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Whose Pants Are On Fire?

December 16, 2011
"People should have facts before they make wild accusations,'' sniffed Newt Gingrich in Thursday's debate in Sioux City after Michele Bachmann accused him of lobbying on behalf of Freddie Mac.

Bachmann didn't back down. "Well after the debate we had last week, Politifact came out and said that everything I said is true.''

(RELATED: Bachmann Keeps Up Attacks on Gingrich)

Not even close. The Pulitzer Prize-winning site reports today: "In fact, Bachmann earned two ratings from us at that debate, a Mostly True for her claim that Newt Gingrich advocated for the individual mandate in health care and a Pants on Fire for her claim that Mitt Romney set up a health plan in Massachusetts that is "socialized medicine." We then rated Bachmann's new claim and gave it a Pants on Fire. (The fact that Bachmann would cite us was interesting given that her PolitiFact report card shows 60 percent of her ratings have been False or Pants on Fire."

Later in the debate, Gingrich fired another shot at Bachmann's truthfulness. "Sometimes Bachmann does not get facts accurate,'' he said. Again, she stood her ground: "I don't get my facts wrong...I am a serious candidate and my facts are accurate.''

The subtext of Bachmann's remarks is that she gets picked on because she's a woman, a conservative one no less, who isn't afraid to be outspoken.

There is something to that. But at least according to Politifact's standards (and obviously the statements they choose to fact check are self-selecting so it's not a scientific study) Bachmann has the biggest problem with truth-telling in the GOP field. Herman Cain, no longer a candidate, came in second place with 57 percent of his statements called false or pants on fire. Gingrich earned those ratings for 41 percent of his fact-checked statements, Rick Perry got 30 percent wrong, and Mitt Romney got 24 percent wrong.

And the fight for truth and justice continues...
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