What Was Fact, And What Wasn’t, In The Second Cruz-O’Rourke Debate

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Laura RiceOctober 17, 2018 10:52 am,

In their second debate Tuesday night, Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke tromped into new territory while hammering home a few claims previously fact-checked.

Gardner Selby of the PolitiFact Texas fact-checking team runs through issues in the second debate, which have been previously fact-checked.

Fact Check: Cruz said O’Rourke cast a vote to impose a $10-per-barrel tax on U.S. oil. O’Rourke said that was untrue. The Dallas Morning News looked into the claim earlier this month. So, did O’Rourke cast such a vote?

“Indirectly, you … could argue that,” Selby says.

Fact Check: O’Rourke charged Cruz with shutting down the government for 16 days– something Cruz has said he has “consistently opposed.”

“Earlier this year, PolitiFact in Washington rated Pants on Fire: incorrect and ridiculous – Cruz’s claim that he’d never once voted not to fund the government,” Selby says.

Fact Check: O’Rourke stressed twice in the debate that Texas is the least-insured state.

“So, the Census Bureau has reported that as of 2016, about one in six Texans lacked health coverage,” Selby says. “In 2017, the Gallup Poll found even more Texans saying they had no health insurance; north of 22 percent, which was the highest percentage among the states.”

Fact Check: Cruz said, “O’Rourke is the only Democratic Senate nominee in the country who has explicitly come out for impeaching President Trump.”

We previously rated false, Cruz’s declaration that O’Rourke was the nation’s only Senate candidate to back impeachment,” Selby says. “For instance, there’s a California Democrat on November’s ballot who has said that what Trump’s done qualifies for impeachment. Kevin de Leon is facing incumbent Dianne Feinstein on the ballot.”

Fact Check: O’Rourke said, “El Paso, in fact, is one of, if not the safest, cities in the United States of America.”

“Such claims tie to disputed CQ Press rankings, rooted in FBI-published statistics that appear annually despite the FBI’s advice against using its data to compare communities,” Selby says. “We rated a similar O’Rourke claim Half True last year.”