Story highlights

The Republican candidates for president gathered Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina, for their final debate before the Palmetto State's primary next week

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

Washington CNN —  

The Republican candidates for president gathered Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina, for their final debate before the Palmetto State’s primary next week, 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.

Donald Trump

Reality Check: Trump on Bush taking his pants off

By Theodore Schleifer, CNN

After former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush accused Donald Trump of using inappropriate language, Trump retorted that “nobody reports” that Bush said “two days ago” that he “would take his pants off and moon everybody, and that’s fine.”

Not exactly.

In an interview a week ago with The Boston Globe, Bush expressed frustration with his lack of press coverage in recent months.

“I could drop my pants,” he told the paper. “Moon the whole crowd. Everybody would be aghast, except the press guys would never notice.”

The comment by Bush was obviously reported – it was made in a newspaper interview. And it was not “two days ago” – the interview was published on Feb. 6, 2016.

Bush was not saying he planned to moon the crowd, but rather speaking rhetorically and saying that even if he did, it would not garner media coverage.

Verdict: False.

Reality Check: Trump claims he opposed Iraq War

By Laura Koran, CNN

Trump said, “I’m the only one on this stage that said do not go into Iraq. Do not attack Iraq. Nobody else on this stage said that. I said it loud and strong. And I was in the private sector. I wasn’t a politician, fortunately, but I said it, and I said it loud and clear, you’ll destabilize the Middle East. That’s exactly what happened.”

Trump often touts the claim hat he objected to the war in Iraq in the early days. But while he may have held that view, the notion he said so “loud and strong” in the lead-up to the war has been cast in doubt.

The Washington Post seems to have the earliest quote from him on the subject. Trump told the paper at a 2003 Oscars after-party days after the invasion that “the war’s a mess.”

He was more vehement in an August 2004 Esquire Magazine interview, saying of the invasion: “I would never have handled it that way. Does anybody really believe that Iraq is going to be a wonderful democracy where people are going to run down to the voting box and gently put in their ballot and the winner is happily going to step up to lead the country? C’mon.”

Trump has also tweeted the link to a July 2004 Reuters article titled “Donald Trump Would ‘Fire’ Bush Over Iraq Invasion” to emphasize his opposition.

But these statements were made after the war began, mostly in 2004. There’s no indication he said anything along the lines of “Do not attack Iraq,” before the invasion began, as he claims.

Verdict: False.

Reality Check: Trump on Social Security recipients older than 106

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney

Asked how he would fix Social Security, Trump said he would eliminate waste, fraud and abuse. He noted that the Social Security Administration has many centenarians on its rolls.

“We have in Social Security right now thousands and thousands of people that are over 106 years old. Now, you know they don’t exist. They don’t exist. There’s tremendous waste, fraud, and abuse, and we’re going to get it,” Trump said.

Actually, the Social Security Administration has 6.5 million people over the age of 112 with Social Security numbers but no dates of death, according to a Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General report from March 2015.

“This missing death information could result in erroneous payments made by federal benefit-paying agencies that rely on the DMF (Death Master File) to detect inaccurate or unreported deaths. The missing death information will also hinder private industry as well as state and local governments’ ability to identify and prevent identity fraud,” the report said.

However, “almost none of these number-holders remained in current payment status,” the inspector general said. So correcting the record likely won’t save Social Security much money and help keep the system solvent.

Many politicians like to say they’ll fix the federal government’s problems by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. But experts say not only is that very difficult to do, but it probably won’t make a big dent in solving the nation’s fiscal issues.

Verdict: It is true that there are many very elderly people in the Social Security database, but false that he could address the program’s financial shortfall by removing them.

Jeb Bush

Reality Check: Obama blames George Bush for Iraq problems

By Sonam Vashi, CNN

In response to Trump, who said that President George W. Bush knew there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Jeb Bush said, “So here’s the deal. I’m sick and tired of Barack Obama blaming my brother for all of the problems that he’s had.”

We found several instances that Obama has blamed the Bush administration for problems in Iraq.

First, a little background: in 2008, Bush reluctantly signed the Status of Forces argument, which set a December 2011 deadline for the withdrawal of troops in Iraq. While Obama had three years to work toward a new agreement to possibly delay that withdrawal, negotiations hit a wall over the issue of ensuring that U.S. military personnel would be granted immunity from criminal proceedings.

