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PolitiFact will be fact-checking the third Republican presidential primary debate live Nov. 8. PolitiFact will be fact-checking the third Republican presidential primary debate live Nov. 8.

PolitiFact will be fact-checking the third Republican presidential primary debate live Nov. 8.

Ellen Hine
By Ellen Hine November 7, 2023

Read our full wrap-up story from the debate here.

It will be a smaller crowd on the third Republican primary debate stage in Miami, with stricter qualifying criteria and former Vice President Mike Pence’s exit from the race trimming the pack.

Five candidates will debate Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.

Former President Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, will not attend the debate and will hold a rally the same night in Hialeah, Florida, according to The Associated Press. 

PolitiFact hosted a live staff roundtable discussion on debate night for United Facts of America, our annual festival of fact-checking. Watch all of our United Facts of America sessions here.

Live fact checks from the third Republican primary debate

Fact-checking Scott’s claim that 3 out of 4 Americans support 15-week abortion ban

"Three out of four Americans agree with a 15-week limit," Scott said.

Survey data varies on this question. A June 2023 poll sponsored by Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, an anti-abortion group, and conducted by the Tarrance Group, found that 77% of respondents said abortions should be prohibited at conception, after six weeks or after 15 weeks.

But this poll was sponsored by a group with a position on the issue, and both questions told respondents that fetuses can feel pain at 15 weeks — an assertion that is not universal consensus among medical experts.

Independent polls varied on the question of an abortion ban after 15 weeks. A July 2022 survey from Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies and the Harris Poll found that 23% of respondents said their state should ban abortion after 15 weeks, 12% said it should be banned at six weeks and 37% said it should be allowed only in cases of rape and incest. Collectively, that’s 72% who supported a ban at 15 weeks or less.

In two subsequent polls, the support for abortion at 15 weeks or less was not as strong. A September 2022 Economist/YouGov poll found that 39% of respondents supported a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, and 46% opposed it. And a June 2023 Associated Press-NORC poll found that for abortion up to 15 weeks, 51% of respondents said they would allow it, while 45% said they would ban it.

-Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact

Updated 9:56 p.m. ET
Would DeSantis’ plan to send troops to border lower fentanyl flow?

Ron DeSantis has said that if elected president he would send troops to the U.S.-Mexico border and use lethal force against drug smugglers. Experts say these proposals wouldn’t curb fentanyl flow.

Updated 9:48 p.m. ET
Scott said GOP tax cut led to higher revenues. Did it?

"When we cut taxes in 2017, I wrote the tax cuts and Jobs Act. Everybody said well guess what? Revenue will go down. Well in 2018, after we wrote it in 2017, what happened? Revenue went up by 3%, and the next year, it went up by another 3%," Scott said. "So what we know is that the Laffer Curve still works. That the lower the tax, the higher the revenue.

If you look at the sheer number of dollars collected, irrespective of inflation and without regard to the size of the overall economy or other factors, tax revenues went up very slightly.

Specifically, federal data show that tax revenues rose between fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018 by 0.4%. (Federal fiscal years run from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.) The rise is smaller than almost every previous year since World War II, except for a handful of years in which tax revenues declined, largely due to recessions.
But even that increase isn’t really applicable because the fiscal year is different from the tax year.

And the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a group that favors shrinking the federal deficit, found that the small increase in nominal dollars collected disappears once you add in other factors. If you adjust for inflation, the group found, tax revenues actually fell by 1.6%.

-Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact

Updated 9:43 p.m. ET

Could a President Vivek Ramaswamy lay off 75% of federal workers by himself?

Vivek Ramaswamy said he would consider a "75% headcount reduction" in the federal government.

Legal experts are dubious of his interpretation. They said sweeping cuts need to be approved by Congress, not accomplished by presidential action alone.
Updated 9:40 p.m. ET
Fact-checking the back-and-forth between DeSantis and Haley on China

In campaign ads and on the trail, the DeSantis campaign has been attacking Haley for recruiting a Chinese fiberglass company to South Carolina while she was governor.

Today, Haley turned the table on DeSantis.

"Ron, you are the chair of your economic development agency that as of last week, said Florida is the ideal place for Chinese businesses," Haley said.

"I abolished that agency that she's talking about," DeSantis responded.

Haley is pointing to the web page of Select Florida, Florida’s economic development entity. The website talked extensively about business opportunities in China, according to the Messenger. It included a quote from a 2020 report that discussed "positioning Florida as an ideal business destination for Chinese companies." The references were removed from the website last week.

DeSantis’ office told the Messenger it removed some items from Select Florida's website that was "outdated information on a website for an organization that the governor abolished, so it was updated accordingly."

-Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact

Updated 9:21 p.m. ET

Fact-checking Haley's attack on DeSantis on fracking

Nikki Haley said Ron DeSantis "banned fracking." 

We rated a similar claim Half True. As DeSantis ran for governor in 2018, he campaigned on banning hydraulic fracturing and oil drilling off Florida’s coast. That year, voters also approved a constitutional amendment to ban drilling. DeSantis continues to oppose fracking and oil drilling off Florida’s coast, but says he isn’t against it elsewhere.

Updated 9:15 p.m. ET

Does the Chinese Communist Party own U.S. land?

Chinese investors, entities and U.S. corporations with Chinese shareholders collectively owned 383,935 acres of agricultural and non-agricultural land in the United States, as of 2021.

It is unclear how many of these acres are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. 

An expert told PolitiFact that although the Chinese Communist Party could influence or coerce Chinese individuals or entities to use farmlands for spying or other purposes, there hasn’t been good evidence of such activity.

Read our full story.

