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Carl’s Crusaders Ride in Memory of Guilford Firefighter


Carl Hubbard was a father, mechanic by trade, volunteer firefighter in Guilford and Stacey Hubbard’s husband.

“He was truly a fighter,” Stacey said, “my hero, he never complained at all. He fought to the bitter end.”

Carl’s cancer diagnosis in December 2011 came as a complete shock to his family.

“It was a week before Christmas,” Stacey said, “he collapsed at a family party and we thought it was his heart until the next day we found out his body was ravaged with cancer.”

After seven months of treatment and care at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, Carl passed away four years ago this week. He was 40-years-old.

“We spent 115 days here at the hospital,” Stacey said, “and they became our family.”

Stacey is in her fourth year keeping her husband’s memory alive as the captain of Carl’s Crusaders, currently the top fundraising team in the 2016 Closer to Free Ride.

“Go big or go home,” Stacey said, “as my brother-in-law says.”

In three years Carl’s Crusaders has raised more than $229 thousand for patient care and the search for a cure. This year Stacey said the team’s goal is to reach $100 thousand.

Team members include Guilford firefighters like Rich Johnson, who knew Carl for more than 20 years.

“I’m happy to put in that time to help raise some funds and support the people that need it,” Johnson said.

Cancer survivor Ryan Walton is in his second year riding with Carl’s Crusaders.

“I had just gotten out of the hospital,” he said, “looking for something to do, and get into as a positive work out and get back in shape.”

Emergency surgery at Smilow in November 2014 saved his life.

“I realized how fortunate I was that I’d be leaving the 15th floor and some people might not,” Walton said.

This year 14-year-old Cameron Hubbard will ride for the first time in honor of his father.

“I know my husband couldn’t be prouder of him right now,” Stacey said.

NBC Connecticut is a proud sponsor of the Closer to Free Ride on September 10th. You can still register here.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Trump 'Never Asked' Kasich to Be His VP


Donald Trump said he never asked John Kasich to be his running mate after the Trump team reportedly reached out to the Ohio governor’s staff with the job offer. 

According to a New York Times report, a Kasich senior adviser said it was Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who made the offer in May, a few weeks after Kasich suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination. 

But after arriving in Cleveland Wednesday afternoon, the elder Trump distanced himself from the report, tweeting: “John Kasich was never asked by me to be V.P. Just arrived in Cleveland - will be a great two days!"

The New York Times said Donald Jr. told the staffer that as “the most powerful vice president in history,” Kasich would be responsible for domestic and foreign policy, leaving Trump with the task of “making America great again.” 

Trump said he would consider the Ohio governor for the vice presidency on May 4, the same day Kasich dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination. 

Last week, Trump said it was Indiana Gov. Mike Pence that was his “first choice,” among a short-list that included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. 

With 18 electoral votes, Ohio has been carried by every winning presidential candidate since 1964, which makes Ohio a key battleground. That makes Kasich’s support for the party’s nominee even more important. 

Kasich is still refusing to endorse Trump. In an interview with NBC News Monday, he said Trump would "have to change everything that he says" for him to agree to speak at the convention. 

"We can't be attacking Muslims and Hispanics, and trying to shut down trade, and not caring about the debt," Kasich told NBC News' Lester Holt. "Those are all problems for me." 

Kasich said he didn't see eye-to-eye with the Republican Party's nominee. 

"I don't hold any personal animus towards Donald Trump," Kasich said. "We just are two companies that have different values, different directions, and different philosophies."

Kasich arrived in Cleveland Tuesday and avoided the convention altogether. Instead, he headlined a state party reception at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, about a mile from the Quicken Loans Arena. 

"The message for me was never about rhetoric," Kasich told a crowd of about 2,000. "There's no way I would enter a race for president just to win an election." 

During a delegation breakfast Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan urged Ohio delegates loyal to Kasich to put their support behind Trump. 