In August 2014, at a press conference on ISIS amid the Mount Sinjar siege, a reporter asked whether the President had any second thoughts about his decision to pull ground troops out of Iraq. Obama responded, “What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision. Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government. In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government … And the Iraqi government, based on its political considerations, in part because Iraqis were tired of a U.S. occupation, declined to provide us those assurances.”

And again, last June, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded to a question about whether Obama should accept responsibility for ISIS’ rise. Earnest said, “(al Qaeda in Iraq) didn’t exist until the United States had invaded Iraq in the first place, under the leadership of the previous administration. What’s also true is that out of the remnants of the defeated (al Qaeda) sprang ISIL. And the primary responsibility for that actually lies at the feet of Prime Minister Maliki, who failed to govern Iraq in an inclusive way, but rather, because of his failed leadership, allowed sectarian divisions to emerge and weaken that country and create an environment where ISIL was able to make surprising and significant gains across the countryside.”

While the President hasn’t placed the blame fully on Bush, it’s clear that Obama has blamed the Bush administration for many of the problems in Iraq. We’ll leave it up to our readers to decide which president truly deserves the blame for the situation in Iraq, but in the meantime, we’re rating Jeb Bush’s claim as mostly true.

Reality Check: Bush on job creation record in Florida

By Chip Grabow, CNN

When the topic turned to the economy, Bush bragged about his job creation record while serving eight years as governor of Florida. Bush said the $19 billion in tax cuts he approved “stimulated seven out of the eight years (and) Florida led the nation in job growth.”

So what is Bush’s job creation record during his term from January 1999 to January 2007? According to Sean Snaith, an economist at the University of Central Florida, Bush created 1.3 million jobs. When Bush’s term ended, Florida’s unemployment rate was 3.4%, below the national rate then of 4.4%. As CNN Money previously reported, Bush privatized many government jobs and the state was flush with job growth during his term.

A look at Bureau of Labor Statistics data confirms Bush’s claim. For non-farm jobs, from 2000 to 2007 (seven of eight years of Bush’s term), Florida led the nation in job growth, creating 1.1 million new jobs. In 1999, however, California led the nation, creating 1.48 million jobs compared with Florida’s 1.33 million.

Based on that BLS data, we rate Bush’s claim as true.

Ted Cruz

Reality Check: Cruz on arming the Kurds

By Marshall Cohen, CNN

Asked about his strategy to fight ISIS, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the Kurds would play a key role.

“They are fighting ISIS right now, they are winning victories right now,” Cruz said. “ISIS is using American military equipment they’ve seized in Iraq, and the Obama administration refuses to arm the Kurds, the Peshmerga, fighting forces who have been longtime allies. We ought to be arming them and letting them fight.”

The Kurds are an ethnic group that is spread across parts of Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran. They’ve emerged as one of the most effective and organized fighting forces that have directly engaged ISIS in northern Iraq and Syria. But contrary to Cruz’s claim, they’ve done it with assistance from the United States.

Iraqi Kurds do receive weapons and equipment from the Pentagon, indirectly channeled through the central Iraqi government in Baghdad because of sovereignty issues. In addition to that assistance, CNN reported in 2014 that the CIA was covertly providing arms directly to Iraqi Kurdish forces.

On the Syrian side, the U.S. does not provide weapons to Kurdish forces there. But the U.S. does provide weapons and ammunition to some opposition groups comprised of Sunni Arabs. And those groups coordinate with the Syrian Kurds, under the umbrella of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

So, what’s the bottom line? Cruz said the U.S. “refuses to arm the Kurds,” and that is clearly not true.

Verdict: False.

Reality Check: Cruz on percentage of Americans working

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney

Cruz repeated his claim that “we have the lowest percentage of Americans working today in any year since 1977.”

Last month, 59.6% of Americans aged 16 and older were employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s higher than it was in 1977, when it ranged from 57% to 58.7%.

In one of January’s debates, Cruz voiced the claim in response to a question about whether America’s economy is as strong as President Barack Obama said it was in his State of the Union address. The share of Americans employed during Obama’s terms has ranged from as low as 58.2% in mid-2011 to as high as 60.6% when Obama took office in January 2009.

Since 1977, the highest share of employed Americans was in April 2000, when 64.7% had a job.

