Fact Check: Cravaack Makes Multiple False Statements In Debate With Oberstar (CC)

Chip Cravaack makes false statements during debate with Jim Oberstar

The research for these fact checks was prepared by students and graduates of the Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership program at the University of Minnesota Duluth. They picked what statements of the candidates to check and did the research.  The debate took place on October 22, 2010 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota

First fact check a statement from Chip Cravaack about 9/11.

Cravaack : “In regard to Afghanistan, you have to remember that the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission stated we are at war with Islamic fundamentalists. And right now that war is in Afghanistan.”

False. The phrase “at war with Islamic fundamentalists” never appears in the official published 9/11 Commission Report.

Oberstar: “That meltdown of the economy was devastating.   It (The Recession) started in December 2007. The recession accelerated with great pace throughout 2008…”

This is true. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research started in December of 2007.

Next: Federal health care reform.

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Cravaack: “And what did we get in return? What we’ve done… received is increased costs in our businesses, and a loss of jobs. This can be demonstrated right by, right down by, Medtronic. Medtronic has directly attributed this health care bill to $200 million loss… “

Cravaack’s statement that Medtronic would face a $200 Million dollar loss is misleading. While Medtronic faces an excise tax beginning in 2013, Medtronic says it may have additional income because of the health care law and cannot predict an actual gain or loss.

Craavaack “…and they said they could possibly lose up to 1,000 employees.”

Cravaack’s statement that Medtronic says it could lose up to one thousand jobs is false. Medtronic’s President was reported to have said that, but a Medtronic spokesperson later said the company may lose jobs, but it is not accurate to say it will lose 1,000 jobs.

Cravaack “Remember President Obama came out and said that if you like your health care provider you can keep ‘em. If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep him.  Well, 87 million Americans will not be able to keep their current health care plans…”

U of M fact checkers found Cravaack’s claim to be misleading. 87 Million Americans could see changes in their health care plans, but they wouldn’t lose them as Cravaack suggests. In some cases the policies may be replaced by more generous coverage with the government subsidizing the premiums.

Oberstar “And the plan will save over $750 billion over ten years, according to the government’s Congressional Budget Office, and will save a trillion dollars over 20 years.”

Oberstar’s claim of a trillion dollar savings over 20 years is misleading. There will be long-term savings, but the Congressional Budget Office says it does not provide estimates beyond a 10-year period.

Next: claims about Oberstar’s clean water restoration act

Moderator: “Please discuss with us your opinion of how the proposed Clean Water Act will affect us in the 8th district. “

Cravaack “The Clean Water Act, Congressman Oberstar has a current bill out that’s called The America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act.  What it’s going to do is actually federalize all waters of the United States…”

Cravaack’s use of the term “federalize” is unclear and could be misleading. Allowing for federal regulation does not mean the federal government would confiscate wetlands.

Cravaack: “…up to and including a seasonal slough or even including a wet meadow. This will put a layer of restrictions and regulations coming from the federal government.  This is actually The Clean Water Restoration Act which was Congressman Oberstar’s previous bill . . .was shot down twice by the , by the Supreme Court, it was under the  Raponos agreement and SWANCC decision and the Rapanos agreement or decision, stating that it was a huge overreach of the federal government, quite frankly, against the 10th amendment. The Clean Water Restoration Act, now the Aqua Bill,  is something we absolutely do not need in the United States and it is an overreach by the federal government, probably one of the biggest land grabs that ever occurred.”

U of M fact checkers found several false claims by Cravaack here. The Supreme court decisions he cites were about the 1972 Clean Water Act, and not Oberstar’s Clean Water Restoration Act. Second the decisions were about the meanings of the terms “navigable waters” and “waters of the United States”. Third the court did not declare the Clean Water Act unconstitutional and the justices did not even mention the 10th amendment. Finally the act is not a “land grab, but may require some landowners to seek federal permits to alter or fill in wetlands.

Moderator: “Mr. Oberstar”

Oberstar: “The Clean Water Restoration Act will not, America’s commitment to clean water, will not federalize, it will not change existing structure, what it will do is reestablish the Clean Water Act as it existed prior to the SWANCC and Rapanos decisions of 2001 in which the Supreme Court misinterpreted the Act.”

U of M fact checkers says this statement is half-true. Oberstar’s characterization of the Court’s decisions as “misinterpret[ing]” the Clean Water Act is his opinion of the original intent of the Act, with which the Supreme Court disagreed.

Moderator “ How can it be said the stimulus gave the middle class a tax break, while letting the Bush tax cuts expire, which would raise all tax brackets? “

Oberstar: “Well the Bush tax cuts have not yet expired. They will at the end of the year. We did give everybody in the stimulus a 250 dollar, I’m sorry, a 400 dollar per individual and an 800 dollar per couple reduction in taxes. That was 300 billion dollars, that was nearly half of the stimulus.”

This statement is also half true says the U of M fact checkers. The tax cut was a significant part of the stimulus package.

However, the characterization of tax cuts being “nearly half of the stimulus” is incorrect. Congressional Budget Office figures show tax cuts a little more than a third of the total, not half.

Oberstar: “Social Security depends upon a growing economy. We need to make sure that our economy is stimulated, that it is productive, that there are jobs created out into the future and we need to stay on that course. “We were on that course during the Clinton administration.  President Clinton left office with a $236 billion budget surplus, (TRUE) with a national debt down that would have been down to zero in this year if we’d stayed on that course. We need to come back to that approach and stabilize and strengthen our national economy and strengthen social security.

Fact check research prepared by:

Aaron Klemz MAPL Cohort 11

Adam Robinson MAPL Cohort 7

Advisor: Barbara H Haugen, MAPL Instructor, Public Policy Evaluation
Original MAPL fact check document as provided to The UpTake.

Captioned video:

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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