Kasich’s refusal to back Trump and attend has angered top Trump staff and Republican faithful. 

"He is making a big mistake. He is looking at something that is not going to happen. He is hurting his state,” Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday. “He is embarrassing his state, frankly." 

Manafort continued to dig into Kasich Monday, telling Bloomberg News: “Will John Kasich finally grow up? Maybe. If he does, we'll welcome him." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Photo Credit: AP
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2 Arrested After Unknown Chemicals Led to Emergency Response


Two people face narcotics charges after several emergency crews responded to a report of unknown chemicals located at a residence in Higganum Monday.

State police, the state police bomb squad, Drug Enforcement Agency and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Emergency Response Unit were on the scene at 34 Ponsett Road in Higganum after unknown chemicals were located. DEEP determined that the chemicals were not hazardous.

State police said Wednesday that two residents of the home, identified as Jesse Vernil, 32, and Megan Vincelett, 31, were arrested following the incident. Both were charged with possession of a controlled substance and they are due in court on August 3.

State police said the Statewide Narcotics Task Force was investigating.

The Department of Children and Familes also responded for two children located in the home, according to police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Suspect Accused of Exposing Himself on Milford Beach: Police


Police are searching for a suspect they say exposed himself to a group of girls on a Milford beach.

Milford Police said the incident happened on Wednesday around 1:20 p.m.

According to police, the suspect approached a group of girls on Anchor Beach and sat near them before exposing himself to the group. The juveniles began snapping pictures of the suspect, at which point, fled on a bicycle toward Kings Highway, police said. 

The suspect is described as a heavy-set male with dark hair and a clean-shaven face. He was wearing white tank top with dark colored shorts and riding a mountain bike with silver handle bars.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Milford police at (203) 878-6551, or on the Crime Tips section of their website.

Photo Credit: Milford Police Department

South Windsor to Remove Road Hump Where Teens Crashed, Died


Workers in South Windsor are removing a road hump on Abbe Road, which has been the scene for many major accidents within the last few years. 

In 2013, at Abbe Road and Robert Drive, two teenagers were killed when their driver sped up to get airborne over the hump, lost control and hit a tree.  

The driver, Sara Ballard, was sent to prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter and assault. A memorial for the victims, Matt Masse and Brooke Wormstedt, can be seen on the hump.

Officials said Abbe Road will be closed during work days, while it's made wider and safer.

"There's been since we've lived here, my parents live next door and my sister lives in the following house, and there's been several accidents. We just need people to stop jumping the hump as they call it and have no people get killed," she said

At the time of the crash, officials said removing the hump might be too expensive, but the state government granted South Windsor $350,000 in federal government money to make the road safer.

Jeff Doolittle of South Windsor Public Works explained, "It takes a little bit of work. The gas company had to relocate a gas main in that area. We're removing about three feet from the top of the knoll. And we're also raising the road at Robert Drive about a foot."

New Haven Hires Teens To Build New Youth Center


Once complete, the Escape Teen/Drop-in Center on Orchard Street will be a safe space for New Haven Youth.

It will be a place for young people to engage in recreational and educational after school programs.

“Because it’s a youth development building, we want youth to actually do the work,” Director of Youth Services Jason Bartlett said of Mayor Toni Harp’s youth imitative.

Eighteen-year-old David Stephenson is one of ten teens in his second week on the job.

“I think I realized this is something I wanted to pursue when I started to go to Eli Whitney,” he said, “that’s when I realized how good a job it was and how fun it was and how creative you can be when doing something like this craft.”

Stephenson and other teens working on the new youth center had not been engaged in school, Bartlett said.

“So either they weren’t going to school, they were failing out of school, so what we did was we identified those kids and got them on a separate track,” he explained.

That track involves job training in the city’s after school Career Pathways TECH Collaborative program at Eli Whitney Technical High School. There, teens learn skills like drilling, cutting and sawing.