However, the overall percentage of adults who are working isn’t the best measure since the number of retirees is growing as the nation ages. So let’s look at the share of prime working age adults (ages 25 to 54) who are employed. Some 77.7% of these Americans were employed in January, compared to between 71% and 72.8% in 1977.

By no measure is the share of Americans employed at its lowest point since 1977.

Verdict: False.

Reality Check: Cruz on Trump and Democrats

By Sonam Vashi, CNN

Cruz cited a laundry list of Democrats that he said Trump had supported.

“And you know how I know that Donald’s Supreme Court justices will be liberals?” Cruz asked. “Because his entire life he supported liberals from Jimmy Carter to Hillary Clinton to John Kerry. In 2004, he contributed to John Kerry. Nobody who cares about judges would contribute to John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid. That’s what Donald Trump has done.”

Let’s go through them.

Trump has supported Clinton. He donated to Clinton and the Clinton Foundation in the mid-2000s.

He also gave $2,000 to Kerry, now the secretary of state, in 2004 and $4,000 to Schumer, a Democratic New York senator, in 2010, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Trump also donated $4,800 in 2010 to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, just some of the $10,400 he’s given to Reid in total.

But as for Jimmy Carter? The 39th president said he’d pick Trump over Cruz a couple of weeks ago, and Trump said Carter had “good taste.”

But previous to that, Carter has said that Trump’s comments were “very stupid” and Trump has said that Carter was “incompetent.”

We can’t find any real evidence of support by Trump for Carter … especially since Trump accidentally said that Carter was dead in 2014.

Verdict: Mostly true.

Reality Check: Cruz on tax plan

By Lisa Rose, CNN

Cruz delivered an expansive description of his tax plan during the debate. He left a few details out, however. We’ll take this point by point.

First, he declared his plan for a 16% business flat tax is not comparable to a value added tax, a tax on businesses and consumer spending. “The business flat tax is not a sales tax,” Cruz said. “It is a tax of 16% imposed fairly and evenly across the board on all businesses.”

The Tax Foundation, a conservative-leaning think tank, has described Cruz’s business flat tax as a close cousin of the VAT tax, built into the cost of goods and services rather than added on a transactional basis like sales taxes. The broad based tax could lead to price hikes that will hurt lower-income Americans and small businesses, according to an analysis by Forbes.

Next, the Texas senator said he will abolish corporate income taxes, payroll taxes and the estate tax (or “the death tax,” in Cruz parlance). He also stated he will end the penalties associated with not signing up for the Affordable Care Act. The Tax Foundation acknowledged Cruz’s cuts could add $3.6 trillion to the national debt over 10 years.

Lastly, Cruz said his plan will “produce 4.9 million new jobs … increase capital investment by 44% and … lift everyone’s incomes by double digits.” He gets those numbers, again, from the Tax Foundation. When the group analyzed Cruz’s plan, it crunched the numbers using a “dynamic” model that speculates tax cuts will give the whole economy a boost. The Tax Foundation’s calculation hinged on the assumption that tax cuts will add $2.8 trillion to the economy, according to the Washington Post.

Cruz described the Tax Foundation as “nonpartisan.” Google suggests otherwise. The group is affiliated with conservative billionaires, Charles and David Koch. Its website contains such headlines as “Lefties Attack Paul Ryan for Bringing Reality to Budgeting.”

While the senator accurately recited the Tax Foundation’s overall findings, he failed to mention a few trillion-dollar caveats, or the definite political bent of what he called a non-partisan organization.

Verdict: True, but misleading.

Marco Rubio

Reality Check: Rubio on Russia occupying 20% of Georgia

By Ryan Browne, CNN National Security Producer

In discussing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Eastern Europe, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said that Russia controlled significant territory in Georgia and Ukraine.

Rubio said: “Rebuilding and reinvigorating NATO in the European theater, particularly in Central Europe, in Eastern Europe where Vladimir Putin is now threatening the territory of multiple countries, already controls 20% of Georgia and a significant percentage of Ukraine.”

Rubio is referring to the Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The area of both provinces is about 18.2% of overall Georgian territory.

In the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and formation of the independent Republic of Georgia, secessionists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia fought battles with the central Georgian government in a bid to obtain independence.

While the fighting eventually ended in a ceasefire, the separatists maintained their own autonomous and unrecognized governments.

