LONG ISLAND, N.Y. — The first presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump certainly kept fact-checkers busy. The less-than-accurate claims included:
- Clinton wrongly said that the only tax returns that anyone has seen from Trump “showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.” Trump paid federal taxes in three out of five years in the 1970s.
- Trump was right in saying that Ford is moving its small-car division overseas but wrong in claiming that as a result, thousands of jobs are leaving Michigan and Ohio. Ford’s CEO insists not a single job will be lost in the U.S.
- Trump left the false impression that the Obama administration failed to disclose the full amount paid to Iran in January to settle a long outstanding claim.
- Clinton said Trump thinks “climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.” Trump denied it. In 2012, he tweeted that the Chinese had created global warming but later said he was joking.
- Trump claimed without evidence that the Clinton campaign in 2008 was pushing “very hard” the false story that President Obama was born in Kenya, not in Hawaii.
- Trump claimed “the record shows” he was opposed to the Iraq War before it started, but there is no record of that.
- Trump said “murders are up” in New York City since ending stop-and-frisk policies, while Clinton said “crime, including murders” is down. Both are correct.
- Clinton claimed she had said she “hoped” the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be a “good deal,” when she originally supported it. But at the time, Clinton said it “sets the gold standard.”
- Clinton said “independent experts” concluded that Trump’s plans would cause a loss of 3.5 million jobs while hers would create 10 million jobs. But Trump has released a new tax plan since that report, and the projected job creation under Clinton is 3.2 million more than what would be added under current law.
- Clinton said Trump’s businesses had filed for bankruptcy six times; he said it was four. Clinton is right.
And that’s not all. There were several other claims that we have fact-checked before — on trade, Iraq, ISIS and oil and more.
The debate was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and was moderated by NBC News’ Lester Holt.
Trump’s Tax Returns
Clinton said that the only tax returns that anyone has seen from Trump “showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.” That’s not correct.
Clinton: "Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax."
Trump paid federal income taxes in three out of five years from 1975 to 1979, according to a report to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, which viewed Trump’s tax returns when the Trump Plaza Corporation applied for a casino license in the state in 1981. (See page 37.)
Although the returns were not disclosed, the report indicated that Trump paid $18,714 in taxes on $76,210 in income in 1975, $10,832 in taxes on $24,594 in income in 1976 and $42,386 in taxes on $118,530 in income in 1977. Trump reported income losses of $406,379 in 1978 and $3,443,560 in 1979, and thus paid no federal income tax for those years.
Ford Jobs Leaving?
Trump claimed that Ford is moving its small-car division overseas and that as a result, thousands of jobs are leaving Michigan and Ohio. Trump is half right. Ford is moving its small-car division to Mexico, but Ford’s CEO insists not a single job will be lost in the U.S.
Trump: "So Ford is leaving. You see that, their small-car division leaving. Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio. They’re all leaving. And we can’t allow it to happen anymore."
Ford CEO Mark Fields confirmed on Sept. 16 that “[o]ver the next two to three years, we will have migrated all of our small-car production to Mexico and out of the United States,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
The Free Press added that the “impact on Ford’s U.S. employment will be minimal in the near-term. … There is an expectation that Ford will build a new Ranger mid-size pickup truck in Wayne and possibly a new Bronco compact sport-utility. The automaker also still will make the Ford Mustang at its plant in Flat Rock, Michigan and will begin making the full-size Lincoln Continental there later this year. It also makes the full-size Ford Taurus in Chicago.”
The Free Press article also states that last year, “the automaker made a commitment to invest $9 billion in U.S. plants and create or retain more than 8,500 jobs as part of a new four-year contract with the UAW. Of that, $4.8 billion goes to 11 facilities in Michigan.”
In a Sept. 15 interview on CNN, Fields insisted no jobs would be lost in the U.S. as a result of moving the small-car division to Mexico.
CNN’s Poppy Harlow asked whether Trump was accurate that Ford will be “firing all of its employees in the United States.”
