Fact-Checking the Democratic Debate in South Carolina


Mr. Biden ultimately disavowed the measure. In 2007 — more than two decades after it passed — he called for undoing the crack-powder disparity, which he called “arbitrary, unnecessary and unjust,” while acknowledging his own role in creating it.

“I am part of the problem that I have been trying to solve since then,” he said in 2008, “because I think the disparity is way out of line.”

What the Facts are:

What Mr. Sanders:

“What every study out there, conservative or progressive says: ‘Medicare for all’ will save money.”

False. There have been several analyses of Mr. Sanders’s Medicare for all health care proposal, which would provide every American with generous government-funded health insurance benefits. Those studies have shown a range of potential costs, including several that estimate that the plan would cost substantially more than what the country would otherwise spend on health care.

Mr. Sanders is correct that a recent study published in the medical journal The Lancet showed that his plan would cost $450 billion less in a year than the current health care system. But that study made several assumptions that other economists who have examined the plan have considered unrealistic. Other studies have shown that spending would increase as the plan expands coverage to more Americans, and provides them with expensive new benefits, like long-term care, which few health insurance plans currently cover. This article provides an overview of a few of these studies.

What the facts are:

What Mr. Biden said:

“We didn’t have all the information at that time until after the election was over.”

Mostly false. The F.B.I. warned the Democratic National Committee in 2015 that a foreign intelligence agency — it turned out to be Russia — was inside their networks. President Obama was not fully briefed until June 2016, when Crowdstrike, a private firm, concluded that two Russian spy agencies had gotten into the systems. By the end of July 2016, the C.I.A. concluded with medium-to-high confidence that the attack had been launched by Russia, and soon after that it had been approved by President Vladimir V. Putin.

In short, there was plenty of evidence of Russian interferences. Mr. Obama chose not to respond until after the election, for fear that the Russians would try to affect the result. A Senate Intelligence Committee investigation concluded, with bipartisan agreement, that the Obama administration underreacted.

Mr. Biden is right that only after the Obama administration left office did the extent of Russia’s effort to influence social media become clear. But the hacking into the Democratic National Committee — a crime — was clearly understood, and the Obama administration reaction — expelling 35 diplomats who were actually spies, and closing some Russian facilities inside the U.S. — is today considered too little, too late.

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