World News Wednesday: Third Presidential Debate Fact Checker

A week ago today, on October 19th, the third and final Presidential Debate was held at the University of Las Vegas. Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, and Republican candidate, Donald Trump, took the stage with moderator Chris Wallace from Fox News. Election Day is fast-approaching, and this debate remains fresh in the minds of voters. Many news sources have worked to fact check the candidates, as well as Hillary Clinton’s campaign website where live fact checking on Donald Trump has streamed throughout all three debates. The Performer wanted to dedicate this week’s World News Wednesday to produce our own fact checks. To narrow it down, we chose claims from both candidates, based on three of the major debate topics that were discussed.

Image result for third presidential debate 2016


The Claim

Trump:Hillary Clinton wanted the wall. Hillary Clinton fought for the wall. In 2006 or thereabouts. Now she never gets anything done so naturally the wall wasn’t built, but Hillary Clinton wanted the wall.”

Clinton:I voted for border security and there are some limited places where that was appropriate there also is necessarily going to be a technology and how best to deploy that.”

The Facts

When Clinton was serving as a senator, she voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, along with 25 other Democratic senators. The senate passed the act and it was signed into law by President George W. Bush. This act authorized 700 miles of additional fencing along the US Southern border. It also authorized vehicle barriers, checkpoints, and lighting to prevent people from illegally entering the country. Lastly, it authorized the Department of Homeland Security to increase their use of advanced technology such as cameras and satellites to reinforce infrastructure at the border.

True or False?

Trump saying that “Hillary Clinton wanted the wall.” is not entirely accurate when looking at the Secure Fence Act of 2006. While fencing was a part of the law, many other border security measures were apart of the act. Further, the distinction between a wall and fencing should be made. The statement that “the wall wasn’t built” doesn’t exactly add up, being that the act Clinton voted for was to add additional fencing that remains to be there. It should also be noted that it was for 700 miles of fencing along the 1,989-mile-long border, which is very different than the wall Trump is proposing. Therefore, Donald Trump’s statement remains mostly false and Hillary Clinton’s statement remains true.


The Claims

Trump: During President Obama’s regime, we have doubled our national debt. We are up to twenty trillion dollars. So my plan – we are going to renegotiate trade. We’re going to have a lot of free trade, more free trade than we have right now. But we have horrible deals. Our jobs are being taken out by the deal that her husband signed – NAFTA – one of the worst deals ever. Our jobs are being sucked out of our economy. ”

Clinton: “That is a plan that has been analyzed by independent experts that said it could produce ten million new jobs. By contrast, Donald’s plan has been analyzed to conclude it might lose three and half million jobs.”

The Facts

When President Obama took office, the national debt stood at about 10 trillion dollars. Today, it is around 19 trillion dollars. NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA was negotiated and signed by President Bush on December 17, 1992. After taking office, Clinton also signed NAFTA on December 8th, 1993. In relation to jobs, NAFTA created 25.1 million jobs in the United States between 1993 and 2008. In the entire North American continent, total employment has grown by almost 40 million jobs since 1993. The “independent experts” referred to by Clinton are Moody’s Analytics, who published The Macroeconomic Consequences of Mr. Trump’s Economic Policies. The report did indeed conclude that Trump’s plan could lose three and a half million jobs. Those numbers, however, can be up for debate.

True or False?

Although the number is constantly evolving, the national debt has roughly doubled when comparing before and after Obama’s two terms. Trump’s claim on NAFTA is a little less supported, however. NAFTA was signed by President Bush, just one month before President Clinton took office. It is true that Bill Clinton did sign NAFTA, about a year later. When discussing NAFTA’s influence on US jobs, it is not well supported by numbers to say “jobs are being sucked out of our economy” as jobs have been brought to the entire continent. Looking at the report used by Clinton, credibility comes into question, of course. The “experts” of the website and their credentials are listed here. Looking at the writers of this report specifically, Mark Zandi is the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics and has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. The numbers in the report can be up for debate, however, being that predictions were made based on the hypothetical reality of Trump’s plan. Therefore, Trump’s statement is partially true, but may be taken out of context especially in relation to NAFTA. Clinton’s claims are mostly true based on technicalities, but there are clear factors that create uncertainty.

Election Security/Foreign Affairs

The Claims

Trump: “So I just want to tell you she wants open borders now we can talk about Putin. I don’t know Putin.

Clinton: “…the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions, then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the Internet. This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government clearly from Putin himself. In an effort, as seventeen of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election.”

The Facts

Clinton’s campaign does not support open borders. However, WikiLeaks quotes Clinton to have said: “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, sometime in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.” The seventeen intelligence agencies from the USIC released the Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security on October 7th. Their statement includes: “The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations… We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities… However, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government.” In a 2013 interview,  Trump directly stated to having a relationship with Putin. Also, in 2014 at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said, “Putin even sent me a present,” in reference to the Miss Universe Pageant being held in Moscow. A year ago, Trump was also quoted, saying, “I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes” about Putin.

True or False?

It has been largely debated whether Clinton was speaking about immigration or energy when she used “open borders” in her quote released on WikiLeaks. In the debate, Clinton made it very clear she was referring to energy. However, the quote is open to interpretation. The idea that “intelligence agencies have confirmed” hacking by the Russian Government, is mostly true. The USIC statement ensures confidence in Russia’s responsibility of compromises, but never fully confirms as Clinton stated. Also, the USIC statement never named Putin directly, as Clinton said they did.  However, “senior-most officials” is perhaps an indirect finger pointed at Putin. As for Trump and Putin, previous statements by Trump seems to contradict his claim to not know Putin. Therefore, Trump’s claim stands false and Clinton’s remains mostly false, due to lack of support when it comes to “confidence” verses “confirmation.”

Thanks for reading this week’s World News Wednesday article! Check back every week for more news from around the world. Also, visit The Performer tomorrow for another article on Spirit Week!

Article written by Kylie Miller.



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