“I was ready that day just to come here and get this opportunity to build things and get to work on my craft,” Stephenson said about when he found out the he’d have a paid summer job.

Now, he is on a path to make this work he enjoys a career.

“It keeps you on your feet,” Stephenson said, “keeps you going, keeps you motivated to know when you finish a project, it’s going to be something spectacular.”

The first phase of the center should be ready in time for the start of the school year in September, Bartlett said.

Another section of the center will provide 20 beds for a homeless youth shelter.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

KC Cop Fatally Shot Wasn't Ambushed: Chief


A Kansas City, Kansas, police officer fatally shot while responding to a gunfire report Tuesday was not ambushed, NBC News reported. 

The city’s police chief, Terry Zeigler, said Wednesday that Capt. Robert Melton was killed by someone who didn’t want to be arrested. 

Police were called on a report of shots fired from a car. When officers arrived, someone fled from the vehicle. Melton tried to cut him off with his police car, but the suspect pulled out his gun and opened fire. Melton was shot several times and died at a local hospital. 

Police have two people in custody and are not looking for any other suspects, Zeigler said. 

The shooting comes in the wake of deadly ambushes of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Photo Credit: Kansas City, Kan. Police Department via AP

Cop Killings 'Necessary Evil': Baton Rouge Shooter


The Baton Rouge gunman sent a handwritten note to at least one person in which he called the killings a “necessary evil” aimed at creating “substantial change in America’s police forces,” NBC News reported.

In the email — confirmed to NBC News by a recipient, Yarima Kamara — Gavin Long refers to an "unseen & concealed war within America's police force between Good cops & Bad cops." Kamara said he never met Long, but was familiar with him because he commented on Kamara's YouTube videos. 

In the letter, he says "Therefore I must bring the same destruction that bad cops continue to inflict upon my people, upon bad cops as well as good cops, in the hopes that the good cops (which are the majority) will be able to stand together and enact justice and punishment against bad cops b/c right now the police force & current judicial system is not doing so." 

A senior law enforcement official told NBC News Wednesday that officials believe Long's final actions were taken alone.

Photo Credit: Sheba Clarke

Outback Going After Companies For Infringement


A potentially deceptive mailer is popping up locally, using a big name restaurant to reel consumers in. That restaurant tells NBC Connecticut Responds they’re going after the companies using their brand for fraudulent offers.

Edward Gelardi considers himself a regular at Outback Steakhouse in Southington.

“I probably go there once every two months,” he said.

So when he received a post card in the mail, stating that he was the recipient of a complimentary dinner for two at the Outback in Newington, he thought he earned it.

All he had to do was call the number within 48 hour and as a bonus he'd receive a $25 gift card too.

“So I called them up as requested the first thing the fella asked me was if I still owned a timeshare and I said no. well you’re disqualified,” said Gelardi.

Gelardi was disappointed and confused. The post card made no mention of a timeshare, so he wanted to know why he was disqualified for not having one. He says he called the Outback in Newington and their corporate headquarters.

“They don’t know anything about it,” he said.

After getting little information from the company, he called NBC Connecticut Responds.

On the card, in fine print, it says “Outback is neither a sponsor, supporter nor involved with this offer.”

It also said “brought to you by LPA Enterprises.”

I called the company but was prompted to simply leave a message.

“I think people should be aware of this so they don’t fall for the same false hopes,” said Gelardi.

I reached out to Outback who was aware of the issue, calling these mailers fraudulent.

They said “our legal department is in the process of shutting several websites down for infringement of the Outback Steakhouse brand. We have contacted the FTC and the Better Business Bureau to help us with this trademark infringement and we hope this matter will be resolved soon.”

Outback also said they are unable to fulfill any requests stemming from these offers, so if you see the post cards in your mailbox, throw them away and do not give out any information to anyone over the phone.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Crews Respond to Structure Fire in Torrington


Crews responded to report of a structure fire in Torrington, officials said. 

