colorado's economic record. "Today, Denver is the fastest-growing big city in America, and Colorado has the second-strongest economy in the country," he said.
Denver is the fastest-growing large city in the country, according to the Census Bureau. Denver had a 2.8% growth rate between 2014 and 2015, adding more than 18,000 people.
As for the state's economic strength, Hickenlooper is likely referring to a 2015 Business Insider ranking of the strength of state economies, which looked at 2015 unemployment rates, 2014 gross domestic product data and 2014 wages. Colorado ranked second based on the methodology, just after North Dakota, because Colorado had the biggest improvement in its housing market and had strong GDP growth.
Business Insider uses a somewhat broader measure of a state economy. Looking solely at the state's GDP, Colorado's economy rose at the fourth-fastest rate in the country, behind California, Oregon and Texas.
Since there are many ways to measure the strength of an economy, and not all will show that Colorado is the second strongest, Hickenlooper's claim is mostly true.

Auto bailout

Reality Check: Granholm on auto bailout
By Tami Luhby and Chris Isidore, CNNMoney
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm praised Obama for helping the auto industry in its time of need.
"(Obama) saved the American auto industry. Right, and then that renewed auto industry paid America back in full," Granholm said.
That's not true, actually. When the Treasury Department closed the books on the $45.9 billion bailout of General Motors in December 2013, taxpayers had lost more than $10 billion.
Treasury ultimately recouped $39 billion through the sale of shares, dividends and loan repayments since 2009. But the government pumped $49.5 billion into GM to help it get through a bankruptcy reorganization.
Taxpayers also lost about $1.3 billion on the bailout of Chrysler Group, which wrapped up in 2011.
Ultimately, though, the government may have saved money. The failure of GM and Chrysler would have cost the federal government between $39 billion to $105 billion in lost tax revenues as well as assistance to the unemployed, according to a study by the Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan think tank.
We rate Granholm's claim that the auto industry paid back taxpayers in full as false.

Demographics

Reality Check: Pelosi on Democrats looking like America
By Kate Grise, CNN
House Minority Leader Pelosi held up her caucus of Democrats in the House of Representatives as representative of the demographics of the country as a whole.
"We are a caucus proud that we look like 21st-century America; over 50% women, people of color and the LGBT community members," she said. "What a contrast to the restricted club that met in convention in Cleveland last week."
There are 188 Democrats in the House of Representatives and 247 Republicans.
The Democrats have 62 women, 74 people of color and six representatives who identify as LGBT in their caucus.
That breaks down to 33% female, 39% people of color, and 3% LGBT.
The population of the United States looks similar, but a little different: 50.8% female, 22.9% people of color, and 2.3% identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
The Republican caucus in the House of Representatives has 22 women, 11 people of color and no representatives who identify as LGBT.
That means that women make up 8.9% of the 247-person caucus, and people of color make up 4.4% of the Republican representatives.
We rate Pelosi's claim as mostly true because the Democratic caucus falls short of representing women, but is over-representative of people of color and those who identify as LGBT.

College debt

Reality Check: Clinton making college debt free for all
By Amy Gallagher, CNN
Social studies teacher David Wils said Clinton would "make college debt free for all."
Wils is correct that Clinton has stated a goal of making "debt-free college available to everyone." However, her specific plan only offers free tuition at public colleges for families making $125,000 or less. This means her specific proposal covers free tuition for only 80% of families. And tuition-free, of course, does nothing to solve the problem of the costs of room and board, fees, and books and supplies.
Some context here: Clinton's final plan is the direct result of the push and pull between her and Sanders during the Democratic primary. Sanders touted his plan for tuition-free public college and Clinton, at first, offered only free community college tuition.
When it was clear that Clinton was losing younger voters to Sanders, she shifted her position and offered a new proposal for free tuition at public colleges, but she added, "I don't want to make college free for Donald Trump's kids." With these specifics, her proposed plan does not cover families with household incomes over $125,000 a year, not exactly "Donald Trump's kids."
Therefore, we rate Wils' claim false.

Religious liberty

Reality Check: Abdul-Jabbar on religious liberty laws
By Jasmine Lee and Karl de Vries, CNN
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says recent religious freedom acts are the "opposite" of what founding father Thomas Jefferson wanted.
In brief remarks, Abdul-Jabbar cited Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, one of his most famous and important works.
"In 1777, Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which later became a model for the First Amendment. Today's so-called 'religious freedom' acts, like the one signed by Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, they are the opposite of what Jefferson wanted because they allow discrimination," Abdul-Jabbar said.
So are today's religious freedom bills the opposite of what Jefferson wanted?
The statute, passed by the Virginia General Assembly in January 1786, is seen as a precursor for First Amendment protections by declaring the need for separation of church and state and the right to exercise one's conscience.
"No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities," Jefferson wrote.
Religious liberty laws, meanwhile, seek to ensure that individuals and businesses may operate in keeping with their faith. They've been used as legal remedies to Obamacare and its requirement that businesses provide birth control to their employees through health insurance, as well as the legalization of same-sex marriage laws.
Proponents say it is a protection of First Amendment rights. Opponents say it is discriminatory.
Pence, Trump's running mate, signed a controversial religious freedom bill in Indiana last year that clarified that the government can't "substantially burden a person's exercise of religion" and that individuals who feel like their religious beliefs have been or could be "substantially burdened" can lean on this law to fend off lawsuits.
The measure soon attracted national controversy. Soon after signing it into law, Pence, under heavy pressure from LGBT groups, signed a "fix" for the bill prohibiting businesses from using the law as a defense in court for refusing "to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing" to any customers based on "race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or United States military service."
In defending the bill in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Pence cited none other than Jefferson.
"As Thomas Jefferson noted, 'No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of civil authority,'" Pence wrote.
So who's right?
Abdul-Jabbar didn't point to any particular passage in the statute, but he might have been referring to Jefferson's view that "our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry."
Jefferson, however, believed that "proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right."
He also railed against compelling people "to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical."
As for Indiana's religious freedom law, it didn't seek to mandate a particular point of view, but shield those holding certain beliefs from being legally liable.
Furthermore, Jefferson was talking about the government discriminating against citizens. His Virginia Statue doesn't say anything about protecting private citizens' religious freedom from other individuals, which is what the recent crop of religious freedom laws are arguably about. At least, that's what many state supreme courts have found, for instance in the case of bakers and florists who refuse to service same-sex weddings.
Whether religious freedom laws are discriminatory is a matter of opinion, but it's certainly not clear that Jefferson's statute is at odds with them, making Abdul-Jabbar's claim far from a slam dunk. We rate it false.

