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PolitiFact Florida's Top 5 Claims Of 2016

The sometimes raucous presidential debates gave plenty of fodder to fact-checkers in 2016. So it's no surprise that the Top Five most-viewed rulings from PolitiFact Florida revolve around claims made by the candidates. WUSF's Steve Newborn takes a look at them with PolitiFact's Josh Gillin.

In honor of the end of 2016, we take this look at the Top 5 most-clicked stories of the year from PolitiFact Florida:

5. Marco Rubio exaggerates in saying it's been 80 years since a 'lame duck' made a Supreme Court nomination

The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia prompted some of the Republican presidential candidates, including Rubio, to call on President Barack Obama to hold back on his replacement and leave the decision to the next president. The most recent contradiction of this claim would be Reagan’s nomination of Kennedy who was nominated in November 1987 and confirmed during Reagan’s final year of office in February 1988. We rated this claim Mostly False.

4. Donald Trump wrongly blames Hillary Clinton for the creation of ISIS

This became a talking point for Trump, who also pointed blame at times at Obama. There were several factors that contributed to the growing power of ISIS, but it’s misleading to pin the responsibility solely on Clinton. For starters, the roots of ISIS trace back to 2004, when George W. Bush was president and before Clinton was Obama’s secretary of state. She did vote to authorize force in Iraq in 2002 while a senator, but that was advocated by the Bush administration and the vast majority of senators. The intervention in Libya, which she supported, did give ISIS an opening, but Trump is overstating her role by saying she is responsible for ISIS. We rated this statement False.

3. Was college once free in the United States as Bernie Sanders says?

There was a time in the United States when some public colleges and universities charged no tuition. However, tuition has never been set as a national policy -- it is a decision for each school or state government officials. Sanders also said that free college exists in countries all over the world today. There are at least nine advanced countries that offer free college, including Germany. We rated this statement Mostly True.

2. The electoral college vs. the popular vote: Could states do an end-run around the current system?

After Clinton won the popular vote but Trump won the Electoral College, activists renewed a push to revamp the system by which the presidency is awarded. Ten states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, in which states agree to award all their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. The compact only takes effect when states totalling 270 electoral votes sign on, and so far the effort still falls short of that. If enough states ever sign on, the plan would likely face a court challenge. Here is our story.

1. Did Donald Trump inherit $100 million? During a testy exchange at the Republican debate in Detroit on March 3, 2016, Rubio said of Trump "He inherited over $100 million." Trump interjected: "Wrong. Wrong. Wrong." We did not put this claim on the Truth-O-Meter because it was difficult to verify how much Trump inherited, but Rubio had a point that Trump was not a self-made man. It’s a bit of a mystery how much Trump inherited from his father, Fred Sr. When he died in 1999; the New York Times reported that "his estate has been estimated by the family at $250 million to $300 million" but it was unclear exactly how it was divvied up. Here is our story.

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7. To see more, visit WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7.

Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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