Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Politicians Say

You may have heard there is a fight for the Republican nomination.  What's interesting to me is how bendable the truth seems to be for certain politicians.  For fun, let's look at Politifact, the non-partisan fact-checking web site, to see how the various candidates stand up so far.

The site scores folks on a scale:  True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False, and everyone's favorite for the really big fibs -- Pants on Fire.

How are the GOP hopefuls doing?

Newt Gringrich:  He's been around a long time and so there's a nice fat record here of 59 evaluations of his comments.  Of these, only 5 received a "True" (8.5 percent), the lowest rate among the candidates left standing.  He's received "Pants on Fire" 10 times, a 16.9 percent rate of telling whoppers.  Gingrich scores the lowest in truthfulness and the highest in burning pants.

Ron Paul:  Of the 33 comments by Paul, seven were judged "true" (21.2 percent, the highest of the GOPers) and 3 found so bad as to receive the Pants on Fire (9.1 percent).  Congratulations, Rep. Paul, you're the head of the class in truthfulness, at least in terms of comments evaluated by Politifact.

Mitt Romney:  The frontrunner's page has the most evaluated comments of the four GOP hopefuls (117), and of these he's had his pants on fire only 10 times (8.5 percent).  He's been "true" 22 times, or 18.8 percent.

Rick Santorum:  If nothing else, Santorum knows how to make headlines, especially of late.  On his Politifact page, of his 34 comments evaluated by the site, only 4 scored a true (11.8 percent).  He got 3 "Pants on Fire" (8.8 percent). 

Let's be a bit fair here.  Politifact only looks at the comments likely to be a bit wacky, so the proportion of outright lies and falsehoods for all candidates is gonna skew higher than the stuff actually spewing out of their mouths.  And I'm not even getting into Obama because, well, it's still nomination time among the GOP candidates.  We'll return to this when the general election rolls around.  But the Politifact site does have a nice graph on Obama's promises and whether they were kept or not.  

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