Torrington dispatch said firefighters are responding to the fire on South Main Street on Tuesday night. 

The fire started in a two-car detached garage located at 615 South Main Street before spreading to the residence at 605 South Main Street, the fire department said. 

The detached garage sustained significant structural damage and the other building had fire damage on the left side, firefighters said. 

There were no injuries reported and it does not appear that anyone has been displaced.

No other details were immediately available. 

Photo Credit: Amy Petitt

Ukrainian Charged for Illegal File Sharing Sites


Federal prosecutors filed charges against a Ukrainian man accused of running illegal file sharing websites, NBC News reported. 

Artem Vaulin, 30, was arrested Wednesday in Poland on copyright and money laundering charges. The State Department said it would seek to have him brought to the United States for trial. 

Prosecutors said Vaulin owned and ran a commercial website allowing users to illegally copy and distribute movies, video games, TV shows and songs since 2008. Court documents put the value of the stolen material well over $1 billion. 

"This criminal case is a major step to reduce illegal theft of creative content by large-scale piracy sites," said Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

'Heat Dome' Could Put Temperatures in Triple Digits


A “heat dome” is expected to hover over much of the country later this week, with temperatures in some places forecast to reach 115 degrees, NBC News reported. 

The sizzling heat will first hit parts of the central U.S. during the latter half of the week and will then spread toward the Northeast and mid-Atlantic later this week into the weekend, according to weather.com. Heat alerts have been extended to parts of 21 states, including Louisiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois. 

Starting Friday, major cities along the eastern seaboard, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City could experience highs in the upper 90s to close to 100 degrees. The nation’s capital hasn’t had 100-degree weather since July 2012, weather.com said. 

About 200 million people will experience 90-degree temperatures or higher, while 130 million will take in heat indices of 100 degrees or higher, according to meteorologists.

Photo Credit: AP

Trump to 'Art of the Deal' Ghostwriter: Cease and Desist


The ghostwriter of Donald Trump's bestselling book "The Art of the Deal" said Wednesday he has received a cease and desist letter from Trump's campaign in response to comments he made about Trump, NBC News reported.

In an interview with MSNBC, Tony Schwartz said the letter demands, among other things, that the former journalist stop collecting and return all the royalty payments he received from the book.

It comes after Schwartz, who was employed by Trump to co-write his memoir in 1987, slammed the Republican candidate in an interview with the New Yorker. He told the magazine that he genuinely believes "if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization."

Schwartz described Trump to Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams as "having no heart and no soul."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fundraiser Held For Injured West Haven Police Officer


A month after a West Haven police officer was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash in New York, the officer's family is receiving a great deal of support from the community. Loved ones of Officer Mike Doyle said doctors tell them that Doyle's recovery is "not a sprint, but a marathon."

"Having everyone coming together; it's just amazing," Kathy Doyle said on Wednesday evening.

It does not take much for her to become emotional about her husband, who is currently healing at a rehabilitation facility in Wallingford.

“The tears. It just starts," said Mrs. Doyle. "Everyone is so amazing."

Investigators said a group of police motorcyclists were traveling on the Taconic State Parkway pn June 22 when a vehicle entering the highway suddenly came into the officer's path, forcing Doyle's bike to collide with another officer's motorcycle. The other officer was not injured. At that point, Doyle's prognosis looked grim.

“It’s been a long journey already but it’s going to be an even longer one," Mrs. Doyle said.

She and other family members said her husband has made incredible strides since that day.

“It’s just been overwhelming," Judy Drapp, Mr. Doyle's sister, said. "Between the police department and the friends and the friends of friends, the support from day one has been overwhelming.”

Hundreds of people, including family, friends, fellow officers and strangers filled Stony Creek Brewery in Branford on Wednesday and many purchased raffle tickets and T-shirts and also made donations, many of which will go to the injured officer's family.

"Michael’s very modest and he’s overwhelmed by all the love and support, but in the same sense, it’s making him stronger," Det. Sean Faughnan, of the West Haven Police Department, said.

