Lies, complications, true trail Clinton-Trump first debate

Clinton (left) and Trump. PHOTO: EPA/AFP

HILLARY Clinton and Donald Trump clashed Monday in their first head-to-head debate of the general election season, with Trump in particular straying from the truth, CNN’s Reality Check Team found.
The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the debate and selected key statements from both candidates, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it’s complicated.
On Climate Change
Clinton claimed Trump “thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese,” a charge Trump immediately denied. Who’s telling the truth?
On November 6, 2012, Trump tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Over a year later, Trump tweeted in response to weather reports, “Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!”
And Trump’s doubts have continued into the campaign season.
Last September, when he was seeking the Republican nomination, Trump told CNN that while he supports clean air and water, “I am not a believer in climate change.”
Trump went on to refute the connection between climate change and a rise in extreme weather phenomenon.
“Weather changes,” Trump said. “And you have storms, and you have rain, and you have beautiful days, but I do not believe that we should imperil the companies within our country. And by the way, China is doing nothing.”
In March, Trump took a more nuanced approach, telling a Washington Post editorial board that he doesn’t believe climate change is the result of man-made causes.
“I think there’s a change in weather,” he said. “I am not a great believer in man-made climate change. I’m not a great believer.”
And while Trump has repeated the hoax line on multiple occasions, he’s walked back the assertion that it was created by the Chinese, saying he meant that as a joke … sort of.
“I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China,” Trump said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” “Obviously, I joke, but this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change.”
While Trump doubts the validity of climate change, his company has prepared for it. According to a Politico report, Trump International Golf Links applied for a permit to build a sea wall at his golf course in Ireland to protect it from “global warming and its effects.”
Our verdict: True. While Trump has wavered on the cause of climate change, he has repeatedly denied its existence and called it a hoax.
On Job Creation
Clinton claimed that her economic plan would create 10 million jobs, while Trump’s plan would cost the nation 3.5 million jobs.
“People have looked at both of our plans, have concluded that mine would create 10 million jobs and yours would lose us 3.5 million jobs,” Clinton said.
Clinton is quoting a report from Moody’s Analytics’ Mark Zandi that came out over the summer. Zandi’s report said the nation’s economy would grow by 10 million jobs under Clinton’s plan, but lose 3.4 million under Trump.
Those statistics, however, are misleading. Zandi found the economy would add 7.2 million jobs even if Clinton didn’t do anything. So her plan would boost job growth by about 3 million jobs.
Meanwhile, it’s also not fair to compare the assertions that 10 million jobs would be gained under Clinton vs. 3.4 million jobs lost under Trump because the time frames are different. Contacted by CNNMoney, Zandi said a more accurate comparison to the 10 million jobs created under Clinton would be 400,000 jobs lost under Trump, not 3.4 million.
Another analysis by Oxford Economics found that under Clinton, the nation would create an additional 200,000 jobs by the start of 2021 if she implements all her policies. Under Trump, however, the US would lose 4 million jobs, according to the report, released earlier this month.
Therefore, we rate Clinton’s claim as true, but misleading.
On National Debt
When Clinton said Trump had said he would negotiate down the national debt if elected, Trump denied it was true.
But in a May debate, Trump said he would try reducing the national debt by trying to get creditors to accept lower amounts than the US owed.
In an exchange at Monday’s debate, Clinton said, “You’ve said you’d negotiate down the national debt.” Trump interrupted her to say, “Wrong.”
In May, he also told CNBC that he would borrow, and if the economy crashed, he would “make a deal.”
A few weeks later, Trump walked away from his comments about debt, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo he was misquoted.
“First of all, you never have to default because you print the money,” he said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Verdict: True — Trump claimed he would negotiate down the debt.
On Stop and Frisk
Trump claimed that New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy was not ruled unconstitutional — but it was.
“It went before a judge who was a very against-police judge. It was taken away from her and our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case,” Trump said. “They would have won an appeal.”
A federal judge deemed the policy carried out under Michael Bloomberg’s mayoralty to violate the law of the land in August 2013, and Bloomberg vowed to appeal. But a few months later, Bloomberg was out of office, and his liberal successor, Bill de Blasio, dropped the appeal as part of a settlement with New York police in January 2014.
So while Trump is correct that it is unknown how an appeal might have turned out had it not been dropped, that is not what unfolded. The lower court’s ruling was the final one, and so we rate Trump’s claim false.
On Birther Movement
Trump claimed that a false conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama’s birthplace began with Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
“If you look at CNN this past week, Patti Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened, (Sidney) Blumenthal sent McClatchy, highly respected reporter at McClatchy, to Kenya to find out about it, they were pressing very hard,” Trump said. “She failed to get the birth certificate. When I got involved I didn’t fail, I got him to give the birth certificate. So, I’m satisfied with it.”
Facts do not support Trump’s claims. Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton friend, denied to CNN last week that he peddled theories about Obama’s birthplace to reporters.
“This is false. Period,” he said. “Donald Trump cannot distract from the fact that he is the one who embraced and promoted the birther lie and bears the responsibility for it.”
Trump’s characterization of Doyle’s comments last week on CNN is similarly misleading. She told Wolf Blitzer that “The campaign, nor Hillary, did not start the birther movement. Period. End of the story.” She recalled there was a volunteer coordinator in Iowa who forwarded an email propegating the conspiracy, but that Clinton herself decided “immediately” to fire that person.
As for Blumenthal’s role in the campaign, some 2008 staffers have told CNN that he was not officially part of the Clinton campaign, and a CNN check of Federal Election Commission records shows no payment to Blumenthal from the campaign.
Verdict: Trump’s claim that Clinton’s campaign began the birther conspiracy is false.