In August 2008, then-Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili sent troops to regain control over the Russian-backed self-proclaimed autonomous region. Russia responded by intervening and sent thousands of troops into South Ossetia and invaded Georgian territory, threatening the capital of Tbilisi.

During the five-day conflict, nearly 200 Georgian military personnel and 228 civilians were killed. Sixty-seven Russian servicemen and 365 South Ossetian militia members and civilians also lost their lives.

Russia recognized the two provinces as independent countries soon after but only three other countries have followed suit.

Russia maintains troops in both regions, and in 2009, assumed control of the South Ossetia-Russia border. In 2011, the European Union’s parliament passed a resolution that labeled the Russian presence as an “occupying force.”

Verdict: True.

Reality Check: Rubio on ‘lame duck’ presidents making Supreme Court nominations

By Will Cadigan, CNN

During an opening round of questions that focused on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and his successor’s potential effect on the political landscape leading up to the 2016 election, Rubio said “It’s been over 80 years since a lame duck president has appointed a Supreme Court justice.”

The definition of what makes a president a “lame duck” varies, but it is generally considered to be a president who is in the final period of their term and is not eligible to run for re-election.

Rubio is right that no president who fits a narrow description of a “lame duck” has appointed a justice to the Supreme Court in the past 80 years. However, President Ronald Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy on Nov 30, 1987, and he was confirmed on Feb 3, 1988 – the last two years of Reagan’s final term. Whether that constitutes as “lame duck” is up for debate.

In addition, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt successfully nominated Frank Murphy to the court in 1940, an election year that was the final one of his second term.

Why was this not a “lame duck” appointment? Roosevelt at the time was running for (and eventually won) a third term as president, the only commander in chief to ever do so.

The 22nd Amendment, passed in 1951, established the two-term limit for the presidency and created the “lame duck” period that we know today.

That being said, in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson was a “lame duck” and unsuccessfully nominated Abe Fortas to serve as chief justice and Homer Thornberry to fill Fortas’ seat on the court. Fortas’ nomination was filibustered in the Senate and eventually withdrawn. Thornberry’s nomination was withdrawn as well as there was no vacancy left to be filled.

Rubio’s time frame of “80 years” seems to be a nod to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley’s statement on Scalia’s death in which he said, “The fact of the matter is that it’s been standard practice over the last nearly 80 years that Supreme Court nominees are not nominated and confirmed during a presidential election year.”

So depending on your definition of “lame duck,” Rubio is mostly correct. No lame duck president has appointed a Supreme Court Justice in the last 80 years, but the “lame duck presidency” has only existed for 65 years.

Verdict: Mostly true.

Ted Cruz & Marco Rubio

Cruz and Rubio engaged in a rapid-fire exchange over immigration, and chock full of claims from both candidates. CNN’s Reality Check Team teased out three important claims.

Reality Check: Cruz on Rubio and executive actions on amnesty

By Eve Bower, CNN

Cruz said that, as president, he would “rescind every single illegal executive action” Obama has issued. He implied that one he specifically intended to rescind was a 2012 executive action that granted relief from deportation to young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. The action is formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

And while Cruz stated his intention to repeal the “illegal” action, he claimed that Rubio had appeared on the Spanish-language news channel Univision saying he would not rescind Obama’s action.

While it is true that Rubio did not call for DACA’s immediate repeal, a review of his significant statements on the subject reveal that he has been consistent in his opposition to the action, even if a bit vague on a timeline for its elimination.

In the April appearance on Univision that Cruz seems to have referenced, Rubio said in Spanish that DACA “is going to have to end.”

During in an October appearance on Fusion, a Univision subsidiary, Rubio said in English that he was not calling for DACA to be revoked “tomorrow or this week or right away.”

And in November, Rubio appeared to state definitively that, even in the absence of other immigration reform, he would support an end to DACA.

One side note: Though a president needs to only issue a new executive action to “rescind” a previous executive action, Cruz’s claim about his own intentions is misleading. Whether DACA is legal is a matter currently before the Supreme Court and a decision is expected by early summer. If the Supreme Court strikes it down, it will not be in place for the next president to “rescind,” and if the court upholds it, the action can no longer be considered “illegal,” as Cruz claims.

We rate Cruz’s claims about Rubio to be false.

Reality Check: Cruz says Rubio supported in-state tuition for DREAMERs in Florida

By Tom LoBianco, CNN

Cruz accused Rubio of supporting undocumented immigrants by pushing for in-state tuition for children who are undocumented immigrants, DREAMERs, when he was speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives.

