PolitiFact fact-checkers put Kaine-Pence debate statements to the test


The Pence-Kaine debate of 2016 is history.

And those non-partisan fact-checkers from PolitiFact were there for the duration, trying to parse political truth from political fiction.

Want to see how they fared? Abbreviated versions of our fact checks are below.

Want to comment on our rulings or suggest one of your own? Just go to our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/politifact.georgia). You can also follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/politifactga).

Full versions of our fact-checks can be found at www.politifact.com/georgia/.

Mike Pence said this: Tim Kaine “actually tried to raise taxes by about $4 billion.”

Pence was referring to three unsuccessful tax hikes proposed by Kaine. Added up, they come to $4 billion in proposed tax hikes and fees. A caveat here:

The net annual cost of all three tax and fee proposals was $3.35 billion. Pence’s math also doubles Kaine’s unsuccessful efforts to raise taxes for transportation.

We rate Pence’s statement Mostly True.

Tim Kaine said this: “Richard Nixon released tax returns when he was under audit.”

Kaine was taking a shot at Donald Trump who has said he will release his tax returns when an audit is complete.

Kaine is correct here Scott. Nixon did release his tax returns.

We rate Kaine’s statement True.

Pence said this: Says Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine “want to expand (Obamacare) into a single-payer program.”

Clinton and Kaine have promoted a public option, which would be a government-sponsored insurance plan.

Clinton has consistently resisted the suggestion of a single-payer program.

That said, no one would be surprised if Clinton pushed for single payer if elected, but none of her campaign statements are calling for that.

We rate Pence’s statement Mostly False.

Kaine said this: Says Donald Trump would “engage in a risky scheme to privatize Social Security.”

Back in 2000, Trump did support privatization and call Social Security a Ponzi scheme.

But now, 16 years later, Trump has offered vague — but relatively consistent — statements that support keeping the structure of the program as is, without enacting changes as significant as private accounts.

We rate Kaine’s statement Mostly False.

Kaine said this: During President Obama’s tenure, the U.S. has created “15 million new jobs.”

To reach a number that high requires some creative calendar work — starting the count at the low point in the job market, which was just over a year after Obama took office.

That’s not an unreasonable place to start, but it’s also not the only one, and for Kaine to cite that figure amounts to a bit of cherry-picking.

In addition, it’s always worth a grain of salt when allocating credit to an elected official for good economic news.

On balance, we rate Kaine’s statement Half True.

Pence said this: “In the state of Indiana, I’ve signed more than $3.5 billion in tax relief.”

Figures from an office Pence controls did produce projections of tax cuts at that level.

But it’s worth noting that a relatively small share of those cuts have happened already — 84 percent are set to occur in fiscal years 2017 through 2022, a period far enough in the future to make it an open question whether the cuts will ultimately materialize.

We rate Pence’s statement Half True.

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