AP Fact Check On GOP Debate: Bachmann Right

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Michele Bachmann accused Newt Gingrich in the latest Republican debate of once supporting a cap-and-trade program to curb global warming, he huffily denied it and told her she should get her facts straight.

Actually, she did.

As recently as 2007, Gingrich “strongly supported” the idea.

Viewers did not always get the straight goods Saturday night from other presidential hopefuls, either.

Mitt Romney erred in saying Barack Obama was the only president to cut Medicare. If Rick Perry had been a betting man, he probably would have lost the $10,000 wager Romney wanted to make with him to settle competing assertions.

A look at how some of the claims from the Saturday night debate and Sunday talk show aftermath compare with the facts:


BACHMANN: “If you look at Newt-Romney, they were for cap-and-trade.”

GINGRICH: “Well, Michele, a lot of what you say just isn’t true, period. I have never — I oppose cap-and-trade. I testified against it the same day that Al Gore testified for it. I helped defeat it in the Senate through American Solutions. It is simply untrue. … You know, I think it’s important for you, and this is a fair game and everybody gets to pick fights. It’s important that you be accurate when you say these things. Those are not true.”

THE FACTS: Bachmann’s suggestion that Gingrich and Romney are in lockstep was oversimplified. But she was right that Gingrich once backed the idea of capping carbon emissions and letting polluters trade emission allowances.

Asked in a 2007 PBS “Frontline” interview about President George W. Bush’s endorsement of mandatory carbon caps in his 2000 campaign, Gingrich said: “I think if you have mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system, much like we did with sulfur, and if you have a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions, that there’s a package there that’s very, very good. And frankly, it’s something I would strongly support.”

To be sure, Gingrich opposed a Democratic version of cap-and-trade when it was adopted by the House. It died in the Senate. Many Republicans considered it a market-distorting cap-and-tax plan.

Although most candidates disavow the idea now, cap-and-trade once enjoyed substantial Republican support because it sought to use market mechanisms, not the heavy hand of government, to control pollution. Congress in 1990 passed a law with overwhelming bipartisan support that set up a trading system for sulfur dioxide, the main culprit behind acid rain.


ROMNEY: “Let’s not forget, only one president has ever cut Medicare for seniors in this country and it’s Barack Obama. We’re going to remind him of that time and time again.”

THE FACTS: Obama is at least the third president to sign cuts in Medicare that were passed by Congress.

The 1990 budget law signed by Republican President George H.W. Bush raised premiums paid by Medicare beneficiaries and cut payments to hospitals, doctors and other providers.

The 1997 balanced budget law signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton scaled back Medicare payments to hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes and other providers, as well as raising monthly premiums paid by older people. It reduced projected payment rates for doctors, putting in place automatic cuts that Congress routinely has waived ever since.

The law signed by Obama strengthens traditional Medicare by improving preventive care and increasing payments to primary care doctors and nurses serving as medical coordinators, but reduces subsidies to private insurance plans that have become a popular alternative to Medicare.

Obama is cutting about 6 percent of spending from Medicare over 10 years. Clinton and a Republican Congress came up with cuts of 12 percent.


PERRY: “I’m listening to you, Mitt, and I’m hearing you say all the right things. But I read your first book, and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts — which should be the model for the country — and I know it came out of the reprint of the book, but, you know, I’m just saying, you were for individual mandates, my friend.”

ROMNEY: “You know what, you’ve raised that before, Rick. And you’re simply wrong. … $10,000 bet?”

PERRY: “I’m not in the betting business but … I’ll show you the book.”

ROMNEY: “I’ve got the book and I wrote the book.”

THE FACTS: At issue is a modification Romney made to his 2010 book, “No Apology,” when it came out in paperback this year. Perry has several times accused the former Massachusetts governor of cutting a passage that proposed making the health insurance mandate in his state national, as Obama has done with his health care law.

The Texas governor did so again on “Fox News Sunday” when he contended Romney’s hardcover edition “clearly stated that individual mandates should be the model for this country and then he took that out of the book in the paperback.”