“Marco has a long record when it comes to amnesty. As speaker in the (Florida) statehouse, he supported in-state tuition for illegal immigrants,” Cruz said.

Rubio co-sponsored a Florida measure in 2004 that would have granted in-state tuition status for children who were undocumented immigrants if they met certain requirements, including a baseline grade point average.

He defended the decision in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” last month.

“On the bill you talked about, it was a very narrowly drafted bill. You had to have a certain GPA, you had to live in the U.S. a long time, you had to graduate from a Florida high school,” Rubio told ABC. “It was very narrowly tailored to high-performing students who found themselves in a situation where they were brought here by their parents when they were 5, didn’t even speak another language except English and therefore couldn’t attend college because they were being charged like they were from out of state. They still had to pay for college but they paid for what people paid when they lived in Florida.”

But Rubio did not become speaker until 2006, well after he co-sponsored the in-state tuition measure.

Verdict: Mostly true.

Reality Check: Rubio says Cruz couldn’t understand his Univision interview because he doesn’t speak Spanish

By Theodore Schleifer, CNN

Rubio quickly fired back at Cruz, saying he couldn’t have understood his Univision interview because he doesn’t speak Spanish.

“I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn’t speak Spanish,” Rubio said.

In a June 2012 appearance on Fox News, Cruz said, “my Spanish is lousy.” He has said elsewhere that he grew up speaking “Spanglish.”

While Cruz’s Spanish may be far from perfect, he does speak the language. It’s not something he touts often, but occasionally on the campaign trail he will speak in Spanish.

Verdict: False.

Donald Trump & Marco Rubio

Reality Check: Trump and Rubio on killing Osama bin Laden

By Kate Grise, CNN

During a bitter exchange between Trump and Rubio, the two candidates argued over which former president missed the opportunity to kill terrorist leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and whether or not the attacks on 9/11 could have been prevented.

“The World Trade Center came down because Bill Clinton didn’t kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance to kill him,” Rubio said.

“And George Bush, by the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA,” Trump challenged.

Clinton did have an opportunity to kill bin Laden with an airstrike in 1998, but didn’t. He said so while speaking to a group of businessmen in Australia during a paid speech on September 10, 2001, the day before the 9/11 attacks. He said that he decided against the strike because he was concerned about civilian casualties.

George W. Bush’s administration has been widely criticized for not pursuing bin Laden more aggressively. A 2009 Senate Foreign Relations Committee report found that bin Laden was “within our grasp at Tora Bora” in late 2001 during Bush’s administration.

That report found that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others in the administration rejected requests to launch assaults or provide U.S. troops to block possible mountain pathways used by bin Laden even though the commander’s “world had shrunk to a complex of caves and tunnels carved into a mountainous section of Eastern Afghanistan known as Tora Bora.”

According to the report, Rumsfeld said that he was concerned that sending U.S. troops into Afghanistan would create an anti-American backlash that could fuel a widespread insurgency.

By the time 2007 rolled around, there was new intelligence that suggested bin Laden was planning to venture from his hideout in Pakistan to a meeting of al Qaeda and Taliban commanders and soldiers in Afghanistan. The Bush administration did plan a large airstrike mission, but later decided to scale back the attack to a smaller raid amid doubts that bin Laden would be at the meeting. At the end of the day, bin Laden did not show up to the meeting, according to the New York Times.

Could Bush have done more to protect the country from the 9/11 attacks, as Trump implied? Bush received a memo one month before the attacks that said the FBI had detected “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings.” It did not warn of the 9/11 attacks specifically or the use of airplanes as weapons – just the possibility of hijackings, according to the Bush administration.

Both Clinton and Bush were presented with a possible target, and both seem to have assessed the risk to civilians, U.S. servicemembers and others while also considering the quality of the intelligence they were being given. It should be noted that the U.S. military did not widely use drones before 2001, so airstrikes were less precise.

Had either president successfully carried out a plan to kill bin Laden, it is not clear that his death would have stopped the attacks on 9/11. The 9/11 Commission’s report found that of the 26 al Qaeda terrorist conspirators, the first of them began working on getting into the country in April 1999 – two years and five months before the attacks. The hijackers who acted as pilots began to arrive in January 2000 and some of the other operatives arrived between April and June 2001. The last of the terrorists had arrived in the United States by August 2001.