As Officer Doyle regains his strength, his wife continues to believe that all the people who have offered support are proof of just how lucky Doyle is and has been.

“I'm taking photos, documenting the night for him to really see how many people he really has touched," Mrs. Doyle said.

Money raised on Wednesday night and also from a carnival that begins Thursday night at the Oak Street Grove in West Haven will go to Officer Doyle's family as well as to the West Haven Emergency Assistance Taskforce, or WHEAT, which provides food for those in need.

Doyle's family does not yet know when the injured officer will be well enough to leave the hospital.

Photo Credit: Doyle Family

Bloody Ceiling Leads to Body


New York City police discovered a decomposing body inside a Lower East Side apartment Wednesday after the owner of the beauty salon below discovered blood dripping down her ceiling and walls.

The owner of the salon on Essex Street, near Grand Street, said she noticed blood dripping from the ceiling of her bathroom several days ago. 

The stench and red leak got worse in the days afterward, and the owner had to cancel all her appointments because it was so nauseating, she told NBC 4 partner station Telemundo-47. 

The blood finally came pouring down her bathroom walls, covering her bathroom.

"I called the landlord again he said, 'I'll be over,' but he never showed. So I called 911, they went through the fire escape, pulled the body out -- guy had been there for a week," said the owner, Caridad Alvarado.

Police say they're investigating. It's unclear how the person died.

Photo Credit: Photo Courtesyt of the NYPD

Video Shows Florida Cop Shooting


Cell phone video released Wednesday shows the moments before and after a black South Florida caregiver laying on his back with his hands in the air was shot by a North Miami Police officer, as he was trying to calm an autistic patient.

The video shows part of the Monday encounter that left Charles Kinsey, a caregiver at a nearby group home for mentally disabled adults, hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his leg.

Around 5 p.m. Monday, Kinsey found one of the residents, who is severely autistic, sitting in the middle of the street, holding a toy truck.

The video shows Kinsey, laying on the street and holding his hands in the air, begging the autistic man next to him to be still and lay down. The video was shot by a witness and released by Kinsey's attorney.

"Rinaldo please be still, sit down, lay on your stomach Rinaldo," Kinsey says. The man is heard yelling at Kinsey to "shut up."

The video shows two officers standing behind light poles several yards away, their guns drawn. It lasted for 3-4 minutes, then Kinsey was shot in the leg.

"My client asked why did you shoot me? The officer told my client, 'I don't know,' that was his words verbatim," attorney Hilton Napoleon said. "Another officer asked, 'Why did you shoot this guy?' and the shooting officer said he didn't know why he shot him."

Police said officers responded to the scene after they received a 911 call of an armed man threatening suicide. Officers tried to "negotiate" with the two men and at one point, an officer fired, police said in a statement.

"There is no justification, heightened alert or not, to shoot an unarmed man laying on the ground with his hands in the air who is telling you that no one has a gun and the person here is autistic," Napoleon said.

The second piece of video shows Kinsey in the road after he was hit in the leg with a bullet. His attorney said officers handcuffed him and left him there until paramedics arrived.

A community group called the Circle of Brotherhood that Kinsey volunteers with said they are alarmed this could happen again.

"We believe a criminal offense has taken place by a police officer, and that the days of double standards are over," said Lyle Muhammad, who is in the group. "This office and department has an opportunity and deserve time to do the right thing by this case."

The identity of the officer is unknown but police said the officer has been placed on administrative leave, per department policy.

Kinsey remains hospitalized but he could be released as soon as Thursday.

North Miami Police did not respond to requests for more information about the shooting, including whether a weapon was found at the scene.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Charles Kinsey's Attorney

Fact Check: GOP Convention Day 3


FactCheck.org is a non-partisan non-profit organization that will hold candidates and key figures accountable during the 2016 presidential campaign. FactCheck.org will check facts of of speeches, advertisements and more for NBC.