There is little question Romney altered the words to dissociate himself more clearly from Obama’s plan. But the book and its excised passage did not call for Romney’s plan to go national. At most, it held out the Massachusetts plan as a possible model for some states, not the federal government, while emphasizing that states should find their own solutions.

The book pitched what Romney called his state’s achievement, affordable insurance that covers everyone, and said, “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care.” That came out.


RON PAUL: “We have dumped the debt on the American people through TARP funding as well as the Federal Reserve. So the debt is dumped onto people. And what did we do? We bailed out the people that were benefiting during the formation of the bubble. So as long as we do that, we’re not going to have economic growth.”

THE FACTS: The $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program was proposed by President George W. Bush and passed by Congress in 2008 to help rescue banks and other imperiled financial institutions. Nearly all of the money has been paid back, with interest.

Most economists credit the program with keeping the financial system from freezing up and helping to prevent the worst recession in 30 years from becoming another Great Depression. The Federal Reserve does not operate on taxpayer money and does not receive any operating funds from the Treasury. In fact, it makes money every year from its banking operations, and turns over profits to the Treasury.


GINGRICH: “In 1993, in fighting Hillarycare, virtually every conservative saw the mandate as a less dangerous future than what Hillary was trying to do. … After Hillarycare disappeared, it became more and more obvious that mandates have all sorts of problems built into them. People gradually tried to find other techniques. I, frankly, was floundering, trying to find a way to make sure that people who could afford it were paying their hospital bills, while still leaving it out for libertarians to not buy insurance. And that’s what we were wrestling with. It’s now clear that the mandate, I think, is clearly unconstitutional.”

THE FACTS: Gingrich is right that some conservatives, himself included, once supported the idea of requiring everyone to have health insurance, and that they held this view when Hillary Rodham Clinton was leading the White House effort to overhaul the health care system even more broadly.

But his suggestion that he dropped the idea after the Clinton health care overhaul failed is misleading. In recent years, including in his 2008 book, Gingrich endorsed the idea of making people buy health insurance or posting a bond if they wanted to go without coverage, and he contended this year that “all of us have a responsibility to help pay for health care.”


ROMNEY: “One, make sure that our employer tax rates are competitive with other nations. They’re not now. We’re the highest in the world.”

THE FACTS: Japan’s corporate tax rate is the highest in the world. The U.S. top rate of 35 percent would be second, except that few companies pay the full rate because of a variety of loopholes and tax breaks not available in many other countries.


GINGRICH: “It starts very simply, taxes — lower taxes, less regulation, an American energy plan and actually be positive about people who create jobs. The opposite of the Obama plan, which is higher taxes, more regulation, no American energy and attack people who create jobs with class warfare.”

THE FACTS: By “no American energy,” Gingrich really meant Obama has not exploited enough American energy in his opinion, but that’s how the former House speaker talks, shorn of nuance and often overreaching.

On taxes, the record is more complex than Gingrich suggests in asserting that Obama plots merely to raise them. He is not the only GOP candidate to ignore the hefty tax cuts that Obama has pushed for and achieved, as well as some tax increases.

Overall, as a share of the nation’s economy, federal tax revenues are the lowest they’ve been since 1950.

For the third straight year, U.S. families will pay less in federal taxes than they did under Bush. Much of this is due both to recent tax breaks and the weak economy. Obama has called for extending Bush-era tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans, and for extending and expanding the 2011 tax cut in the federal payroll tax, which finances Social Security and Medicare.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Well

    As with a stopped clock; it’s right twice a day.

    • Otto

      It rains in the desert!!

      • Corpsemen

        All Socialists are worried in all “57 states.”

    • Brad

      Lol. That is awesome…and exactly right! Let’s go celebrate Evlis’ birthday.

