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VP debate: fact checking Tim Kaine

Posted: 8:31 PM, Oct 04, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-05 06:57:54-04
VP debate: fact checking Tim Kaine
How did the candidates fair against fact checks in Tuesday's vice presidential debate?
 
We teamed up with PolitiFact to fact check everything the candidates said. Here, we followed Tim Kaine's comments to get our "Truth-o-Meter" verdicts.
 
 
Kaine, the junior United States Senator from Virginia, is Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's running mate.
 
Let's see how factual Kaine was during his highly-anticipated debate with Donald Trump's running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. 
 
Mostly True: Clinton helped win health care for millions of children.
This is accurate. Clinton was key to creating the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides coverage for 8 million children.
 
True: African Americans sentenced at higher rates
 
African Americans are more likely to be arrested and get longer sentences than whites for the same actions, PolitiFact found.
 
Mostly true: The Iran nuclear deal dealt with Iran "without firing a shot."
 
Since the United States has not had any military skirmishes with Iran in the past year, Kaine's statement is true. Clinton mentioned this during her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention as she touted her experience as secretary of state.
 
"I'm proud that we put a lid on Iran's nuclear program without firing a single shot," she told the crowd in Philadelphia. "Now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel's security."
 
Mostly true: Trump has said he would let states decide minimum wage.
 
In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," Trump clarified his views on whether Washington should set a minimum wage. He said:
 
"No, I'd rather have the states go out and do what they have to do. And the states compete with each other, not only other countries, but they compete with each other, Chuck. So I like the idea of let the states decide. But I think people should get more. I think they're out there. They're working. It is a very low number. You know, with what's happened to the economy, with what's happened to the cost. I mean, it's just -- I don't know how you live on $7.25 an hour. But I would say let the states decide."
 
Half true: Kaine's claim of 15 million news jobs is cherry-picked.
 
Clinton made the same claim during her acceptance speech at the DNC, praising President Barack Obama's efforts to steer the nation's recovery from the great recession.  
 
"Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs," she said.
 
But to get to that number, Clinton fuzzed the time frame.
 
To do it, she picked the low point of the job market under Obama. From that point, the United States has gained nearly 15 million private-sector jobs.
 
Specifically, the number of employed Americans bottomed out in February 2010 with 107.3 million jobs and rebounded, as of June 2016, to just over 122 million jobs. That’s an increase of about 14.8 million jobs -- a reasonable approximation for Clinton’s phrasing of "nearly 15 million."
 
But note the time frame for that calculation. It doesn’t start at the point "when they" -- Obama and Biden -- "took office." February 2010 was just over a year after Obama and Biden were sworn in.
 
Essentially, Obama and Biden took office as the recession was spiraling to its low point, but it took a while to hit bottom. So after they were sworn in, the number of jobs continued to fall for a year as they worked to stop the economic freefall.
 
We should note that starting the count in February 2010 is something economists have told us is actually a reasonable decision, since the recession began under George W. Bush and Obama can’t reasonably be blamed for job losses in the earliest part of his tenure, when the die was already cast.
 
However, Clinton glossed over the difference in the time frame by starting the count at their inauguration. And how big a difference does this make? It’s not trivial.
 
Using this measurement, the number of jobs rose from about 111.5 million in January 2009 to 122.1 million in June 2016. That’s an increase of 10.6 million jobs, or only about two-thirds of the nearly 15 million total Clinton touted in her speech.
 
Mostly true: Trump called the military "a disaster."
 
Trump in fact made this remark during the sixth primary debate on Jan. 14.
 
In response to a question by Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo, who asked about South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s reference to Trump as one of "the angriest voices," Trump responded:
 
"I'm very angry because our country is being run horribly and I will gladly accept the mantle of anger. Our military is a disaster. Our healthcare is a horror show. Obamacare, we're going to repeal it and replace it. We have no borders. Our vets are being treated horribly. Illegal immigration is beyond belief. Our country is being run by incompetent people. And yes, I am angry."
 
True: Kaine's claim about the Clinton Foundation's impact on HIV/AIDS drugs is true.
In 2014, the World Health Organization reported that by the end of 2013, more than 11.7 million people were on antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income countries. While the kinds of drugs have changed, the WHO said "in the past decade the price of individual antiretroviral formulations has decreased considerably."
 
The treatments used in the early days have fallen from a median cost of about $600 in 2003 to about $100 a decade later. A more advanced drug combination introduced in 2005 saw a similar decline.
 
Importantly, the WHO listed the Clinton Health Access Initiative as one of a handful of organizations collaborating on ensuring a steady supply of drugs. The partners in that effort include the biggest players, including several United Nations agencies, PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and UNITAID, a project created by  Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom.
 
Half true: Kaine is right that Trump discussed punishing women who choose abortion, but he later clarified his remarks.
 
In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Trump agreed there should be some sort of punishment for women who decide to have abortions, though he wouldn't elaborate.
 
His campaign later walked back those comments, saying he meant that the person who performed the abortion would face consequences -- not the woman. The campaign's statement read:
 
"If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb."