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6 Falsehoods You're Likeliest To Hear In Tonight's Debate

Fact check!

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1. Donald Trump: I was totally against the war in Iraq.

This is a claim that Donald Trump likes to make. But saying it over and over again doesn’t make it any truer. As BuzzFeed News has reported, Trump was asked by Howard Stern in 2002 if he supported invading Iraq, to which Trump answered, “Yeah, I guess.”

There’s no evidence that Trump was against the war before it started; in fact the Stern interview shows the opposite. Trump has said that his deep opposition to the war wasn’t well-reported because he wasn’t a politician at the time. Trump has cited a 2004 Esquire article as other evidence he was against the war from the start — but 2004 is a year later than 2003, when the Iraq War began.

Earlier this month, Trump repeated the claim to Matt Lauer and Lauer didn’t challenge him on it.

2. Hillary Clinton: We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again and we are not putting ground troops into Syria.

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Clinton has said she won’t commit ground troops in Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIS. The problem with this claim is that there are troops on the ground already: some 5,000 in Iraq and 300 in Syria. The Obama administration has been careful to note that the troops in Iraq and Syria are there as special operations support and advisers to Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIS — not explicitly combat troops. Clinton wants to continue the supportive role US forces are playing, but it’s not true to say there won’t be ground troops ever again as there are thousands there now, with some quietly participating in combat roles.

3. Donald Trump: If you look at what’s going on in this country, African-American youth is an example — 59% unemployment rate.

The actual rate of unemployment among black youth is a little over 18%. Trump appears to be including people who are not actively looking for work and those who are students.

4. Hillary Clinton: Her private email use was “permitted” by the State Department.

Clinton has apologized for setting up and using a private email server during her time as secretary of state, but she has claimed that doing so was allowed by the State Department. As the Washington Post reported, an inspector general report from May couldn’t find evidence that Clinton had cleared the use of the server with the State Department and that she was under an obligation to do so.

5. Donald Trump: He “finished” the birther issue.

Trump has been one of the birther movement’s most ferocious advocates, and as recently as this year he has questioned if Barack Obama’s birth certificate is real. Trump held a bizarre media appearance recently at the opening of his new hotel in DC where he claimed he'd “finished” the issue. “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy," Trump said. "I finished it. I finished it.” Clinton did not start the birther movement, though some of birtherism’s roots can be traced to her Democratic supporters in 2008. Trump, however, repeatedly talked about Barack Obama’s birth certificate — and it’s the very thing that propelled him onto the national stage in 2011 and 2012.

6. Hillary Clinton: The Obama administration has created “15 million new jobs in the last 7 and a half years.”

As a number of fact-checkers have pointed out — but it bears repeating since it’s a number Clinton likes to use a lot — 15 million new jobs overestimates Obama’s jobs record by about 5 million. She is actually counting from the low point of the recession, in February 2010, and not January 2009, when Obama took office.


Kate Nocera is the DC Bureau Chief for BuzzFeed’s Washington, DC bureau. Nocera is a recipient of the National Press Foundation's 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting on Congress.

Contact Kate Nocera at kate.nocera@buzzfeed.com.

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