Reality Check: The week in whoppers


    Reality check: Pence misstates Trump position on Putin


Reality check: Pence misstates Trump position on Putin 01:36


The Clinton Foundation gives "less than 10 cents on the dollar" to "charitable causes." ... Gov. Mike Pence, during the vice presidential debate

Wow, this was a big one.
A recent analysis by independent watchdog CharityWatch found that the Clinton Foundation actually spent 88% of its budget on charitable programs in 2014.
Pence was probably counting only grants the Clinton Foundation has awarded to outside charitable groups. According to the foundation's tax forms, the foundation reported total revenue of almost $149 million, and awarded external grants worth a total of nearly $9 million -- or about 6 cents on the dollar. He was not counting the charitable work conducted by the Clinton Foundation's own programs.

    Clinton's immigration plans will bankrupt Social Security

    "Hillary Clinton wants to give Social Security and Medicare to illegal immigrants through citizenship. Won't this bankrupt the program?" A question to Donald Trump from "Pete from Nashua" at a New Hampshire town hall last week.
    "Well, let me tell you. You've heard that, and most people didn't even believe it. But that's true." -- Trump's answer.
    This is an even bigger one.
    Under the comprehensive immigration reform bill that was passed by the Senate, and which Clinton supports, undocumented immigrants are given the opportunity over time to become citizens by first paying a fine, a fee and passing a criminal background check and therefore gaining what is known as "provisional status."
    While in this category, these immigrants are barred from collecting any "retirement, welfare, health, disability public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit." Having gained provisional status, immigrants can apply to become a permanent legal resident which will open up a number of federal program to them -- but not Social Security and Medicare. In order to be eligible for those programs, individuals will have to show that they have worked for 10 years after becoming a permanent legal resident.
    During all this time, immigrants will have to pay taxes that go into the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.
    There also are other ways that undocumented immigrants contribute to Social Security and Medicare.
    The Social Security Administration's chief actuary estimated there were about 3.1 million undocumented immigrants using fake or expired Social Security cards to obtain jobs in 2010. As a result, payroll taxes were deducted from their paychecks.
    The actuary estimated that in 2010 undocumented immigrants contributed $12 billion annually -- and about $100 billion over a 10-year period -- to the Social Security trust fund through these taxes. And, unless they get permanent resident status these immigrants cannot get Social Security benefits. A similar phenomenon exists for Medicare.
    Meanwhile, the actuary said the US-born children of undocumented immigrants will have an even greater positive impact on the Social Security system by becoming workers whose taxes help prop up Social Security as the country's population ages.
    There is no question that undocumented immigrants would, if they are granted legal status, gain access to federal benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. But when it comes to Social Security and Medicare, these immigrants are more makers than takers.
    We rate Trump's agreement with the idea that they will bankrupt the system as false.

    Mike Pence lied during the vice presidential debate when he repeatedly denied things he and Trump have actually said

    "Well, he never said that." -- Pence defending Trump at the vice presidential debate.
    During the debate, Tim Kaine repeatedly challenged Pence to defend things he and Trump have said during the campaign.
    There is no polite way to say this, but, in response, Pence lied by denying that Trump had uttered the words Kaine was attributing to him. On issues ranging from abortion to nuclear weapons to immigration to admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pence denied that Trump had said things that the businessman had indeed said. News organizations, including CNN, called him out on this.

    Kaine exaggerates on the Iranian nuclear deal

    "She worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot," Kaine said, describing Clinton's role in the Iranian nuclear deal.
    It's an exaggeration to say that the deal negotiated between Iran, the United States and European powers "eliminated" the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
    Even the White House, which points to the deal as one of President Barack Obama's signature achievements, says the agreement simply increases the amount of time it would take Iran to build a bomb -- should it decide ignore the deal's provisions -- from two to three months to about a year or more.
    Also, the restrictions on Iran's nuclear programs lapse in 15 years. Inspectors monitoring the country's nuclear weapons program would stay in the country beyond that so Tehran, presumably, would not be able to develop a nuclear bomb in secret. But it still could develop one.

    Gary Johnson believes there is an equivalency between the hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians killed by Bashar al-Assad and civilians killed by US forces in other actions in the war on terror

    During an interview with The New York Times, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson was asked whether there was a moral equivalency between the US and Syria. Johnson sarcastically replied, "Well no, of course not -- we're so much better than all that. We're so much better when in Afghanistan, we bomb the hospital and 60 people are killed in the hospital."
    Now Johnson may sincerely believe this, and so, technically, this may not be considered a deliberate lie. But it is so breathtakingly bizarre it belongs on our list.
    The Pentagon's report on the bombing of the Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz that killed 42 people last year laid out a series of errors by US military personnel that led to the tragedy. Although officials from the relief agency termed the bombing a "war crime," the Pentagon determined that no military personnel would face criminal charges.
    Still, few would compare that attack -- and even others that have inadvertently killed thousands of civilians in Afghanistan -- with the systematic targeting of civilian populations by the Assad regime. Nearly half a million civilians have been killed since 2011, according to one estimate.
    One might be tempted to give Johnson a pass since he is a minor candidate who will not be elected president this year. But he is on the ballot and does command some support, albeit it is shrinking, probably because of comments like this one.