  • Stan Chaz

    The circus…..goes on, and on. More than ever, as I look at the sorry set of Republican “rivals” on the other side, I am THANKFUL to have Barack Obama as President, and as a viable candidate for re-election. Mr. Obama: your heart, your values, and your basic decency are all in the right place. BUT…your hands are tied. Unfortunately they were tied by us, the electorate…..when we failed to provide you with a Congress that you can work with. Instead, you are saddled with a filibuster-everything-but-don’t-tax-the-1%-do-nothing Congress that battles you at every turn, while the people SUFFER. God, they don’t EVEN let you pass your own appointments! Goodbye to majority rule in the Senate- now it’s 60 votes or else! It’s not Tea-publican gridlock -it’s Tea-publican sabotage. Heck, it’s Tea-publican treason….while the 99% BLEEDS. It’s destructive. It’s un-American. It’s un-acceptable. And it’s WRONG. And then they try to pin the blame on Mr. Obama! These people have no shame…or else its been purchased by those who can afford to do so. Struggling in her final years, Grandma gets her meager Social Security check, and they DARE call it “socialism”. Give me a break! (and Grandma too!!) Thankfully, with Occupy Wall Street, America has found its voice: a voice that reminds us that PEOPLE –ordinary down-to-earth working people– really DO matter. NOT “corporations are people” people , but R-E-A-L people! REAL people who are working two and three jobs just to keep up, REAL people who play by the rules but struggle just to survive or retire with some dignity, REAL people looking for work, and REAL people that will graduate or come back from war and find no work, REAL people who deserve a piece of the pie, but are pushed away from the table…..while the rich become richer and more powerful at our expense, and democracy goes to the highest bidder. Tea-publicans clamour for even MORE tax-breaks for the 1%, and insist on even MORE corporate-loopholes….while “job-creators” send our jobs overseas…. and try to buy every politician in sight. They praise “trickle-down economics”, but their trickle-down voodoo just leaves most of us out in the cold, wet and shivering, and no better off. We’ve had enough.. and WE’RE FED UP! INSTEAD of talking about L-E-S-S government, instead of L-E-S-S taxes on the 1%, instead of M-O-R-E corporate welfare, instead of M-O-R-E painful cuts to those who can LEAST afford it…..INSTEAD of all that bull, we demand a government that WORKS, a government that works FOR ALL OF US, not just for a favored few….NOT just for the rich! It’s a voice that comes up from the grassroots, and lifts us up in turn: Because it insists that this land IS our land…and we WANT IT BACK! It’s a voice that will help us re-elect the President AND give him a more progressive people-oriented Congress -a Congress that will work WITH Mr. Obama and FOR the 99%! Mr. Obama: I wish you well ….because you STILL give us hope!

    • Citizen


    • Visionary

      1. If Barack was up for re-election in 2010 he would have been ousted too, just like most of the Dem congressmen.

      2. “Tea-publican”? Careful how you lump those two together.

      3. Occupy Wall Street and the phrase “ordinary down-to-earth working people” cannot be used in the same sentence to describe each other. It’s an oxymoron…do you think honest, working people would be protesting all day instead of…oh I don’t know…working???

      4. Government will never work for everyone. It’s a “necessary evil”. Someone will always be unhappy or unassisted and rightfully so because majority rules here in the USA. Stop relying on the government as a “fix-it-all” solution to everyone’s problems. What made this country great is personal responsibility, and the recognition that it’s up to each person to get themselves somewhere in life. The government is not going to make you a millionaire. Hard work, tears, and sweat are going to do that.

      5. There will always be a 1%. This is a capitalistic economy. This concept of the 1 vs 99 will exist no matter what happens…so what’s your solution to that? Change the face of the economy? Increasing taxes on corporations and their owners would close the gap but don’t expect the economy to improve.

      I think Barack will be re-elected simply because he’s the one in office right now. If this were a completely open election it would be anyone’s ball game.

      • frozenrunner

        @ visionary. Yes there will always be a 1 %, but will their holdings go back to a more reasonable percentage of the whole pie. If in reality we are a consumer driven economy then perhaps it is time to reverse direction on taxation. Increase the taxes on the corporations and decrease it on the working class. Statistics bear out that the middle class is saving less than it ever has before. There is no agreement by the economists on how to get the economy going..

