Fact checkers keep slamming Christie’s campaign trail statements

Matt Katz | January 11, 2016 | Katz on Christie

In the past week, Gov. Chris Christie has made several remarks on the campaign trail that have been refuted by fact-checkers. Here’s a sampling:

  • “The murder rate in New York City is up 11 percent.” Christie has made this claim often, and most recently on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” in an effort to show that the liberal policies of President Obama and Mayor de Blasio have been ineffective in curbing crime. But the New York City murder rate, as The New York Times reported, increased 4.5 percent from 2014 to 2015. And in New Jersey, the Star-Ledger wrote, homicides went up at about the same rate — 4 percent.

  • “30 percent of the people the president has released from Guantanamo have gone back in the terrorism business.” This statement is part of Christie’s stump speech, and it has been used in television ads by a pro-Christie super PAC. But as FactCheck.org says, it is not true. Government data shows that 4.9 percent of detainees released from the Guantanamo Bay prison during Obama’s tenure returned to terrorist activities. 
  • “The biggest reason that I changed my mind [on gun control] was my seven years as a federal prosecutor.” Christie has unquestionably changed his position on gun control: He ran for office in the early 90s on an anti-assault weapon platform, and he has recently moved to loosen New Jersey’s strict gun laws. But Christie has given various reasons for his switch, as The Washington Post and the Star-Ledger lay out. He says he changed his mind as US Attorney, before he became governor — yet he still supported strong gun laws after that period. He has also attributed his change to traveling the country as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, which was in 2014. 
  • “I never donated to Planned Parenthood.” Even though Christie said this on CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday, in 1994 he told a Star-Ledger reporter (who is now one of his spokesmen) the exact opposite: “I support Planned Parenthood privately with my personal contribution and that should be the goal of any such agency, to find private donations.”
  • “We doubled the Earned Income Tax Credit in New Jersey and the reason we did it is we have to do more than just talk about work.” As several reporters noted, Christie did not double this tax credit for the working poor, as he claimed at a poverty forum in South Carolina on Saturday. After controversially reducing it by 20 percent in his first year in office, he increased it 50 percent the day before he announced his presidential campaign last year.
  • “I didn’t voice support for Sonia Sotomayor.” Christie claimed Sunday that he opposed Obama’s Supreme Court pick in 2009. In fact, as BuzzFeed noted, he released this statement at the time: “I support her appointment to the Supreme Court and urge the Senate to keep politics out of the process and confirm her nomination.”