    We have the smallest Navy since 1916, Pence said at the vice presidential debate

    This one again?
    It has been a hardy perennial of Republican attacks on the Obama administration for what many GOP critics say is the gutting of the nation's military. Yet putting forth the idea of an impotent navy by comparing it to the fleet of World War I has been debunked many times.
    Sure, technically it's true. There are 273 active ships in the US navy today, the lowest number since 1916, when there were 245 ships active. But the ships of today are exponentially so much more powerful as to make the comparison laughable.
    Take, for example, the Ohio-class ballistic submarine. These underwater behemoths measure nearly two football fields in length. Each sub carries at least 20 Trident II, D-5 ballistic missiles with a range of more than 4,600 miles. The missiles are each tipped with four or five nuclear warheads that can be individually targeted to different locations hundreds of miles away from each other. The destructive force of these warheads range from seven times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima to 30 times more powerful than that device.
    An Ohio-class ballistic submarine could single-handedly obliterate London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Moscow and at least 80 more of Europe's largest cities -- with hours of each other, according to Steven Pifer, an arms control expert at the Brookings Institution.
    That's just one ship. The Navy has 14 of them.

    Bill Clinton's explanation of the problems with Obamacare doesn't make sense

    "But the people getting killed in this deal are the small business people and individuals who make just a little bit too much to get any of these subsidies." -- Bill Clinton on why he thinks Obamacare is a "crazy system."
    First of all, companies with 50 employees or less -- that's more than 90% of all small business -- are exempt from the law's requirement that they provide health insurance for their workers. The "Secretary of Explaining Things" doesn't quite explain how companies are getting killed by a law they don't have to comply with.
    If they already have cut-rate health insurance plans that do not meet the minimum standards set down by the Affordable Care Act, small businesses can keep them until the end of next year -- unless they make "major changes" to them. This provision has caused headaches for some small business. But if the law is so burdensome, why is it that the rate of small businesses dropping their health insurance plans is about the same as it was before the enactment of Obamacare?
    As for people who buy insurance, either from the Obamacare exchanges or on their own, but have too high an income to qualify for federal subsidies, they are, indeed, getting hurt. But, using census data, the Commonwealth Fund calculated that group amounts to about 3.2% of all people under the age of 65 who have health insurance. Is 3.2% of the health insurance market enough to label Obamacare a "crazy system"?

    Trump says the US Border Patrol is allowing undocumented immigrants to "pour" across the border so they can vote

    This just sounds like Trump heard what he wanted to hear.
    Here is the exchange that took place Friday morning at a roundtable on border security between Trump and Art Del Cueto, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing agents. The subject was why undocumented immigrants had been allowed to cross the border.
    Del Cueto: "I spoke to several agents in my sector who are in charge of processing. And the problem that we're seeing reflected through us as a voice is that some of these individuals that we've apprehended with criminal records, they're not, they're checking their records, they see that they have criminal records, but they're setting them aside because at this point they are saying immigration is so tied up with trying to get the people who are on the waiting list to hurry up and get them their immigration status corrected."
    Trump: "Why?"
    Del Cueto: "So they can go ahead and vote before the election."
    Trump evidently saw an opening. "They're letting people pour into the country so they can go and vote," he said.
    Well, not quite.
    First of all, what Del Cueto seems to be saying is that manpower from the border patrol was being directed from checking criminal records of undocumented immigrants to helping to process the citizenship applications of legal immigrants in time to allow them to vote. Secondly, Trump's claim that immigrants are pouring across the border "to vote" is just not true.
    The Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged that there has been a surge of applications -- as there often is in the months leading up to a presidential election -- from immigrants who want to cast their ballots.
    However, a spokeswoman for Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security, noted that immigrants have to prove they have lived in the US for five years as permanent legal residents before they are allowed to vote. That would make it kind of hard for undocumented immigrants to cross the border in order to cast ballots for -- or against -- Trump.

    Kaine overstates the negative things Trump and Pence have said about Mexican immigrants

    "These guys say all Mexicans are bad," Kaine, criticizing Trump and Pence at the vice presidential debate.
    From the proposal to build the wall on America's southern border to the statement that many illegal immigrants are rapists, Trump has not been kind to Mexicans.
    When he first announced his campaign for the presidency last year, he did say, "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best ... They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." But he did add this, almost as an afterthought, "And some, I assume, are good people."
    When Trump visited Mexico in August, he said Mexican-Americans are "just beyond reproach. Spectacular, spectacular hard-working people. I have such great respect for them and their strong values of family, faith and community."
    Kaine's statement is just plain wrong since it is way too all-encompassing.