Pat Toomey

Reality Check: Toomey's economic policy
By Ali Foreman, CNN
The Democratic Party -- currently fighting to gain a majority in the Senate -- gave Katie McGinty a big platform for her upcoming race at the last night of the DNC. McGinty launched attacks against opponent Sen. Pat Toomey -- whom she will battle in November for a Pennsylvania seat -- spotlighting his financial policy on a national stage. Given the big audience, our team decided McGinty's claims deserved a full-blown Reality Check.
McGinty first emphasized Toomey's six-year investment career, claiming he had "made his millions on Wall Street" before launching into specific criticisms of his economic policy.
While Toomey has certainly benefited from the stock market, how much he's made remains unclear. From 1984 to 1990, Toomey worked as an entry-level trader for Chemical Bank and Morgan Grenfell. According to a Politifact investigation, he would have made approximately $260,000, not including bonuses, during his stint on Wall Street.
Even if you factor in generous bonuses, it is unlikely Toomey topped $2 million as a trader. He is, however, currently valued at $4.8 million by the Center for Responsive Politics -- which given his career history, almost certainly comes entirely from investment banking.
In an attack ad earlier this month, McGinty claimed Wall Street "had given Toomey $2.7 million in contributions." This estimate is confirmed -- and, in fact, exceeded -- by the Center for Responsive Politics. As of today, they report Toomey has received $2,823,902 from the Securities and Investment industry throughout his career. Although these contributions confirm Toomey has received millions from Wall Street in political donations, hard numbers on his personal earnings remain unclear.
For these reasons, we rate McGinty's claim as true.
McGinty also delved into details on Toomey's voting record. "He's still trying to sell us the same old trickle-down. We're not buying it. We know that trickle-down only benefits those who are already on the top. Trust the stock market with your hard-earned Social Security, Pat Toomey says. Trust the wheelers and dealers with your savings and you will be living large."
In 2012, Toomey wrote an opinion piece for Philly.com, disavowing Obama's proposed tax increases and advocating benefits for the wealthy. Toomey proposed: "The tax side of this framework would include new revenue from top earners, provided it results from pro-growth tax reform that lowers marginal tax rates and offsets the lost revenue by limited deductions, loopholes and write-offs." This proposal is strongly in line with traditional trickle-down philosophy and confirms McGinty's assertion is true.
As for trusting the stock market with "your hard-earned Social Security," McGinty is likely referring to Toomey's 2010 Social Security privatization proposal, which targets a specific group of people. Democrat Joe Sestak, opposing Toomey in the 2010 midterm election, accused him of putting "Wall Street profits ahead of protecting Pennsylvania seniors."
In an interview with The Times-Tribune, Toomey said Sestak had "mischaracterized" his plans and clarified that any change for the elderly would be "outrageous and unreasonable." Instead, the plan was intended to "allow younger workers to voluntarily divert a portion of their Social Security payroll tax into private savings accounts they would control and invest in any way they want."
If individuals did not want to participate, Toomey said they "could stay with the current system of a guaranteed benefit." McGinty's statement that Toomey encourages trusting the stock market with Social Security earnings is generally accurate, but leaves out some important context regarding whom Toomey's philosophy targets. That makes McGinty's second claim true, but misleading.

Trump and FDR

Reality Check: Trump defending Japanese internment camps
By Lisa Rose, CNN
Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro said Trump has defended the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII.
Castro's claim is rooted in comments the business mogul made last year to justify his proposed travel ban for Muslims. It's a bit of a stretch to characterize Trump's statements as a defense of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's proclamations ordering the imprisonment of Japanese immigrants in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.
On ABC's "Good Morning America," Trump said Roosevelt is remembered as a great president despite his legacy of Japanese internment.
"This is a president who is highly respected by all," said Trump. "If you look at what he was doing, it was far worse (than the travel ban)."
As a follow up, the candidate was asked whether he supported bringing back policies similar to Roosevelt's wartime restrictions.
"I don't want to bring (them) back at all," said Trump. "I don't like doing it at all."
During a separate appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Trump declined to say whether he thought the establishment of Japanese internment camps violated American values.
"I don't want to respond," Trump said. "You know why? That's not what we're doing."
Trump can scramble words like Jackson Pollock splattered paint, allowing for a broad array of interpretations to his patter. But we can't find anything in his commentary that suggests he has a favorable view of Japanese internment. We rate this claim false.