“Will Ford cut any of its jobs as a result of this move? One? Any single one?” she asked.
“Absolutely not. Zero,” Fields said. “And what we announced is that we’ll be moving our Focus out of Michigan so that we can compete more financially in that particular segment but at the same time, and that’s an agreement we have with the UAW and what we’ll be doing is we’ll be replacing those products with two very exciting new products so not one job will be lost. And most of our investment is here in the U.S. and that’s the way it’s going to continue to be.”
Payment to Iran
Trump left the false impression that the Obama administration failed to disclose the full amount paid to Iran in January to settle a long outstanding claim.
Trump claimed $400 million paid to Iran in January “turned out to be wrong. It was actually $1.7 billion.” But the administration accurately described the total payment as $1.7 billion — $400 million in principle and $1.3 billion in interest — on the day it was announced.
In criticizing the Iran nuclear deal during the debate, Trump referenced the $400 million payment to Iran. Trump described the payment as being “for the hostages,” because it was paid on the same day in January that Iran released U.S. prisoners. The Obama administration has insisted the U.S. did not pay Iran ransom for the prisoners’ release.
Trump: "One of the great giveaways of all time, of all time, including $400 million in cash. Nobody’s ever seen that before. That turned out to be wrong. It was actually $1.7 billion in cash, obviously, I guess for the hostages. It certainly looks that way."
The $400 million was the first installment in a $1.7 billion payment to resolve a dispute that dates to 1979, when Iran paid the U.S. $400 million for military equipment it never received. The U.S. refused to provide the equipment after the Shah of Iran was overthrown during the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
The agreement ended a claim that Iran had filed against the U.S. in an international tribunal in The Hague. President Obama announced it on Jan. 17 as part of a series of agreements involving Iran.
Although the president did not get into details of the payment, Secretary of State John Kerry on that same day described it as a $1.7 billion agreement in a statement released by his office.
Kerry, Jan. 17: "Iran will receive the balance of $400 million in the Trust Fund, as well as a roughly $1.3 billion compromise on the interest. Iran’s recovery was fixed at a reasonable rate of interest and therefore Iran is unable to pursue a bigger Tribunal award against us, preventing U.S. taxpayers from being obligated to a larger amount of money."
CNN reported at the time that the amount was $1.7 billion.
Obama has been criticized for leaving the false impression in January that the payment was made after the prisoners were released. The Wall Street Journal in August reported new details on the January payment, and the administration was forced to acknowledge that it delayed paying Iran until the prisoners were released — fueling criticism that it was ransom.
We will leave it up to readers to decide whether the payment was ransom or not, but Trump is wrong when he implies that the administration misled the public on the amount.
Climate Change a Hoax?
Clinton said Trump thinks “climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.” Trump denied it. He did tweet that the Chinese “created” the “concept of global warming,” but later said it was a “joke.” Trump has also called global warming a “hoax” repeatedly.
In contrast to her opponent, Clinton said she thinks climate change is “real,” adding, “I think science is real.”
On Nov. 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.”
But on Jan. 18, 2016, when asked about the tweet, Trump told Fox News that he was joking.
Trump, Jan. 18: "Well, I think the climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. … I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China. Obviously, I joke. But this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change. They burn everything you could burn; they couldn’t care less."
Trump also has a record of calling global warming a “hoax.”
For example, on Jan. 28, 2014, Trump tweeted, “Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!”
At a campaign rally in Hilton Head, S.C., on Dec. 30, 2015, Trump also said, “Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and the — a lot of it’s a hoax, it’s a hoax. I mean, it’s a money-making industry, OK? It’s a hoax, a lot of it.”
And there are more and more examples.
So Trump may have been joking about global warming being invented by the Chinese. Still, he has said time and again that global warming is a “hoax.” And Clinton is right — 97% of scientists say it’s “extremely likely” that human-caused global warming is real.
Still Wrong on ‘Birther’ Claims
Trump claimed without evidence that the Clinton campaign in 2008 was pushing “very hard” the false story that President Obama was born in Kenya, not in Hawaii.
