VP debate: fact checking Mike Pence

Posted at 6:42 PM, Oct 04, 2016

During tonight's vice presidential debate, PolitiFact will be fact checking everything the candidates say. On this page, we will Mike Pence's comments to PolitiFact's "Truth-o-Meter."

Pence, who is Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's running mate, is the current governor of the state of Indiana. 

RELATED: Fact checking Tim Kaine

Mike Pence half right that Obama has been "raising taxes"

Pence said that the Obama administration has been "raising taxes."

Obama certainly raised some levies, including income taxes on people earning more than $400,000 a year. Although most folks don’t fall into that category, Obama’s health care reforms come with a series of new taxes that do affect lower earners.

But Pence’s statement leaves a lot out of the story. Obama also has extended permanently tax cuts that were set to expire. He also enacted a series of temporary tax cuts aimed at jump-starting the economy.

Figures from the CBO and the Tax Policy Center show that average tax rates have risen under Obama, but part of the reason is that Obama also allowed some special tax cuts enacted during the recession to expire. If you go back to CBO figures before the recession and compare them with figures after it ended, the average household tax rate was about the same in 2006 as it was in 2013.

Pence's claim is Half True.

Pence has supported privatization, but Trump has repeatedly said he has no plans to modify Social Security

Pence may have a record of supporting Republican proposals to change Social Security to allow for more investment into private funds, but Trump has clearly and repeatedly said this campaign cycle he has no plans to modify Social Security or introduce elements similar to the Bush’s failed 2005 attempt to restructure the entitlement program.
Pence's claim is Mostly False.
Claim that Clinton is in support of open borders is false
Clinton supported a 2013 bill that would have invested billions in border security in addition to a path to citizenship. As a presidential candidate she has called for securing the border and targeting deportation to criminals and those who pose security threats. While her plan would make it easier for many undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation, that’s not the same as allowing a free-for-all at the border and ending enforcement.

We rate this claim False.

Mostly true that Clinton/Kaine are for sanctuary cities

During her first race for president, Clinton expressed support for sanctuary cities and said she wouldn’t crack down on them. She argued that without such policies, people will hide from police and not report crimes.

In 2015, Clinton criticized the city of San Francisco for releasing a man from jail who later was charged with murdering a woman and had previously been deported many times. However, her campaign reiterated Clinton’s view that she believes sanctuary cities can help further public safety.

We rate this claim Mostly True.

It's true that Clinton wants to increase the number of refugees from Syria

Pence pointed to a real policy distinction between the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees when he said that Clinton "wants to increase Syrian refugees to this country by 550 percent." Trump is opposed to refugee settlement, while Clinton supports it, and at a greater number than Obama’s current policy. Clinton supported allowing in 65,000 refugees when Obama supported a 10,000 figure. (The refugees would be screened.) That’s a 550 percent increase. The UN has determined that about 478,000 Syrian refugees are in need of resettlement.

The statement is accurate and we rate it True.

Pence claim that Obama pulled back on missile defense shield in deference to Russia is Half True

Pence's impression about Obama’s decision to end the program is certainly shared by GOP politicians and pundits, and Obama took office with a vow to reset relations with Russia. Russia found Bush’s missile defense program in neighboring countries offensive and was pleased to see it go (though Gates asserts they dislike the new policy more).

Gates, the Bush official who recommended the plan in 2006, acknowledged he drove the change in policy because of improved American intelligence of what the Iranians were working on -- not solely to be nice to the Russians.

Plus, new defense systems are still planned.

We rate the claim Half True.

Pence claim that only 10 percent of Clinton Foundation money goes to aid is wrong

Only a small amount of the donations collected by the Clinton Foundation are awarded as grants to other nonprofit groups. But that doesn’t mean that every other dollar is "overhead."

The Clinton Foundation spends between 80-90 percent on program services, which experts say is the standard in the industry to define charitable works. It spends the majority of its money directly on projects rather than through third-party grants.

Conversely, only between 10-20 percent is spent on management of the foundation and fundraising activities, which is tagged as "overhead."

Pence’s claim rates False.

Continue to refresh this page to see how factual Pence is during the vice presidential debate.