On the third night of the Republican convention, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence accepted his party’s nomination for vice president, and Sen. Ted Cruz rejected calls to endorse the GOP ticket. But Pence and Cruz had one thing in common: They and other speakers distorted the facts.

  • Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said that Hillary Clinton’s “only answer” to the debt “is to keep borrowing and spending.” But the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that Trump’s tax and spending plan would cause a “massive increase” in the debt, while Clinton’s plan would result in a “relatively small” increase.
  • Pence said “we cannot have four more years of apologizing to our enemies,” an old claim from 2012 that Obama apologized to other countries. But we read through all the speeches in question and found none rose to the level of an apology.
  • Pence said that “nearly 150,000 new jobs” were created in Indiana during his governorship. True, but 20 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates of job growth during the same time period.
  • Eric Trump claimed that the U.S. is “one of the highest-taxed nations in the world,” but U.S. personal taxes aren’t even in the top ten among industrialized nations. The U.S. has one of the highest business tax rates.
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott claimed the U.S. has “world-record high debt” — it actually ranks 39th out of 178 nations in terms of debt as a percentage of GDP. And he said the U.S. economy is “not growing,” when it is.
  • Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm wrongly said that “America now has more oil than Saudi Arabia or Russia.” The U.S. is now producing more petroleum, but the other two countries have much larger proved crude oil reserves.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz claimed Iran had “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” holidays. It doesn’t have such named holidays, but demonstrators are known to chant those messages on certain occasions.
  • Both Cruz and Pence took a Hillary Clinton quote on the Benghazi terrorist attacks out of context, leaving the false impression that she didn’t care about the deaths of four Americans.
  • Pastor Darrell Scott falsely claimed that there was “higher minority unemployment” under President Obama, when, in fact, the unemployment rates for African Americans, Hispanics and Asians were all down.

Note to Readers

Our managing editor, Lori Robertson, is on the scene in Cleveland. This story was written with the help of the entire staff, based in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Next week, we will dispatch our staffers in Philadelphia for the Democratic convention. We intend to vet the major speeches at both conventions for factual accuracy, applying the same standards to both.


Pence on Clinton ‘Borrowing and Spending’

In accepting the nomination, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said that as the “national debt has nearly doubled in these eight years” under Obama, Hillary Clinton’s “only answer is to keep borrowing and spending.” An analysis by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget concluded that Clinton’s tax and spending plans would result in a “relatively small” increase to the nation’s debt, while Trump’s plan would result in a “massive increase” to the debt.

Pence is correct about the debt nearly doubling under Obama; in fact the debt held by the public has more than doubled. And Clinton has proposed $1.45 trillion in new spending — mostly on infrastructure, paid leave and education proposals — according to a June 27 report by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget called “Promises and Price Tags.” But that new spending is largely offset by $1.2 trillion in new revenue from proposed tax increases for the wealthiest Americans. So, the report concludes, Clinton would increase the debt by $250 million by 2026.

However, the report concluded that Trump’s plan would have far more dire consequences for the debt. The group found that Trump’s tax plan would result in $10.5 trillion less in tax revenues, which would be partially offset by $650 billion less in primary spending. Together with $1.7 trillion in higher interest costs, the report concludes that the sum of Trump’s policies would increase the debt by $11.5 trillion over 10 years.

“Our national debt is at post-war record-high levels and projected to grow unsustainably,” wrote Marc Goldwein, senior policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “And neither former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton nor businessman Donald Trump would reverse course — Trump, in fact, would make our debt dramatically worse.”

“The result is that under Clinton’s plans, debt would grow from 75 percent of GDP today — it was half that before the great recession! — to 87 percent of GDP by 2026,” Goldwein wrote. “Under Trump’s plans, debt would grow to a whopping 127 percent of GDP by 2026.”

