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DNC - AP: FACT CHECK: Chris Christie's not always the straight talker of the 2016 campaign 

Key points:

Too many to share. You just have to read this.


FACT CHECK: Chris Christie's not always the straight talker of the 2016 campaign


SANDOWN, N.H. (AP) — Chris Christie certainly tells it like he sees it. That's not to say he always tells it like it is.

In a Republican presidential kickoff speech centered on a pledge to talk straight, the New Jersey governor sometimes exaggerated his record and skipped over more troublesome realities in a state with a struggling economy, a chronically underfunded state pension system and an increasingly gridlocked government.

A look at the some of the claims in his speech this week and how they compare with the facts:


CHRISTIE: "We've refused to raise taxes on the people of this state for six years."

THE FACTS: Not quite.

During his first term, Christie cut the earned income tax credit, which largely benefits low-income workers, from 25 percent of the federal credit to 20 percent. He surprised Democrats last week by proposing bringing it up to 30 percent in the budget year that started Wednesday. Democrats quickly approved the change.

Christie also repeatedly delayed implementing the Homestead credit program, which grants property tax relief, angering elderly and low-income homeowners, even as he capped property tax increases overall. He also extended the sales tax on online purchases to out-of-state retailers and pushed for higher taxes on e-cigarettes, but failed.

This, while criticizing the previous Democratic administration for raising taxes and fees more than 100 times. To be sure, Christie has vetoed a number of proposed tax increases but his record is not free of raising taxes or their close cousin, fees.


CHRISTIE: "We rolled up our sleeves and we went to work and we balanced six budgets in a row."

THE FACTS: He had no choice. The New Jersey constitution requires balanced budgets, as many states do, and they are achieved one way or the other, often with some accounting tricks. Christie also has one of the most powerful governorships in the country, and has the power to veto whatever spending items he chooses.


CHRISTIE: "We made the difficult decisions to reform pensions and health benefits and continue that fight today."

THE FACTS: The governor indeed overhauled the pension and health benefits system for public employees, with the help of unions and Democratic lawmakers. But the deal that made that happen has been branded unconstitutional — by his own administration.

The deal involved union concessions such as higher retirement ages and health care contributions. In return, the state agreed to put more money into the system. But when tax revenues came in far lower than expected last year, Christie reneged on his side of the agreement.

The state Supreme Court ruled the governor wasn't on the hook for the payments. In a peculiar twist, his administration's lawyers had challenged the constitutionality of the agreement. Christie's political action committee even sent a fundraising pitch saying the court's ruling means taxpayers won't shoulder "an impossible tax burden from a union agreement that never even met the standards of the New Jersey Constitution."

Christie's further efforts to fix the pension system appear to be going nowhere.


CHRISTIE: "We need to get our economy growing again at 4 percent or greater."

THE FACTS: Few economists, liberal or conservative, think that's likely.

A 4 percent target, also prominently preached by Christie's Republican rival Jeb Bush, would require a doubling of growth from the current level, and big trends are pushing against that prospect. Among them, baby boomer retirements are limiting the number of workers in the economy. More automation and low-wage competition overseas are contributing to meager income growth, which has restrained the consumer spending that drives the majority of economic activity.

The odds of achieving sustainable 4 percent growth were low even when the demographic trends were more favorable.

Only four of the 16 presidential terms since World War II have experienced annual economic growth averaging more than 4 percent after inflation, according to economists at Princeton University.


Harry Truman saw it happen as U.S. manufacturers helped rebuild post-war Europe. Tax cuts contributed to a boom in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Bill Clinton benefited during his second term from low interest rates and what eventually became a tech-stock bubble.



DNC Chair Statement on Chris Christie's 2016 Announcement 

Washington, D.C. – With Chris Christie’s announcement that he is running for president, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:


"Now that Chris Christie is a candidate for President, he should be prepared to handle some blunt, straight-talk he may not like: his failed leadership has driven New Jersey’s economy off a cliff, leaving the middle class even further behind.


