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1: Trump’s outrageous claim that ‘thousands’ of New Jersey Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks
GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump falsely and repeatedly asserted that he saw television images of “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the collapse of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks. Despite an army of fact checks, including ours, and repeated debunking, Trump continued to assert he was correct, even though he could produce no evidence except a handful of news stories that made brief mentions of alleged celebrations—which never could be confirmed. He earned Four Pinocchios. (Ben Carson, another GOP aspirant, briefly said he too had seen such a video. But to his credit, he withdrew the statement after realizing it was of Palestinians in Gaza, not New Jersey.)
2: Hillary Clinton’s claim that she tried to join the Marines
Clinton unexpectedly again brought up the dubious story that she had once tried to join the Marines in the mid-1970s, only to be rebuffed. There are many reasons to be doubtful about this tale; a pair of friends had vouched for her story when she first raised it in 1994, but with a different context. So she earned Two Pinocchios, subject to change if more information becomes available. (Readers split sharply on whether we were generous or too tough on her.)
3: Here’s why Marco Rubio’s corporate card saga isn’t really a scandal
We dug deep into Sen. Marco Rubio’s handling of his state Republican Party-issued corporate card when he was Florida’s Speaker of the House. Ahead of most of the press pack, we concluded that the supposed scandal did not add up to much. Rubio’s carefully-worded explanation did not rise to the level of a Geppetto Checkmark, but it is accurate enough that it did not warrant even a single Pinocchio.
4: Repeat after me: Obama is not admitting 100,000, 200,000 or 250,000 Syrian refugees
Trump had previously earned Four Pinocchios for falsely claiming President Obama was planning to admit 200,000 refugees from war-torn Syria. (The real number is 10,000; a total of 180,000 refugees from around the world will be admitted in 2016 and 2017.) Undeterred, Trump upped the number to 250,000—and fellow novice politicians Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson followed up with claims of 100,000 refugees from Syria. All three earned Four Pinocchios.
5: Ben Carson’s absurd notion that the Founding Fathers had ‘no elected office experience’
Carson, a political novice running for the GOP presidential nomination, defined his lack of experience by saying “every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience.” This was absurd on its face, as four of five members of the drafting committee had been elected to public office—as had at least 27 of the other 51 signers of the Declaration. Carson earned Four Pinocchios. (Nearly tied with this fact check was an examination of Clinton’s Three-Pinocchio claim that 90 percent of her emails were in the State Department system.)
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