The Democratic debate on Thursday found Hillary Clinton making iffy claims about Wall Street ties and rival Bernie Sanders defending an ad that boasted of bogus endorsements. Assertions and reality:
Clinton: “I went to Wall Street before the crash. I was the one saying you’re going to wreck the economy because of these shenanigans with mortgages. I called to end the carried-interest loophole that hedge fund managers enjoy.”
The facts: Clinton was not nearly as tough-talking with Wall Street as she suggested. In a video of a 2007 speech obtained by ProPublica, she thanked her “wonderful donors” in the audience, said banks were not primarily to blame for the emerging crisis, and praised Wall Street for its contribution to the economy.
Sanders: Asked about his ad that cites two New Hampshire newspapers among groups endorsing him, said, “We never said … a newspaper endorsed us that did not.”
The facts: Sanders’ 30-second TV ad, titled “Endorsed,” lists groups that it says are backing his candidacy, repeatedly using the word “endorsed.” Onto that list it seamlessly adds the Telegraph in Nashua and the Valley News, quoting favorable comments printed by both newspapers. Both newspapers have said they haven’t made any endorsements in the Democratic race.
Clinton: “[Wall Street is] trying to beat me.”
The facts: People in the securities and investment industry gave more than $17 million last year to super political action committees supporting her, and nearly $3 million directly to her campaign.
Sanders: “Almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent.”
The facts: He’s relying on outdated numbers. In the first five years of the economic recovery, 2009-2014, the richest 1 percent captured 58 percent of income growth. That’s far short of “almost all.” In the first three years of the recovery, 2009-2012, the richest 1 percent did capture 91 percent of the growth in income. But part of that gain reflected an accounting maneuver.
Clinton: “I am against American combat troops being in Syria and Iraq. I support special forces. I support trainers. I support the air campaign.”
The facts: Clinton makes a dubious distinction. There is little doubt that U.S. special operations forces like those now operating both in Syria and Iraq are involved in combat situations. The Pentagon recently sent up to 200 special operations troops to Iraq to carry out a range of risky missions.
Sanders: He said that “trade agreements over the last 30 years were written by corporate America, for corporate America, resulted in the loss of millions of decent-paying jobs, 60,000 factories in America lost since 2001.”
The facts: It’s not that simple. Since NAFTA took effect in 1994, opening trade with Mexico and Canada, the U.S. has lost 4.5 million manufacturing jobs, but it’s not easy to assign blame. The Congressional Research Service concluded that NAFTA’s effect on the nation’s economy “appears to have been relatively small.”