FACT CHECK: Last Democratic debate of 2015

Posted at 1:55 AM, Dec 20, 2015
Scripps has partnered with PolitiFact in providing coverage of the presidential race in 2015. PolitiFact is nationally recognized for fact-checking statements made by politicians.
On Saturday night, the reporters and editors at PolitiFact turned on their Truth-O-Meter as the last Democratic presidential debate of 2015 took place in New Hampshire.
Here is what the fact-checkers had to say about some of the claims:

THE CLAIM: Hillary Clinton said ISIS recruiters "are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists."

THE RULING: It seems that Clinton has turned speculative left-of-center rhetoric into fact. At PolitiFact, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim. We were unable to find any evidence to support this. The Clinton campaign did not provide any evidence that this is already happening -- only that it could be happening, or that it may in the future.

We’ll update our fact-check in the event solid evidence emerges. But for now, that evidence does not exist. If ISIS was using Trump for recruitment videos, we would expect a frenzy of media coverage over it. We rate this claim False. 

THE CLAIM: Martin O'Malley talking about Clinton: "Secretary Clinton changes her position on (gun issues) every election, it seems, having one position in 2000 and then campaigning against President Obama and saying we don't need federal standards."

THE RULING: In 2000, in the wake of the Columbine school shooting, Clinton was emphatic about her support for gun control. In 2008, she dropped her support for a gun license and registration proposal and positioned herself to the right of her major opponent, Obama. While Clinton also advocated for leaving some gun control to the states, she still advocated for federal gun control efforts, and she never said "we don’t need federal standards."

In 2015, Clinton has been more forceful with her support for gun control than she was in 2008 -- closer to her rhetoric in 2000.
O’Malley has a point that Clinton’s positioning on gun control has shifted between election cycles, but it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as he made it out to be. We rate his claim Half True.
THE CLAIM: Bernie Sanders talking about U.S. health care spending: The United States spends "almost three times per capita what they spend in the U.K." on health care and "50 percent more than they pay in France."

THE RULING: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has the data for all three nations. The following table has breakdown.


United States

United Kingdom


Total (per capita)




Public health care (per capita)




Private health care (per capita)




Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Sanders said that the United States spends almost three times on health care per capita what is spent in the United Kingdom and about double what they spend in France. The numbers from an independent, reliable source back that up. We rate this statement True.