Trump, who on Sept. 16 finally acknowledged that “Obama was born in the United States,” had a long, somewhat rambling response when asked by the moderator why he continued to question that Obama was born in Hawaii even after the president produced his long-form birth certificate in 2011.
Here is the exchange with Holt:
Holt: "Mr. Trump, for five years, you perpetuated a false claim that the nation’s first black president was not a natural-born citizen. You questioned his legitimacy. In the last couple of weeks, you acknowledged what most Americans have accepted for years: The president was born in the United States. Can you tell us what took you so long?"
Trump: "I’ll tell you very — well, just very simple to say. Sidney Blumenthal works for the campaign and close — very close friend of Secretary Clinton. And her campaign manager, Patti Doyle, went to — during the campaign, her campaign against President Obama, fought very hard. And you can go look it up, and you can check it out.
"And if you look at CNN this past week, Patti Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened. Blumenthal sent McClatchy, highly respected reporter at McClatchy, to Kenya to find out about it. They were pressing it very hard. She [Clinton] 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. And I’ll tell you why I’m satisfied with it."
Holt: "That was …"
Trump: "Because I want to get on to defeating ISIS, because I want to get on to creating jobs, because I want to get on to having a strong border, because I want to get on to things that are very important to me and that are very important to the country."
Holt: "I will let you respond. It’s important. But I just want to get the answer here. The birth certificate was produced in 2011. You’ve continued to tell the story and question the president’s legitimacy in 2012, ’13, ’14, ’15 …"
Holt: "… as recently as January. So the question is, what changed your mind?"
Trump: "Well, nobody was pressing it, nobody was caring much about it. I figured you’d ask the question tonight, of course. But nobody was caring much about it. But I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate. And I think I did a good job.
"Secretary Clinton also fought it. I mean, you know — now, everybody in mainstream is going to say, oh, that’s not true. Look, it’s true. Sidney Blumenthal sent a reporter — you just have to take a look at CNN, the last week, the interview with your former campaign manager. And she was involved."
It is simply false that Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager, “was involved” in spreading the rumor of Obama’s birthplace. In fact, Solis Doyle said — in the CNN interview that Trump cites — that a “rogue volunteer coordinator” in Iowa was immediately fired when the campaign found out that the aide forwarded an email promoting the birther conspiracy.
Solis Doyle said she called Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and apologized for the incident. “This was not the kind of campaign we wanted to run,” she said she told Plouffe.
The Blumenthal case is more complicated, but it doesn’t provide clear evidence that the Clinton campaign was “pressing it very hard.”
Blumenthal was a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and he remained in close contact with Hillary Clinton after she became secretary of State, as Vanity Fair detailed in an article in July. So, Trump is right, when he says that Blumenthal is “a very close friend” of Hillary Clinton. In fact, Blumenthal left his position at Salon in 2007 to become a senior adviser to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Trump said “Blumenthal sent McClatchy, highly respected reporter at McClatchy, to Kenya to find out” if Obama was born in Keyna. Blumenthal didn’t send a reporter to Kenya. However, McClatchy’s respected former bureau chief James Asher said he had a meeting with Blumenthal during the 2008 campaign, and at that meeting Blumenthal encouraged McClatchy to chase the story of Obama’s birth.
Shashank Bengali, who now works at the Los Angeles Times, said Asher told him to “look into everything about Obama’s family in Kenya,” according to Politico. Asher gave Politico an email that he received from Bengali that said, “I can’t recall if we specifically discussed the birther claim, but I’m sure that was part of what I researched.”
Blumenthal denies urging Asher to investigate Obama’s birthplace, and Asher has nothing in writing — so there is no clear evidence to support Asher’s account.
Iraq War, Again
Trump got into a disagreement not only with Clinton, but also with the moderator, on whether Trump opposed the Iraq War before it started. Trump claimed “the record shows” he was opposed to it, but there is no record of it.
Trump: "Wait a minute. I was against the war in Iraq. Just so you put it out."