        • Reality sucks

          SAVING LESS AND SPENDING MORE! “While the U.S. economic outlook is showing some scant signs of progress, the carnage left over from the financial downturn looks downright depression-like — and particularly depressing to U.S. households.
          A new report from the Federal Reserve shows that American households are now sitting on $13.2 trillion in debt, and household net worth — defined as the difference between assets and liabilities — was down a staggering $2.4 trillion from the previous quarter. Fed analysts say the decline in net worth was attributable to a decline in the value of financial assets, which fell 5.2% in the third quarter. A fractional drop in U.S. home values (0.6%) contributed as well. Total U.S. home values slid to $16.1 trillion, down from approximately $21 trillion in 2007, just as the recession began to generate some steam. Monitoring household debt is akin to watching a train wreck in slow motion. The $13.2 trillion beats the $13.1 trillion in total government debt, or the $11.5 trillion in debt racked up by nonfinancial businesses in the U.S., the Fed reports. In plain language, U.S. households are deeper in debt than U.S. businesses and — stop the presses — the much-maligned federal government. Viewed through another prism, the $13 trillion consumer debt figure almost reaches the total GDP of the U.S., $15 trillion. And losing that $2.4 trillion in Q3 is similar to losing about 16% of total GDP, which would be considered a catastrophic depression in economic circles.”

          • frozenrunner

            The culture of “me” and “mine” is what briought out the spending spree will have to change. The days of buying the largest house you can with as big of mortgage as you possibly pay should be over. Visionary is right on the economy taking a while to fully recover because of the hangover from the spending spree. The values of homes were artificially high. One would have to consider that the powers that be did nothing to slow that growth last decade because that is how their cronies made money. It may have been what drove the false prosperity. The economy may recover when through a slow process the home values creep back up. In the mile square area I walk my dog there still are vacate notices going up every couple of months. Back to work I go. Great posts for you and citizen

      • Carl


        • Citizen

          Hey, Carl & Visionary. As long as you want to speak to personal responsibility, let’s talk about that and about how corporations are now considered to have the same rights as individual citizens. So how about corporate executives go to jail when they cause the deaths of people–just like individuals do. Remember the mine disaster that caused the deaths of 29 miners? Just a fine for Massey Energy, no jail time like people would get. If you want the rights of personal responsibility as a corporation, then you should also have the responsibilities. But, you see, conservatives like you two want it both ways.

          • Carl

            Not sure what world you live in Citiozen, but what conservative is against holding corporations accountable? It cant be a real concern to Democrats as I have not seen any proposals including Frank-Dodd Act that hold any executives accountable.

          • Reality sucks

            When we, as a people, sit idly by as our elected officials allow corporations, lobbyists and Wall Street to control and write legislation—this is the result. The only personal responsibility we are left with is our ability to vote with our pen or wallet. I wonder which wins (the pen or the wallet).

            • Citizen

              @Reality. The pen will win when the wallet is threatened.

              • Reality sucks

                I hope you’re right. I’m voting with my feet.

                • Citizen

                  Reality, you only have to look at history for your answer. Perhaps ‘CCO’s censors will get rid of this comment, who knows? When political systems get so out of whack that the vast majority of the citizens live lives of “quiet desperation” as Thoreau said, violence will ensue. The numbers favor the quiet, desperate people, and then things change. Look at the ’60’s, as a prime, recent example. Look at the union efforts in the early part of the 20th century. How soon we forget history and its lessons–to our peril.

                • Reality sucks

                  Exactly…but. Historians have all sorts of theories on why the Roman Empire fell, blaming everything from religion to barbarians. Every empire in history eventually rots from within when privilege, not contribution, becomes the basis for compensation. The children of the ones who contributed take advantage of their status as the offspring of the empire-builders. They can live comfortably, enjoying easy rewards, even as their neighbors lose jobs and homes. We’re seeing the consequences of this phenomenon today in America.

                • Citizen

                  Right on, Reality. The children of the “empire builders” are sorely equipped to withstand the rigors of governance, so they are Neros fiddling while Rome burns. The leadership and power vacuum is eventually filled, as in the case of Rome, by the barbarians who saw their chance to fell Rome, and took it. The barbarians were tough, wiley, and motivated by survival. Are we better for the fact that Rome fell? Decidedly not, because their science, innovation, and knowledge were lost to the Dark Ages. I believe we are at the same precipice. Look to the ones who would exploit the weakness of the U.S. Who is tough and needs to survive? Scary answers….

