PolitiFact: The GOP debate roundup

The non-partisan fact-checkers at PolitiFact last week focued on claims from Tuesday’s GOP debate in Las Vegas.

It was the final 2015 Republcan showdown among presidential candidates, and it featured several personal and policy battles among the still- crowded field.

Security issues dominated the contest, the first since the San Bernardino mass shooting and terrorist attack in Paris.

Abbreviated versions of some of our debate fact-checks can be found below.

Full versions can be found at www.politifact.com/georgia/.

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).


Jeb Bush

“Two months ago, Donald Trump said that ISIS was not our fight.”

One constant theme of the debate was Jeb Bush, once thought to be the party’s frontrunner, attacking Donald Trump.

At one point Bush went after Trump’s proposal to go after the families of terrorists as evidence of the former reality star’s lack of serious ideas.

“Look, two months ago Donald Trump said ‘ISIS was not our fight,’ ” Bush said.

In a Sept. 28 interview with CNN, Trump appears to suggest that Russia and Syria should be the countries to primarily fight ISIS.

“Let Syria and ISIS fight. Why do we care?” Trump said. “And let Russia, they’re in Syria already, let them fight ISIS.”

Trump made comments closer to what Bush said about five months ago, in a July 8 interview with CNN. Trump used the words, “That’s not our fight,” in describing the situation with ISIS.

We rated Bush’s claim Mostly True.

Rand Paul

Says Marco Rubio “is the one for an open border.”

Paul is way off. Rubio doesn’t support anything like an open border.

Rubio was one of the authors of a 2013 bill that included billions for border security and 20,000 more border agents.

After that bill died in the House, Rubio has repeatedly said that the border must be secured before the Senate can revisit changing immigration laws. The idea that Rubio supports an open border is inaccurate and ridiculous.

We rate Paul’s statement Pants on Fire.

Ted Cruz

“The head of the FBI has told Congress they cannot vet those (Syrian) refugees.”

Donald Trump’s controversial call to ban Muslims entering the United States was understandable to Cruz, given what he said was the Obama administration insistence on refugees.

“President Obama and Hillary Clinton are proposing bringing tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to this country, when the head of the FBI has told Congress they cannot vet those refugees,” Cruz said.

Cruz’s description of FBI director James Comey’s comments is inaccurate.

In his testimony, Comey said he could not personally vet every refugee admitted to the United States (which would be required under a bill put forward by House Republicans).

But he’s never said that the government cannot vet the refugees.

Comey has testified that there are challenges and risks to the screening process. But he’s also said the process is “effective,” and we’ve gotten “dramatically” better at the task in the past few years.

We Cruz’s claim Mostly False

Marco Rubio

Says Ted Cruz supports “legalizing people who are in this country illegally.”

Cruz and Rubio both have jumped in polls in the bid to be the not-Trump option on the primary ballot.

One scrap between the two got personal, in fighting over who took a harder line on immigration.

“Ted, you support legalizing people who are in this country illegally,” Rubio said. “Ted Cruz supported a 500 percent increase in the number of H1B visas, the guest workers that are allowed in this country. And Ted supports doubling the number of green cards.”

Cruz responded, “I understand that Marco wants to raise confusion. It is not accurate what he just said that I supported legalization. Indeed, I led the fight against his legalization and amnesty bill.”

Cruz did propose an amendment in 2013 to the immigration bill that would have stripped the citizenship provision. But it appeared to be a legislative tactic, after months arguing against the measure that he ultimately voted against.

We rated Rubio’s claim Mostly False.