Holt: "The record shows otherwise, but why — why was …"
Trump: "The record does not show that."
Holt: "Why was — is your judgment any …"
Trump: "The record shows that I’m right. When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very lightly, first time anyone’s asked me that, I said, very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows? Essentially. I then did an interview with Neil Cavuto. We talked about the economy is more important. I then spoke to Sean Hannity, which everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity. I had numerous conversations with Sean Hannity at Fox. And Sean Hannity said — and he called me the other day — and I spoke to him about it — he said you were totally against the war, because he was for the war."
We asked the Trump campaign about the “numerous conversations” with Hannity, a Trump supporter and sometimes adviser. It responded with an email that said, “Sean Hannity Substantiates That He And Trump Had Many Private Conversations About Iraq.” It provided a link to a Sept. 19 column in The Washington Post, which included a tweet from Hannity saying he had arguments with Trump about the Iraq War after his show.
The campaign provided no record of these private conversations, just the word of a Trump supporter.
As for the Cavuto interview, we have already been over that several times, mostly after the NBC “commander-in-chief” forum. The interview was Jan. 28, 2003, before the Iraq War started in March of that year, but Cavuto does not ask Trump whether he supports or opposes invading Iraq. And Trump doesn’t say.
Instead, Trump urged President Bush to make a decision on Iraq. “Either you attack or you don’t attack,” he told Cavuto.
Trump, Jan. 28, 2003: "Well, he has either got to do something or not do something, perhaps, because perhaps shouldn’t be doing it yet and perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations, you know. He’s under a lot of pressure. He’s — I think he’s doing a very good job. But, of course, if you look at the polls, a lot of people are getting a little tired. I think the Iraqi situation is a problem. And I think the economy is a much bigger problem as far as the president is concerned."
The record still doesn’t show Trump was opposed to the war before it started. (See “Donald Trump and the Iraq War” for our timeline of statements that Trump made before and after the war started.)
Stop and Frisk
Trump and Clinton dueled over whether ending stop-and-frisk police stops in New York City had been accompanied by more crime and killings.
Clinton said “crime, including murders” is down, and Trump said “murders are up.” Turns out, both are correct.
Trump: "[S]top and frisk has a tremendous impact on the safety of New York City. Tremendous beyond belief. So when you say it has no impact, it really did, a very, very big impact."
Clinton: "It’s also fair to say, if we’re going to talk about mayors, that under the current mayor crime has continued to drop, including murders."
Trump: (interrupting) "No, you’re wrong. You’re wrong."
Clinton: "No, I’m not"
Trump: "Murders are up. All right. You check it. You check it."
Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio was sworn in Jan. 1, 2014, after being elected on a promise to halt the stop-and-frisk practice. And during that first year in office, homicides did fall — by two — to 333, the lowest number on record. However, last year, the number of killings went up by 5.7% to 352 — the third lowest year on record, but still 17 more than in 2013.
So far this year, the number is down once again. But if the current rate continues, the total for the year would still be slightly above where it was before De Blasio took office. According to the most recent weekly report issued by the city’s police department, 257 murders had been reported in 2016 as of Sept. 18, which is 4.3% below the same period in 2015. That’s just a little under one per day, but at that rate, 2016 (a leap year with 366 days) would end up with 345 killings, 10 more than the 335 recorded in 2013.
Since Clinton said “crime, including murders” had fallen, we also looked at the broader category of murder and other major felonies. And despite the uptick in murders last year, the city did record the lowest number of major crimes on record in 2015.
Furthermore, the total is currently running 2.67% lower so far this year, according to the NYPD’s most recent report.
So Clinton was correct to say “crime, including murders” has fallen, and Trump was off base when he said she was “wrong.” On the other hand, Trump was correct to say “murders” are up — though not by much.
Clinton attempted to rewrite the history of her past support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Trump: "You called it the gold standard of trade deals. You said it’s the finest deal you’ve ever seen."
Trump: "And then you heard what I said about it, and all of a sudden you were against it."