Updated 9:02 p.m. ET

Fact-checking Ramaswamy on Ukraine banning ‘11 opposition parties’

Ramaswamy is different from his colleagues when it comes to Ukraine, generally arguing that the United States pull away from Ukraine’s fight against Russian invaders.

"Ukraine is not a paragon of democracy," Ramaswamy said. "This is a country that has banned 11 opposition parties."

His point about political parties is accurate, but it needs context.

Ukraine banned 11 pro-Russian parties -- the largest of which occupied 44 out of 450 seats in Ukraine's Parliament, according to Radio Free Europe. The party’s leader, Viktor Medvedchuk, is aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin is the godfather of Medvedchuk's daughter, Radio Free Europe reported.

-Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact

Fact-checking Christie on his record of lowering hate crimes in New Jersey

Christie told a story about being appointed U.S. attorney in New Jersey on Sept. 10, 2011, and how one of his first big assignments was working to stop potential hate crimes on Jewish and Muslim residents.

"We stopped any hate crimes that were going on, either against Jewish Americans in New Jersey or Muslim Americans in New Jersey, Christie said.

The Asbury Park Press ran the numbers in 2016. Hate crimes did, in fact, drop.

Total reported hate crimes in 2010 numbered 775, the newspaper reported. The total number of hate crimes then dropped each year through 2015 — from 606, to 553, 459, 373 and, finally, 367 in 2015.

Religiously motivated hate crimes also trended downward until 2015. That year they increased nearly 10 percent in New Jersey.

-Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact

Updated 8:54 p.m. ET

Fact-checking Ramaswamy’s claim ‘Hunter Biden got a $5 million bribe from Ukraine’

This is unverified.

Trump ally Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., shared information in June she said she read in an FBI form about a bribery allegation involving Joe Biden, then vice president, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy executive.

The FBI filled out the form, known as an FD-1023, in June 2020 after hearing allegations from an informant. The FBI has said such forms contain unverified information. Multiple news outlets have reported that law enforcement have been unable to substantiate the allegations.

-Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact

Updated 8:35 p.m. ET

Fact-checking DeSantis’ claim that Biden left Americans in Israel ‘stranded"

"We had Floridians that were over there after the attack," DeSantis said. "He left them stranded they couldn't get flights out."

That’s at odds with official State Department reports.

Reuters reported on Oct. 16 that the State Department had offered more than 4,000 seats on government-chartered transport to U.S. citizens and their immediate family. CNN put the figure higher, at nearly 5,000 seats. But both outlets reported that many of those transports left less than half full, the government said.

-Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact

Updated 8:34 p.m. ET

The facts about the 2024 GOP hopefuls

At PolitiFact, this is our fifth presidential cycle. We’ve published more than 23,000 fact-checks since launching in 2007, all using our Truth-O-Meter, which rates claims on a scale from True to Pants on Fire false for the most ridiculous claims.

If PolitiFact is new to you, there are a couple of rules of the road. First, we don’t fact-check every claim every candidate says. We couldn’t … we’d be dead. But seriously, we focus on claims that are particularly interesting, or in the news, or obviously potentially wrong.

Our grading scale tries to measure both the literal truth and how voters might interpret a politicians’ words. So if Haley claims that DeSantis is against fracking, it can be more complicated to fact-check than you think. DeSantis, while running for governor in 2018, did promise to ban fracking and prevent oil drilling off Florida's coast.

But DeSantis said that what applies in Florida doesn’t necessarily need to apply everywhere. "And so when we're doing that, that is not saying that I think that should apply to Louisiana or Texas and all that. So, that will continue. And we want them to be able to do it, and we also want them to be able to use hydraulic fracturing," DeSantis has said.

We've fact-checked the candidates on stage in Miami 41 times this year. We’ve fact-checked DeSantis 16 times, Haley and Ramaswamy each eight times, Scott six times and Christie three times.

We'll be drawing on those previous fact-checks, as well as the thousands of other claims we've vetted, throughout the night.

-Analysis by Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact

Updated 8:27 p.m. ET

DeSantis on Israel evacuations

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis arranged to fly about 700 Americans out of Israel in October. The flights were free for passengers. The federal government evacuated about 1,500 Americans but charged them, per federal law.

Fact-checking DeSantis on Trump's wall promise

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said former President Donald Trump "should explain why he didn't have Mexico pay for the border wall."

We rated that promise by Trump a Promise Broken. 

Updated 8:20 p.m. ET

How to watch the third Republican debate

The Republican National Committee has partnered NBC News, the Republican Jewish Coalition, Salem Radio Network and Rumble for the third debate, which starts at 8 p.m. E.T.

NBC News will host, with "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt, "Meet the Press" moderator Kristen Welker and Salem Radio Network host Hugh Hewitt moderating the event. Viewers can also stream the debate on NBC News’ website or Rumble

How can I follow PolitiFact’s live debate fact-checks?

PolitiFact will fact-check the debate live on our website and across our social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Threads, TikTok and X (formerly Twitter). We’ll be working again with our partner ABC News to provide fact-checking of candidates on the ABC debate live blog.

If you prefer a roundup of the most notable claims from the debate, subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get our fact-checking sent straight to your inbox. 

Hear something we should check? Suggest a fact-check of a candidates’ claim by emailing [email protected]

How has PolitiFact rated the GOP candidates participating in the third debate? 

Here’s how PolitiFact has rated statements made by the Republican presidential candidates using our Truth-O-Meter, which helps us rate claims based on their relative accuracy. 

Ron DeSantis has been rated 54 times since 2013.

Nikki Haley has been rated 20 times since 2012. 

Chris Christie has been rated 106 times since 2011.

Tim Scott has been rated 10 times since 2012. 

Vivek Ramaswamy has been rated eight times since 2023. 

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Live fact-checking the third Republican primary debate