Goldwein noted that the estimates are “subject to uncertainty.” But, he said, “there does not seem to be a plausible path for either candidate to put the debt on a sustainable path without modifying or adding to their plans.” And, he said, neither can get there “simply by growing the economy.”

No Apologies

Pence revived an old chestnut from the 2012 presidential campaign, saying that “we cannot have four more years of apologizing to our enemies.” The claim hearkens back to Mitt Romney’s frequent jab that Obama began his presidency on an “apology tour” in foreign countries. But as we wrote then, and again when Trump made a similar claim in June, we read through all of the speeches in question and concluded that “we didn’t see that any of them rise to the level of an actual apology.”

In a speech in Cairo, in June 2009, for example, Obama spoke about tensions between the U.S. and the Muslim world, and placed blame on both sides. And then he called for a “new beginning.” That’s not the same as “apologizing to our enemies.” Our fact-checking colleagues at PolitiFact and the Washington Post Fact Checker reached the same conclusion: Obama never apologized.

Pence’s Economic Boasts

Pence boasted that Indiana has “the highest credit rating in the nation,” and that “businesses large and small have created nearly 150,000 new jobs” on his watch. He’s right, but both statements could use some context.

Indiana added 147,800 jobs from January 2013, when he became governor, to May. But as we wrote before, the state’s private job growth rate during that time was 5.9 percent. There were 20 states and the District of Columbia that experienced faster job growth, including nine that had percentage increases in the double digits. Florida (12.7 percent increase) and Utah (12.4 percent) were the top two states with the fastest-growing rates.

As for the state’s bond rating, Indiana has held a AAA rating with all three ratings agencies since 2010 — nearly three years before Pence took office, as the governor’s office said in a press release last month.

Not Among Highest Personal Taxes

Eric Trump wrongly claimed that the U.S. is “one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” Though the U.S. has one of the highest business tax rates, U.S. personal taxes don’t even break the top ten among industrialized nations.

Eric Trump: Who better to implement commonsense tax reductions for one of the highest-taxed nations in the world, allowing our citizens a chance to keep more of what they earn, as opposed to having it squandered away by our inefficient government.

Eric Trump may have borrowed the claim from his father, whom we have twice flagged for this incorrect assertion.

The younger Trump may have been on firm ground had he been talking about business taxes. The U.S. has the highest business statutory tax rate among industrialized nations, but it was second to France when considering the marginal effective tax rate, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation.

But Trump did not specify that he was talking about business taxes, and he said if his father is elected president, he would “[allow] our citizens a chance to keep more of what they earn,” suggesting he was talking about personal taxes. On that count, he is wrong. The U.S. ranked 27th out of 30 countries among industrialized nations when it comes to tax revenues as a percentage of GDP in 2014, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. And it ranked 17th out of 29 industrialized countries when it comes to tax revenue per capita.

Debt Not a ‘World Record’

Florida Gov. Rick Scott claimed the U.S. has “world-record high debt,” when, in fact, it doesn’t, at least by the measure economists prefer. And he said the U.S. economy is “not growing,” when it is.

Scott: Today America is in terrible, world-record high debt. Our economy is not growing.

Debt: According to the CIA World Factbook, the U.S. ranks 39th in public debt, measured as a percentage of each country’s economic output, out of 178 nations listed.

The CIA estimated that U.S. debt stood at 73.6 percent of its gross domestic product in 2015, while the most indebted country was Japan, with public debt equal to 227.9 percent of its GDP.

Greece stood at third, with debt equal to 171.3 percent of its GDP.

It may well be true that the simple dollar value of U.S. debt is larger than that of any other country, but it’s also true that the U.S. has by far the world’s largest economy. So economists use debt as a percentage of GDP to make comparisons of how large a nation’s debt is in relation to its ability to repay it.

Growth: The most recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show the U.S. economy was growing at a yearly rate of 1.1 percent in the first three months of 2016, after growing at a rate of 1.4 percent in the final three months of 2015. These are “real” growth figures, adjusted for inflation.