Clinton: "Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts. The facts are — I did say I hoped it would be a good deal, but when it was negotiated …"
Clinton: "… which I was not responsible for, I concluded it wasn’t. I wrote about that in my book …"
As we’ve written before, Clinton didn’t say she “hoped” it would be a “gold standard.” At the time, she said it was a gold standard.
She said in 2012: “This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field,” Clinton remarked in Adelaide, Australia, on Nov. 15, 2012. “And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40% of the world’s total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.”
Clinton came out against the TPP in October 2015, saying in a statement: “I appreciate the hard work that President Obama and his team put into this process and recognize the strides they made. But the bar here is very high and, based on what I have seen, I don’t believe this agreement has met it.”
As for Clinton’s statement that “I wrote about that in my book,” it’s true that she wrote in her memoir Hard Choices that it makes sense to “reserve judgment” on the final product, which was then in negotiation. And while some of what she wrote about TPP was cut from the paperback edition, that caveat about reserving judgment appears in both hardcover and paperback editions.
However, she also wrote that TPP was “important for American workers, who would benefit from competing on a more level playing field. And it was a strategic initiative that would strengthen the position of the United States in Asia.”
Worth noting is that Clinton’s “gold standard” comment was in 2012, and her book came along two years later, as she was preparing another run for the White House.
Gallery: First presidential debate
Analysis of Candidates’ Plans
Clinton said “independent experts” have looked at the candidates’ economic plans and concluded that under Trump’s plan “we would lose 3.5 million jobs and maybe have another recession” and under Clinton’s plan “we will have 10 million more new jobs.” But that report relies on an outdated version of Trump’s tax plan, and Clinton exaggerates the impact of her ideas on job creation.
Clinton: "Independent experts have looked at what I’ve proposed and looked at what Donald’s proposed, and basically they’ve said this, that if his tax plan … were to go into effect, we would lose 3.5 million jobs and maybe have another recession. They’ve looked at my plans and they’ve said, OK, we can do this, and I intend to get it done, we will have 10 million more new jobs, because we will be making investments where we can grow the economy."
As we have written before, Moody’s Analytics concluded that if Clinton were able to fully implement the plans she has outlined in her campaign, the economy would add 10.4 million jobs during Clinton’s presidency. But that’s 3.2 million more than it projects would be added under current law.
Moreover, Moody’s Analytics doesn’t expect Clinton would likely be able to pass all of her proposals through a divided Congress. “Given the current political discord,” Moody’s expects Congress would put up “substantial roadblocks” to Clinton’s policy proposals, and under its “most-likely scenario,” a Clinton presidency would result in employment going just “a bit higher” than it otherwise would.
Moody’s forecast that if Trump were able to implement all of his proposed policies, the economy would suffer an extended recession and result in 3.4 million job losses over the course of Trump’s presidency. But under its “most-likely scenario” under Trump — again assuming Congress would balk at many of his proposals — Trump’s outlook is not as dire. Moreover, the Trump analysis does not include Trump’s recently revised tax plan — which markedly reduced the tax cuts he proposed earlier in the campaign.
Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told us in August that he wasn’t sure how Trump’s “changes to his tax plan impact federal government deficits and debt and thus the economy’s performance.” Zandi, who has donated to Clinton’s campaign, said he thinks “the net impact of the changes will reduce the costs to the budget, but there is no way to know unless the campaign provides more information.”
Six, Not Four, Bankruptcies
Clinton said Trump has “taken business bankruptcy six times.” In response, Trump said the number was four. “On occasion, four times, we used certain laws that are there,” he said.
Clinton is right: The correct number of bankruptcies is six.
Trump first filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 1991 after his Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City landed him with $900 million in personal liabilities. Two more Atlantic City properties, Trump Castle and Trump Plaza and Casino, followed the Taj Mahal into bankruptcy within a year. His fourth bankruptcy filing also occurred in 1992, this time for his Plaza Hotel in New York.
There were two more bankruptcy filings from the 2000s. The parent company of his Atlantic City properties, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2004. His sixth and last bankruptcy was Trump Entertainment Resorts, which was filed in 2009 amid the economic recession.