                • Reality sucks

                  Have I told you lately–I appreciate your input on this lowly page of typically bad opine? Back to work for me–have a good day.

      • Al

        I like how you end your lame-arse rant with a concession that the DFL is going to win in the end. FYI it isn’t because this is a “closed election.” It’s because people are sick of drinking GOP kool-aid, being fed sheeite, and told it’s steak and lobster

  • Toss it

    If ya toss enough chit at the wall sooner or later even an idiot can get some to stick….or at least smear the wall a bit.
    She is setting back the TP clan 100 years. I imagine, if the world is still around in 2112, they may make a run at things again. Imagine having 3rd generation Bachmann’s up there ranting and raving about Lord only knows what. lol

  • Murph

    Hey,nice call Michele you are now at 1 right for 100 wrong.In baseball your batting average would be ?.001 ? Wow and you want to be the U.S. designated hitter?

    • Your Math Teacher

      Um . . . I’m pretty sure that would be .01 (if you mean 1 in 100. If you mean 1 in 101, it would be .0099009.). It sure is easy to mess up trivia just like Michele, isn’t it?

      • frozenrunner

        @ Murph How base ball calls averages she would be a .100 hitter. That would put her on par with a few of the middle infielders. I hear she can move to her right pretty well, but anything to the left or middle is past her.

        • Don't Tread on Me

          “Baseball” calls it a .010 hitter (and that batter should probably find a new sport). .100 means 1 in 10. But you guys are practicing some good old democratic math… fudge it to make it look better than it really is.

          • frozenrunner

            Dyslexic sometimes, sorry. That is still about all the better clutch hitting Twins middle infielders hit.

  • Citizen

    Why are conservatives so full of lies and B.S.?

    • Wake up

      Why does the ignorant “citizen” keep believing that one end of the spectrum is more honest than the other?

      • Orrest

        I would say that one side is less honorable than the other.
        From what I have read citizen is not ignorant nor believes the left side is honest 100% either. There really has been no left side issue that politicians have embraced recently.
        The less than 1% (even those not in the top 33%) economically that support the far right of the republican party are the ones that are truly ignorant to the damage done to them economically. Those people will not “Wake up”

    • Dave

      well put — this coming from a life long Republican at that.
      I may vote for the DFL the first time in my life. Or I am not vote at all if the President messes up any more.
      Regardless – the GOP has lost me and at least 7 others in my family. They did gain 2. That said – net of 5 GOP votes lost in my family alone.
      Maybe they are so hell bent on self destruction they don’t know or care?

  • Oh fer cripes!!

    Boo hoo hoo!! Those meanie hippies are such meanies!! Better tell yer momma. She’ll tell them to stop teasing her baby boy.

  • X-puffer

    Boy, I wish someone had an opinion!

  • steve

    I don’t know which clowns were the funniest watching Saturday evening? The clowns on the stage or what they like to be called “news people” clowns Diane and George. This whole GOP presidential debate has turned into a circus side show. I miss Walter.

  • Jeff

    You are ALL just plain ignorant ( those of you slamming Repubs) if you think for one minute your Sainted Dem’s would have done or said anything different. It is all politicians that are scamming low lifes.

    • frozenrunner

      I really don’t think a democrat would say anything similar to what Bachman, Gingrich, et al would say. The truth bending and outright lies of the right are being exposed. The democrats thus far are silent. The Prsident sends out proposals to be ripped on, not just talk.

  • betty

    Breitbart going after Beck, Gingrich after Romney. Pinch me! I must be in Heaven!

  • Murph

    It’s not surprising that the GOP is going down in flames.There they are with their million$ while ordinary people endure the pain of their do nothingness! I wish the pentagon would declare martial law[only the president can] and have both houses cleaned searched and every politician investigated until every dirty scoundrel is,nailed and jailed! The truth is they have all FAILED! Toss the bums out!