Ultimately, bin Laden was killed in a 2011 raid in Pakistan authorized by President Barack Obama.

So, did both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have the chance to kill bin Laden? The short answer is yes, it’s true. Did the World Trade Center come down because they failed to do so? It’s complicated and we may never know the answer because we do not know when the plan to attack the World Trade Center was hatched. Given the intelligence that Bush had at the time, it is hard to say what he could have done to prevent the terror attacks on 9/11.

Ben Carson

Reality Check: Did Carson really quote Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin?

By Amy Gallagher, CNN

In his closing statement, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson opened with a quote: “Joseph Stalin said if you want to bring America down, you have to undermine three things – our spiritual life, our patriotism and our morality.”

Carson went on to say, “We, the people, can stop that decline.”

It’s a popular quote, found on tea party sites such as “Freedom Outpost,” among others. And this was not the first time Carson has used the quote; the Iowa State Daily reported on January 24 that Carson “referred to” the quote, which they reproduced in full:

“America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: Its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”

This is, indeed, a quote often attributed to the Soviet dictator. However, there does not seem to be much evidence for that attribution.

In an investigation into the authenticity of the quote, mythbusting site found that “searching collections of Stalin’s speeches, writings, interviews and other statements (such as the Joseph Stalin Internet Archive and the University of Pennsylvania’s online library of Stalin documents) fails to turn up any reference to this quotation.” This investigation was updated on February 1.

Snopes further found that the quotation did not occur in print until 1983, when Cathy Bicksler of Pine Haven, Connecticut, wrote a letter to the editor of the Lawrence Journal-World attributing the quote to Stalin. Since Stalin died in 1953 and left behind a large library of published works (including some poetry reported not to be all that bad), Snopes was quick to point out that one would expect the quote to appear somewhere in print – either in writings about Stalin or in his own letters, books or records of newspapers during his lifetime. The fact that it first surfaced in an obscure way long after his death suggests that it is, in fact, a misattribution or a fabrication.

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, a blog dedicated to debunking false history, also found the quote to be “bogus” in part for another reason cited by Snopes: Stalin was the least likely person to ever say anything positive about the United States. “Stalin,” said Ed Darrell, the blog’s author and a former employee of the federal government who worked on the library database with the largest collection of U.S. history textbooks, “was of a school that claimed capitalism was diseased, and America was infested with a soon-to-be terminal case.”

We rate the attribution of this quotation to Stalin false.

John Kasich

Reality Check: Kasich on his Ohio economic record

By Sandee LaMotte, CNN

Ohio Gov. John Kasich repeated his claim of turning around the Ohio economy.

“What I would tell you is we’ve gone from an $8 billion hole to a $2 billion surplus, and we’ve cut taxes by more than any governor in America by $5 billion. We have grown the number of jobs by 400,000 private sector jobs since I’ve been governor. Our credit is strong, our pensions are strong, and frankly, we leave no one behind.”

Kasich’s claim to have turned Ohio’s economy around is based on a projection by his own budget officials when he took office of a $7.7 billion shortfall if the economy continued on the same path. However, the budget he submitted in March 2011 projected a rosier future. The recovery of the national economy, which was also benefiting Ohio, was projected to pump about $2 billion into state revenue over the next two years. That makes the real shortfall about $6 billion, give or take a few million. However, Kasich has continued to use the original numbers for his claims as he runs for office.

Despite those differences, it is true that Ohio currently has a $2 billion rainy day fund.

So the reality is that Kasich, and an improving national economy, helped reduce Ohio’s shortfall from approximately $6 billion to a $2 billion surplus.

Kasich goes on to say he has grown private sectors jobs by 400,000, and recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data bears that out. However, critics point out that number is still well below the national average, and that 21 states have higher private sector job growth. In addition, critics say, Kasich isn’t counting cuts in public-sector employment in Ohio, such as teachers and municipal, county and township employees, which they say have shrunk by more than 2% while Kasich’s been in office.

Kasich also claims to have cut more taxes than any other governor. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Ohio does rank among the top five states with highest personal income tax budget cuts. However, CBPP also points out that states which relied on this as an economic prescription have actually seen “their share of national employment decline since enacting the cuts.”

Verdict: Mostly true.