There were a lot of claims that we have fact-checked before, including:
Trump on Father’s Loan — Trump claimed his father gave him a “very small loan in 1975" of $1 million, from which he built his real estate company. But Clinton claimed it was $14 million. Clinton was right and Trump was wrong. According to The Wall Street Journal, “a casino-license disclosure in 1985 … shows Mr. Trump taking out numerous loans from his father and his father’s properties near the start of his career in the late 1970s and early 1980s,” which totaled around $14 million. As Politico points out, that’s $31 million in today’s dollars. And as we wrote during the 11th GOP debate, these loans included more than $3 million illegally transferred to the Trump Castle Casino in Atlantic City in poker chips in 1990. To top it off, Trump’s father also co-guaranteed the construction loan on his first Manhattan project, the Grand Hyatt. So Trump sells his father’s contributions short by a long shot.
Clinton on Trump and Equal Pay — Clinton claimed Trump said “women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.” Trump claimed that he “didn’t say that.” As we’ve written, Trump doesn’t support equal pay legislation, but he has said that he believes in paying people based on performance, not gender.
Trump on Trade Deficit —Trump said the U.S. has “a trade deficit with all of the countries that we do business with, of almost $800 billion a year.” Trump has made this claim over and over again, but it’s not true. The U.S. trade deficit was $531.5 billion in 2015. Trump’s $800 billion number involves a generous rounding-up and pertains to the trade deficit for goods only, which was $758.9 billion in 2015. The U.S. exports a lot in services.
Trump on Tax Returns — In explaining why he has yet to release his tax returns, Trump claimed that “you don’t learn that much from tax returns.” But experts disagree. As we’ve written, tax returns could provide information on overseas income, foreign bank accounts, effective tax rates and charitable giving habits. Conflicts of interest could also be exposed, as well as how Trump’s individual tax policy squares with his proposals. Every major party nominee since the late 1970s has released tax returns before Election Day.
Trump on NAFTA — Trump said that President Bill Clinton “approved NAFTA, which is the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country.” Actually, the North American Free Trade Agreement was negotiated and signed by President George H.W. Bush. President Clinton signed the legislation to implement the agreement. Trump also said NAFTA “was one of the worst things that ever happened to the manufacturing industry.” Actually, economic studies say NAFTA’s impact on U.S. jobs has been small.
Trump on Withdrawal from Iraq — Trump said “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out — what, they shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster.” Later, Trump scoffed, “Not only that, you named the day. They couldn’t believe it.” As we’ve said before, the final date to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq — Dec. 31, 2011 — was set when President George W. Bush signed the Status of Forces Agreement on Dec. 14, 2008. The Obama administration was then unsuccessful in renegotiating the deal to leave a residual American troop force of up to 10,000.
Trump on ISIS and Oil in Libya — Trump said that ISIS has “oil all over the place, including … a lot of the oil in Libya, which was another one of [Clinton’s] disasters.” That’s wrong. Claudia Gazzini, a senior analyst for Libya with the International Crisis Group, told us there’s no evidence that the Islamic State is producing or selling oil out of that country. The Islamic State’s strategy thus far has largely been to disrupt oil operations in Libya rather than to try and make a profit off of them, she said.
Trump on Chicago Murders — Trump claimed that “almost 4,000 have been killed [in Chicago] since Barack Obama became president.” That’s missing context. Like the nation overall, Chicago has seen a drop over the last several decades in the number of homicides, as we wrote in July. According to the Chicago Police Department’s CLEAR (Citizen Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting) system, there were 3,176 homicides from 2009 to 2015, during Obama’s presidency. That’s a drop from the 3,606 homicides in the previous seven-year period, from 2002 to 2008.
Note to readers: FactCheck.org's director, Eugene Kiely, was at the debate at Hofstra University. This story was written with the help of the entire staff, based in the Philadelphia region and Washington, D.C. FactCheck.org plans to send one representative to each of the four debates.