  • Tim Lewis

    You are wrong about Japan having the highest corporate tax rate. At the first of 2011 that was true but they recently lowered their corporate tax and NOW the US, as Romney stated, has the highest corporate taxes in the World!!!
    Romney was correct.

  • Anne

    The one time the media actually admits Bachmann was right…and it’s only because she was criticizing another conservative.

    You gotta love the main stream medial they are so cute when they are clueless.

  • http://www.libertymusings.com/blog/?p=929 Michele Bachmann correct in her jab at Newt | The Liberty Musings Blog

    […] NEWT GINGRICH: “Well, Michele, a lot of what you say just isn’t true, period. I have never — I oppose cap-and-trade. I testified against it the same day that Al Gore testified for it. I helped defeat it in the Senate through American Solutions. It is simply untrue. … You know, I think it’s important for you, and this is a fair game and everybody gets to pick fights. It’s important that you be accurate when you say these things. Those are not true.” (Source – CBS Minnesota) […]

  • Gordy

    LOL….Bachmann actually has her facts correct for the first time in 11 months!! Whooopee….she is still an idiot and will never ever ever be presidient!!

  • Don't Tread on Me

    The majority of these fact checks are simple true/false quality checks, but I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the authors point regarding this comment…

    “We have dumped the debt on the American people through TARP funding as well as the Federal Reserve. So the debt is dumped onto people. And what did we do? We bailed out the people that were benefiting during the formation of the bubble. So as long as we do that, we’re not going to have economic growth.”

    The author is correct in his response that the money has mostly been paid back and that the Fed functions w/o tax dollars and earns profits, but it doesn’t appear that was ever disputed. I also don’t believe the statement was meant to link TARP funds and the Fed together. As facts prove, relief was provided though both TARP and the Fed, the latter being much less transparent. Furthermore, he can make the claim that these practices worked, but he is doing so while simply ignoring all the other consequences that came from it. Look at the toxic assets that we are now forced to shoulder. Look at the inflation and weakening of the dollar that we know have to live with. Look at the consequences to GDP. Look at debt produced in other areas of the national budget as a result of that program. Look at the stimulus packages that needed to be created as a result of all these things. Those packages created debt and were caused by TARP and the Fed. Furthermore, the government and Fed helped serve to create the bubble in the first place by encouraging and allowing banks to give out sub-prime mortgages beginning in 1999. In the end, the banks were on the verge of failure. Bailing them out may have prevented hardship, but it only continued status quo. It will eventually catch up with us if the attitudes and solutions are never changed. Ultimately, the fact that they were able to resolve some of the error that came from this is overshadowed by the greater consequences. Those consequences were dumped on the people when they could have been shouldered by the companies at fault.

    When people are burdened and consumer spending is squeezed, growth can’t continue. Supporting these activities does not benefit economic growth.

    • frozenrunner

      And what is your analysis if the banks were allowed to fail? The end result of that would not have improved employment, inflation, or the debt load. There is no certainty but history is not to kind when there are large bank failures

      • Don't Tread on Me

        There was no question about consequences being dreadful either way. Certainly nothing would have improved from either scenario. But you need to consider the degree of damage that each would have created. We may have faced unemployment either way, but as far as inflation and debt goes, the impact would be much more limited, if not non-existent. By bailing out these companies, the Fed essentially printed money out of thin air, causing the dollar to weaken and prices/costs to inflate. GDP as result took a huge hit. On the govt’s end, they were forcing healthy banks to take money they didn’t need, and even tried refusing, essentially forcing them to pay interest on loans. Where do those costs end up going? If they had not bailed them out, they would have filed for bankruptcy or failed, but either way, the system would have eventually recovered, and so would have many of those companies. Maybe even by now. Certainly not 15 or 20 years down the road, if ever. Even more important, they wouldn’t be so stupid to continue the same mistakes. Aside from those immediate consequences, you also need to consider the precedent this sets. Nobody will argue that the system was saved for the time being, but with those solutions we are only asking for more problems down the road. So to answer your question, I would have rather seen banks fail and endured a brief, yet manageable hardship, than an ongoing disaster. I will lose a lot more over the course of 15+ years of ongoing consequences than I would have from a few years of more intense hardships.

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