State of the Union 2015 Fact Check: Obama’s Rhetoric vs. Reality

1/21/15
 
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from ABCNews,
1/20/15:

Fact Check 1 — Economic Growth.
What Obama said: “So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don’t get in the way.
-It’s complicated. The verdict isn’t exactly that clear.

Fact Check 2 — Gas Prices
What Obama said: “Thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.
- Mostly True. According to the most recent short-term energy outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “the average household is now expected to spend about $750 less for gasoline in 2015 compared with last year because of lower prices.” “The problem is that lower gas prices make trucks and SUVs more attractive,” Gordon told ABC News. It’s an alluring figure that Deborah Gordon, the Director for the Energy and Climate Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said actually casts a dark shadow over the outlook for further initiatives addressing climate change that the President also pushed for in his address. “So maintaining fuel economy when gas prices are low is very challenging.”

Fact Check 3 — The War on ISIS
What Obama said: “Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group.
-Mostly true. At issue is the President’s claim that the US is not being drawn into another ground war in the Middle East. He’s said repeatedly he wants no “US boots on the ground,” but since the war against ISIS started last August the US has deployed 2,357 American troops to Iraq, according to the Pentagon. And they all have boots.
What Obama said: “In Iraq and Syria, American leadership – including our military power – is stopping ISIL’s advance… we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group.
-It’s complicated. The U.S. and its coalition partners have had successes halting ISIS in parts of Iraq, but there’s a much murkier picture in neighboring Syria.
What Obama said: “We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks.
-It’s complicated. It depends what the president means by “networks.” Have any terrorist networks actually been dismantled? Indeed, many smaller “groups of plotters,” most if not all of them overseas, have been dismantled in recent years with help from the U.S. government, ABC News was told.
What Obama said: “We’re also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort
-True. The United States has just begun to roll out a training program scheduled to begin this spring that will train and equip 5,400 moderate Syrian opposition forces over the next year.

Fact Check 4 — Education

Fact Check 5 — Job Creation

Fact Check 6 — Climate Change

Fact Check 7 — Cyber Security/

Fact Check 8 — Taxes

Fact Check 9 — Guantanamo Bay
What Obama said: “As Americans, we have a profound commitment to justice – so it makes no sense to spend three million dollars per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit.
-True. The U.S. government spent $397.4 million dollars to run the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in 2014, according to the final fiscal year report from Congress. That breaks down to $3.25 million per detainee. There are 122 remaining there today. No other prison on earth can match that price tag.

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