CNN hosted the ninth Democratic presidential debate on Thursday evening, a face-off between former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont).
Not every statement could be easily fact-checked, but here are some suspicious or interesting claims.
Clinton "voted for virtually every disastrous trade agreement which cost us millions of decent-paying jobs."
As a senator, Clinton had a chance to vote on 10 trade deals, and she voted for or supported all but two - the Trade Act of 2002, essentially a trade deal with Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, and the 2005 Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement. So Sanders is correct on the "virtually." As secretary of state, Clinton also pushed for the negotiations that led to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but as a presidential candidate she has come out against the final agreement.
The claim about trade deals costing "millions of jobs" is more problematic. Economists have battled endlessly over the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was approved under President Bill Clinton. Sanders often cites a figure of 800,000 just from NAFTA, but the Congressional Research Service in 2015 concluded that the "net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest."
The biggest impact on jobs may have been President Clinton's decision to grant China permanent normal trade relations. There is evidence that the flood of Chinese imports, spurred in part because of a once-undervalued currency and Chinese government incentives, has cost as many as 2 million jobs.
"I'm the only one on this stage who did not vote to deregulate swaps and derivatives, as Senator Sanders did, which led to a lot of the problems that we had with Lehman Brothers."
This is largely an unfair attack by Clinton.
Sanders directly voted for a version of a bill to modernize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that was sent to the Senate for further negotiations, in what was considered a noncontroversial vote. (It was held under House suspension rules.)
The Senate took no action before the 2000 presidential election, which ended in stalemate and recounts. When virtually no one was looking, Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, quietly inserted language that eliminated regulating power on interest-rate swaps and derivatives that contributed to the financial crisis eight years later. The bill then got wrapped up in a must-pass spending bill President Clinton signed into law in his last days in office.
Few people understood what Gramm had done till the financial crisis blew up eight years later.
"Of course we will release our taxes. Jane does our taxes. We've been busy lately, excuse us."
For the past week and half, Sanders and his wife said they had released their full tax returns - which was not true. Now Sanders is backing away from that and agreeing to release his full tax returns.
Presidential candidates have no legal requirement to release their federal income tax returns, but there has long been a tradition to do so for the sake of transparency. The Tax History Project, a public-service initiative from Tax Analysts, has compiled tax returns for presidents, vice presidents and candidates vying for their seats in recent decades.
The 2016 candidates largely have been less-than-forthcoming about their tax records. Hillary Clinton is the only candidate currently in the race who released voluminous amounts of full tax returns.
By contrast, Sanders had released only a Form 1040 of his 2014 return (a summary of his federal income tax return) and a one-page Vermont state income tax return. But this is a summary of his tax filing that gives a snapshot of the couple's finances, not what is considered a full tax return.
Now, apparently, Sanders is prepared to release his full return.
Wolf Blitzer: "Secretary Clinton, you said that Vermont - Senator Sanders's home state - has, quote, the highest per-capita number of guns that end up committing crimes in New York. But only 1.2 percent of the guns recovered in New York in 2014 were from Vermont. Are you seriously blaming Vermont, and implicitly Senator Sanders, for New York's gun violence?"
Clinton:"No, of course not. Of course not."
"Of course not?" Actually, she did blame Vermont for guns used in crimes in New York just this week: "Most of the guns that are used in crimes and violence and killings in New York come from out of state. And the state that has the highest per-capita number of those guns that end up committing crimes in New York come from Vermont." Her claim is a misleading attack using the "per capita" measure, which is not how crime guns generally are tracked.
There were 7,686 guns recovered and traced in New York in 2014. The source state was identified in 4,585 of the traces, and 30 percent (1,397) were from within the state. In 2013 and 2014, the states where the most out-of-state crime guns originated were Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida and Georgia. The state with the most guns per 100,000 people was, indeed, Vermont.
But 1 percent of crime guns whose sources were identified in 2014 originated from Vermont: 55 of 4,585. The per-capita calculation is skewed by Vermont's small population (55 guns out of 626,562 people, or 8.78 guns per 100,000 people).
When it comes to gun trafficking between states, the raw numbers indicate the actual volume of guns flowing out of a state, and the prevalence of dealers who may be selling guns that are tied to crime. Criminal-justice experts say that using the number of people in the source state is a problematic denominator. Gun trafficking deals with the behavior of gun dealers and the type and enforcement of state laws.