Fact Check: Groundhog Friday on the Campaign Trail | NECN

Fact Check: Groundhog Friday on the Campaign Trail

A non-exhaustive roundup of this week's misleading talking points



    AP/Getty Images
    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaign the week of Oct. 10, 2016.

    At this stage of the campaign, we often hear similar claims repeated over and over in stump speeches. As part of our running feature on those repeats, “Groundhog Friday,” we note here some of the misleading talking points we heard this week. It is by no means an exhaustive list.

    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on GOP nominee Donald Trump’s comments about wages, Oct. 10 rally in Detroit: “So, if people — if people aren’t worried about the fact he pays no income tax and if they’re not worried about how he’s misled people about where he gets his steel, point out to them that he actually stood on a debate stage during the Republican primaries and said, ‘Wages in America are too high.’ You know, I love it. He keeps denying these things. And he must forget that we do have video and audio in 2016 and you can actually pull it out again and show people.”

    This Democratic talking point has been around since at least the Democratic National Convention in July, when we first wrote about it when it was used by Sens. Bob Casey and Kirsten Gillibrand. It has been repeated by others, including Vice President Joe Biden, since then.

    Trump did use the phase “wages too high” at a Nov. 10, 2015, GOP debate, as Clinton said. But Trump made his remark when he was asked about raising the federal minimum wage to $15. He said he was opposed to raising the minimum wage; he did not say that the overall wages are currently too high.

    “[T]axes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is,” he said. When he was asked about that “wages too high” comment two days later, he told Fox News: “And they said should we increase the minimum wage? And I’m saying that if we’re going to compete with other countries, we can’t do that because the wages would be too high. … The question was about the minimum wage. I’m not talking about wages being too high, I’m talking about minimum wage.”

    “Democratic Convention Day 1,” July 26

    Clinton on Trump calling the military “a disaster,”Oct. 12 rally in Las Vegas: “He’s called our military a ‘disaster.’ Now, how can you be the commander in chief if you don’t respect the men and women who serve in the United States military?”

    As her running mate, Tim Kaine, has done, Clinton cherry-picks Trump’s words. The Republican nominee did say, in a January primary debate, “Our military is a disaster.” But he has made clear on numerous occasions that he’s referring to the funding of the military, not the men and women who serve in the armed forces. For instance, here’s Trump on Sept. 12 speaking at a National Guard Association Convention: “My plan calls for a major rebuilding of the entire military and the elimination of the defense — and we have to do this so quickly, it’s a disaster — of the defense sequester. It is a disaster. Have no choice, it is a disaster. It’s called depletion. We have been depleted as a military, we can’t let that happen. The greatest men and women on Earth, but we have been depleted by what’s taken place,” Trump said.

    Michelle Obama: When They Go Low We Go High By Voting

    [NATL] Michelle Obama: When They Go Low We Go High By Voting
    Presidential elections are decided on a “razor’s edge,” Michelle Obama told a crowd at a campaign event in North Carolina where she spoke after Hillary Clinton on Oct. 27. The first lady got a loud round of applause when she pointed out what previous generations sacrificed for the right to vote, and encouraged everyone to exercise that right.

    “Casting our vote is the ultimate way we go high when they go low,” Obama said, “Voting is our high.” (Published Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016)

    “Kaine Twists Words of GOP Rivals,” Sept. 16

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on New York job loss, Oct. 10 rally in Ambridge, Pennsylvania: “And Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a clue about how to bring back jobs, that I can tell you, folks. She doesn’t have a clue. If she wanted to, she couldn’t do it. You know, in New York state, she ran for the Senate. And you know upstate New York is a disaster for jobs. And she said, ‘I’m going to bring back 200,000 jobs.’ Guess what? Right down the tubes, worse today than ever before.”

    This is a new twist on an old claim. As we have written before, Trump exaggerated when he claimed last month that New York’s job losses during Hillary Clinton’s eight years as the state’s U.S. senator were “worse than just about any place in the country.” This time, Trump is flat-out wrong when he claimed that New York is “worse today than ever before.”

