Fact-checkers look at debate barbs of Trump,Christie, Carson, Rubio

For fact-check updates from the debate, please see www.politifact.com/

Republican presidential candidates held nothing back in their fiery third debate Wednesday, throwing punch after punch at each other, Democrats, the moderators and the press.

PolitiFact has looked at several claims from the debate, some more cage-matchy, and others about substantive issues.

Here’s what we’ve fact-checked so far.

Rubio on businesses dying under Obama

Rubio said that “for the first time in 35 years, we have more businesses dying than we do starting.”

The change didn’t happen in the past year or two — it occurred in 2008 — but in general, Rubio has accurately cited a statistic from a respected think tank’s report.

The co-author of that report said he feels Rubio has stated the claim accurately.

We rated Rubio’s claim True.

Fiorina on women’s job losses

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said women voters shouldn’t assume that just because Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is a woman that she has their interests at heart.

“It is the height of hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to talk about being the first woman president, when every single policy she espouses and every single policy of President Obama has been demonstratively bad for women,” Fiorina said. “Ninety-two percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women.”

Her 92-percent claim dates back to the 2012 presidential race when it was used by the Republican National Committee and GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Back then we rated it Mostly False.

Interestingly, women’s jobs made up a lot of ground in the final months of 2012. By January 2013, the jobs numbers don’t back up the talking point at all. The number of women with jobs increased by 416,000 during Obama’s first term.

So we rated Fiorina’s statement False.

Bernie Sanders’ tax plan

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got a few laughs when he said the Democratic field consisted of a “socialist, an isolationist and a pessimist — and for the sake of me, I can’t figure out which one is which.”

Christie then said the socialist, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is “going to raise your taxes to 90 percent,” echoing a claim made earlier this month by Donald Trump.

“This maniac … is gonna tax you people at 90 percent. He’s gonna take everything,” Trump said on Oct. 14. “And nobody’s heard the term communist, but you know what? I’d call him a socialist/communist, okay? ‘Cause that’s what he is.”

Sanders hasn’t released an official tax plan, either for billionaires or for anyone else. But based on his previous comments and proposals, the tax policies Sanders is advocating are targeted at corporations and affluent Americans.

Sanders has dismissed the notion that he wants to set marginal tax rates for billionaires at 90 percent. And on the whole, his tax proposals so far do not envision raising “your taxes” — that is, those of ordinary Americans — to anything approaching 90 percent.

The comment grossly exaggerates the scope of Sanders’ plan.

We rated Christie’s claim Pants on Fire.

Ben Carson on nutritional supplements

Ben Carson said it’s “total propaganda” to suggest he had any connection to Mannatech, a maligned nutritional supplement company, when asked about it by moderator Carl Quintanilla.

“This is a company called Mannatech, a maker of nutritional supplements, with which you had a 10-year relationship,” Quintanilla said. “They offered claims they could cure autism, cancer. They paid $7 million to settle a deceptive marketing lawsuit in Texas, and yet your involvement continues. Why?”

“Well, that’s easy to answer: I didn’t have an involvement with them,” replied Carson, a former pediatric neurosurgeon. “That is total propaganda. And this is what happens in our society — total propaganda. I did a couple speeches for them. I did speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product.”

As far as we can tell, Carson was not a paid employee or official endorser of the product. However, his claim suggests he has no ties to Mannatech whatsoever. In reality, he got paid to deliver speeches to Mannatech and appeared in promotional videos, and he consistently delivered glowing reviews of the nutritional supplements. As a world-renowned surgeon, Carson’s opinion on health issues carries weight, and Mannatech has used Carson’s endorsement to its advantage.

We rated Carson’s claim False.

Mark, Marco and Donald

Rubio was also the subject of a back-and-forth between Donald Trump and CNBC moderator Becky Quick.

Here’s the exchange:

Quick: “You have talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him (Facebook founder) Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator, because he was in favor of the H-1B visa.”

Trump: “I never said that. I never said that.”

Quick: “So this is an erroneous article the whole way around? … My apologies, I’m sorry.”

Trump: “Somebody’s really doing some bad fact-checking.”

As it turns out, Quick was, uh, too quick to apologize.

Trump may want to check his own website. On the immigration policy page, it says, “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.”

Pants on Fire!