Fact-checking the US Senate debate

Oct. 11. 2016.

KUSA - Our team of researchers fact-checked claims made by both parties on stage at the Colorado History Center in downtown Denver Tuesday night. Missed it? Watch the debate in full here. 

CLAIM (by Darryl Glenn): Glenn claimed the Iran deal amounted to paying for ransom, a position many Republicans including the presidential front runner Donald Trump has claimed before. Michael Bennet has sided with the administration’s position that this is not true.

VERDICT: Needs Context

The U.S. owed Iran $400 million as part of a long standing dispute, and negotiators used that pending settlement as leverage to release a group of detained Americans. While both sides admit that settling the dispute over the money played a part in the negotiations, it was not considered “ransom” because Iran did not make the return of the money a condition of their release.

Still, the timing leaves enough room for politicians to debate the role the payment played.

CLAIM (by Michael Bennet): Bennet claimed to be “one of the most bi-partisan” Senators in Congress.

VERDICT: Mostly True

According to the Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy’s Bipartisan Index, Bennet ranked 23rd in the 2015 rankings of senators. The year before, he was ranked 35th. FYI, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz are ranked as the least bi-partisan senators. Govtrack.us ranked the senate according to those senators who vote against their party the most and in that poll Bennet ranked 5th.

CLAIM: (by Glenn)
Glenn claimed that “our labor employment participation rate is a D” when talking about why he is against bringing in too many refugees.

VERDICT: Needs Context

The participation rate is the percentage of the population who has a job or is looking for work-- the labor force. It's 63 percent right now-- which if you use a letter grade conversion comes out to a D. But here's the thing-- if you embrace that thinking-- the highest the country ever got with our best economy and good economic times was barely a D+-- just above 67.

We're only four percentage points lower than the all-time high which makes this state sound a lot less troubling than a "D."

CLAIM: (by Bennet): Bennet claimed universal background checks kept guns out of the hands of 2.2 percent of the 300,000 people who applied for guns in 2015, including murderers, rapists, kidnappers and domestic abusers.

VERDICT: Mostly True

According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s firearms statistics gathered by the Insta-check Unit, there were 342,839 requests for firearm purchases in 2015. 2.2 percent were denied. We do not know how many individuals repeatedly requested to buy a firearm. But we do know, the reasons for denial ranged from someone arrested on homicide charges, to assault or sexual assault, kidnapping, drugs or robbery arrests or convictions.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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