    It is true, as Trump said, that Clinton in the 2000 campaign promised 200,000 jobs for upstate New York that did not materialize, as documented in an Aug. 7 Washington Post article. But New York is not “worse today than ever before.” As of August, New York’s unemployment rate stood at 4.8 percent, a tick below the national average and well below what it was in 1976, when it was above 10 percent for the entire year. The August unemployment rate in the upstate areas of Buffalo (4.7 percent), Rochester (4.5 percent) and Albany (4 percent) are all roughly half what they were during the Great Recession.

    Trump Mixes Business With Politics at DC Hotel Ceremony

    [NATL]Trump Mixes Business With Politics at DC Hotel Opening Ceremony
    As Hillary Clinton traverses battleground states across the country in the final stretch of the presidential election, Donald Trump took a detour from the campaign trail for the ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday of his Washington, D.C. hotel — but his remarks made clear the race to the White House was not far from mind. Trump claims the hotel is a symbol of what he'll do for America, noting it was completed "under budget and on schedule". (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

    Trump’s Job Loss Exaggeration,” Sept. 14

    Trump on Clinton’s coal stance,Oct. 10 rally in Ambridge: “[W]eeks before Hillary Clinton made a statement someplace else before going to West Virginia and trying to get their vote, if you can believe this, she said we are going to close the mines and we’re going to put the miners out of work. Then she went to West Virginia and she tried to convince them, well, she didn’t mean it.”

    Trump is referring to Clinton’s comments at a CNN town hall forum in March in which she said she wants to “move away from coal,” but added, “we don’t want to forget those people.” She promised to bring renewable energy jobs to coal country to replace lost coal jobs.

    GOP Convention, Day 2,” July 20

    Crowd Sings 'Happy Birthday' to Clinton in Florida

    [NATL] Crowd Sings 'Happy Birthday' to Clinton in Florida
    At an event in Coconut Creek, Florida, Hillary Clinton said that Trump is "attacking everything that has set our country apart for 240 years," pointing to his refusal at the final debate to commit to conceding the race if he loses. As she tried to make this point, the crowd erupted into singing her "Happy Birthday." Clinton turns 69 on Oct. 26. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

    Donald Trump on Clinton’s emails, Oct. 10 rally in Wilkes-Barre: “33,000 emails … she deletes them, she bleaches them, that nobody does because it’s such an expensive process. … After she gets the subpoena, she does that.”

    This is a two-fer. Let’s start with the claim that Clinton “bleached” some of her emails, which Trump went on to describe as unusual and expensive. This frequent line from Trump is wrong on two counts: The software used to delete Clinton’s emails is free, and no chemicals were used. The FBI said that Platte River Networks, which set up and maintained Clinton’s server, used an open-source software program called BleachBit. BleachBit debunks Trump’s claims on its FAQ page: “Actually, it is completely free of charge for everyone in all situations.” It also says, “BleachBit is neither a chemical nor a physical device. BleachBit is an anti-forensics software application.”

    Trump also twists the facts when he says Clinton deleted emails after she got a subpoena. It is true that 31,830 emails that Clinton’s lawyers deemed personal were deleted after Clinton received a subpoena from a Republican-controlled House committee investigating the 2012 deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. But there is no evidence that Clinton knew that the emails were deleted after the subpoena was issued. The Clinton campaign directed a contractor managing Clinton’s server to delete the emails in December 2014. But the contractor didn’t get around to deleting the emails until late March 2015, after the subpoena was issued. The Clinton campaign says she only learned about the delay in deletions when the FBI released its report on its investigation in September, and we have found no evidence to contradict that.

    FactCheck.org is a non-partisan non-profit organization that will hold candidates and key figures accountable during the 2016 presidential campaign. FactCheck.org will check facts of speeches, advertisements and more for NBC.

    'Late Night’: Trump's Obamacare Fail

    [NATL] 'Late Night’: A Closer Look at Donald Trump's Obamacare Fail
    With the Obama administration announcing that premiums for health care would go up next year, Donald Trump had a substantial critique in his grasp. But, host Seth Meyers says, the Trump campaign missed the opportunity for a substantial critique, opting to instead make strange appeals to black voters. (Published Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016)