"As governor, Christie has led New Jersey to a record-setting nine credit downgrades, the third lowest private sector job growth in the country, and an unemployment rate among the highest in the region. The state has experienced significant budget shortfalls as Christie gave massive tax breaks to corporations and protected those at the very top while failing to meet his obligations to the middle class.


"Chris Christie spent 2014 and most of 2015 so far ignoring the problems he created at home while the state’s economic and fiscal crises worsened.


"His bullying style created a culture that led to the infamous Bridgegate scandal, and he's done nothing to solve New Jersey’s fiscal problems.


"Allow me to tell it like it is: Governor Christie doesn’t have solutions for America’s middle class, and he’d be a nightmare as President."




DNC -State Democratic Parties Respond to Jeb Bush's Announcement

Today, state Democratic parties responded to Jeb Bush’s presidential announcement. Here’s what they had to say:


“Iowa Democrats fight every day to ensure our country is an inclusive place, accepting of all backgrounds and families, where everyone can have access to the ladder of economic opportunity. But Bush's policies as Governor of Florida and his campaign rhetoric leading up to this announcement give us a clear preview of who Bush would fight for: people like himself, not working Iowans.” – Sam Lau, Iowa Democratic Party


“From the middle class to seniors, from women to the LGBT community, Bush’s record of exclusion is nothing but a page from the failed Republican policies of the past. While Bush lays out his backwards and failed policies today, just remember all those he’s left behind.” Lizzy Price, New Hampshire Democratic Party


"We know what to expect from Jeb Bush because we've seen it before – policies that wreck the economy, giving massive breaks to the wealthy and corporations while leaving the rest of the country behind, A third Bush presidency would marginalize so many hard-working Virginians, from single mothers to public school children and LGBT people. Jeb has consistently put himself and people like him over everyday Americans, which Virginia just can't afford." – Morgan Finkelstein, Democratic Party of Virginia


“Texas and the rest of the country are still suffering from George W. Bush’s failed economic policies. Jeb Bush is no different than his brother. He opposes policies that help level the playing field for our middle class families. Texas needs a president that will help all Texans and all Americans receive a living wage and have access to affordable health care. Texans deserve a candidate that will champion a strong middle class, quality health care, and smart investments in our children’s future. Jeb Bush is not that candidate.” Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas Democrats


“His views are vastly out-of-touch with mainstream America and Mainers who believe in equality and empowering all women and families. His policy beliefs aren’t much better. He’s actually endorsed budgets and policies that would slash early childhood education programs, college affordability and Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Bush’s agenda would be disastrous for hard working Maine families, students and seniors.” – Phil Barlett, Maine Democratic Party

View this post on our Factivists site here.


DNC Response to Chris Christie's Demand For An Apology

The DNC released the following response on Chris Christie’s demand for the media to apologize for its coverage of the Bridgegate scandal:


“Oh. Right. Never mind the fact that his incompetent leadership wrecked the state budget, led to a record nine credit downgrades, the highest property taxes in the nation, and one of the worst rates of job growth in the country. Never mind the fact that there is still an ongoing investigation, and that he created a culture that led to Bridgegate. Chris Christie is the victim here, and he’s got low poll numbers because people love him so much.  If you buy that, then we’ve got a closed bridge to sell you.” –Kaylie Hanson, DNC spokesperson


View this post on our Factivists site here.


DNC - Jeb calls believing in climate science "intellectual arrogance"

Tonight in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush asserted that believing the science that climate change is man-made is "intellectual arrogance."


Full quote: "It's just convoluted and for the people who say the science is decided on this, it's just really arrogant to be honest with you. It's intellectual arrogance..."


"Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that human activity has led to climate change.  Ninety-seven percent.  But Jeb Bush thinks they’re wrong.  Who’s being intellectually arrogant now?" – Holly Shulman, DNC National Press Secretary