Fact checking the first Democratic debate: What's true and false

The first 10 Democratic presidential candidates have taken the stage at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. As they jostle to make their views heard amid a historically crowded field of candidates, NBC News will fact check their claims as the night goes on.

Refresh this page for updates. Watch the Democratic debate here and check our live blog here for all the latest.

Claim: Are seven children and teens killed by guns a day?

Warren made the statement, and it’s almost dead on, according to data published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that as many as eight children are killed by guns each day.

Claim: Are Guantanamo detainees getting better health care than detained child migrants?

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, said, “If you go to Guantanamo Bay, there are terrorists that are held that get better health care than those kids that tried to cross the border in the United States.”

While it would be a stretch to say that detainees at Guantanamo Bay overwhelmingly receive great health care (there have been myriad reports of neglect and abuse), many detainees do receive regular access to health care, including routine procedures and critical surgeries. In contrast, recent reports have said that detained children are living in squalid conditions with lice and other ailments and don’t even have access to toothbrushes.

Claim: Would the 2013 immigration bill have lowered the debt?

The last Senate immigration bill “brings the debt down by 158 billion,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said on Wednesday night, referring to the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013.

This is mostly true, according to a contemporaneous analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

To be sure, this number is about the change in deficit, not the overall debt. The debt would have simply risen at a slower pace should the bill have become law.

Claim: Castro says Trump’s border policies prompted a father and child to cross border illegally.

The former housing secretary pointed to the Trump administration’s metering policy as what “prompted” the father and daughter who were found dead Monday to cross the Rio Grande illegally.

This is true, according to reports. The Associated Press reported that the man and 23-month-old daughter from El Salvador who drowned in the Rio Grande attempted to cross illegally after being told they would have to wait weeks to claim asylum — part of a Trump administration policy called “metering.” They had waited in Mexico for two months without being able to request asylum from U.S. authorities, according to the photographer for Mexican newspaper La Jornada.

Claim: Most people support Roe v. Wade, Warren says.

The senator is right.

In a recent NPR/Marist poll, 77 percent of Americans said Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision affirming the right to abortion nationwide, shouldn’t be overturned.

In the same survey, 60 percent of Americans said they were more likely to support state laws that decriminalize abortion and make abortion laws less strict. Other polls have shown fewer Americans supporting Roe v. Wade, though a majority of Americans do support it remaining the law of the land.

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Claim: Is Inslee the first to create a public health care option in the U.S.?

This is true — earlier this year Inslee, the governor of Washington, became the first in the U.S. to sign into law a measure that would make a so-called public option for health insurance available for sale on the state’s health insurance exchange. But some experts have said it’s not a pure public option.

Under Washington’s model, called Cascade Care, the state will still contract with private health insurers for plans, but will control the terms to manage costs, experts explained to NPR earlier this year. That has left many to wonder whether the plan is really a “public option,” defined by many as an insurance option created by the government to compete with private insurers.

Claim: Is Warren’s free college plan akin to ‘paying for college for rich kids’?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar was asked about plans some of her rivals have proposed to provide free college. She said, “I do get concerned about paying for college for rich kids.”

She did not mention any of her rivals by name, but she could have been referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Warren has released a comprehensive college debt plan that proposes providing free public college for all Americans and cancelling up to $50,000 in student debt for more than 40 million Americans. Some critics have said that because the free public college proposal is not tied to income, it benefits families who can afford to pay for public college.

Claim: The top 1 percent of American households own more wealth than bottom 90 percent.

Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio mentioned this stat in response to a question of economic inequality.

And it’s true, according to a 2017 paper by economist Edward N. Wolff who used data from the federal Survey of Consumer Finances.

Claim: De Blasio touts progressive achievements in New York. Can he take the credit?

Yes and no. De Blasio has certainly talked about getting a lot of progressive things done. And while he definitely has — many other key progressive policy accomplishments have come as a result of action by Albany, not City Hall.

For example, implementing a $15 minimum wage in New York City for most businesses — while championed by de Blasio — was the product of a statewide roll-out of increased minimum wages.

In 2014, de Blasio signed into law a bill that required employers with at least five workers to offer five paid sick days a year. And in January, de Blasio released a plan that would guarantee 10 days of paid vacation for nearly all workers in New York City and another plan that would help workers save for retirement.

Claim: Does Amazon pays nothing in taxes, as Booker said?

Asked about corporate mega-mergers, and whether he would call out those companies, Sen. Cory Booker said he had no problem naming companies like Amazon that pay “nothing” in taxes.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has made this claim previously, as well, and it’s true for federal taxes, according to an analysis of corporate filings put out by the progressive think tank Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP.)

The analysis did not review state and local taxes, however.

source: nbcnews.com