Furthermore, the U.S. economy has shown positive growth each year since the end of the 2007-2009 recession. GDP rose by 2.5 percent in 2010, 1.6 percent in 2011, 2.2 percent in 2012, 1.5 percent in 2013, 2.4 percent in 2014 and 2.4 percent for all of 2015.

U.S. Oil

Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm said that “America now has more oil than Saudi Arabia or Russia.” Not so.

The U.S. has passed Saudi Arabia and Russia in production of petroleum, but estimates put Saudi Arabia’s and Russia’s proved reserves of crude oil way ahead of the U.S.

In 2014, the U.S. had 37 billion barrels of proved crude oil reserves, according to the most recent figures from the Energy Information Administration.

Proved energy reserves, as defined by the EIA, are “estimated quantities of energy sources that analysis of geologic and engineering data demonstrates with reasonable certainty are recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions.”

In that sense, the U.S. is far behind Saudi Arabia and Russia, which, in 2014, had proved reserves totaling 238 billion barrels of crude oil and 80 billion barrels of crude oil, respectively. Those estimates were the same in 2015, according to the EIA, which does not yet have a 2015 estimate for U.S. crude oil reserves.

On the other hand, the U.S. is currently the largest producer of petroleum. But that’s different from having more oil than Saudi Arabia and Russia, as Hamm said.

The U.S. produced 15.04 million barrels of petroleum per day in 2015, according to EIA figures. Saudi Arabia, with 11.95 million barrels per day, and Russia, with 11.03 million barrels per day, were second and third.

However, figures for petroleum production include crude oil, natural gas plant liquids, condensates and other refined liquids. So based on just production of crude oil, including lease condensate, the U.S., with 8.65 million barrels per day, still trailed Russia, with 10.1 million barrels per day, and Saudi Arabia, with 9.7 million barrels per day, in 2014, which is the most recent year for EIA data.

Iranian Holidays

Sen. Ted Cruz claimed that Iran “celebrates as holidays” a “Death to America Day and Death to Israel Day.” These aren’t official names of Iranian holidays, but rather chants used by demonstrators, often on certain days.

Our fact-checking colleagues at PolitiFact.com looked into part of that claim and found there wasn’t an official “Death to America Day.” Cruz was referring to anti-American demonstrations on Nov. 4, the anniversary of Iranian students’ takeover of the U.S. embassy in 1979 and the Iran hostage crisis.

Cruz’s office had referred PolitiFact to a 1987 Associated Press story that said Tehran Radio had called the occasion “Death to America Day.” Other news reports indicated that commemoration of the day sparked anti-American demonstrations, but those reports didn’t use the name “Death to America Day.”

One scholar, Gary Sick, who was also on President Carter’s National Security Council at the time of the hostage crisis, told Politifact that the phrase is shouted “at most events related to the revolution.”

In short, the anti-American sentiment is expressed on the anniversary of the hostage-taking, but Politifact found there wasn’t a designated “Death to America Day.”

As for a “Death to Israel Day,” we found a similar situation. News stories reported that demonstrators in Iran chanted “death to Israel” on “Al-Quds Day,” which is held the last Friday of Ramadan. Al Jazeera and CNN described the day as one to show solidarity with Palestinians, but CNN said in a 2015 story that the day often becomes a “bashing” of Israel and the United States.

Al Jazeera reported on July 1 of this year: “Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have staged anti-Israel rallies across the Islamic Republic to mark al-Quds day, the country’s annual Palestinian solidarity day, which falls on the last Friday of Ramadan. Footage from Iranian state television showed massive crowds demonstrating in the capital Tehran, chanting ‘Death to Israel.’”

While demonstrators have chanted the phrase on that day, the actual holiday is Al-Quds Day.

Context Makes a Difference, Again

Both Cruz and Pence took a Hillary Clinton quote on the Benghazi terrorist attacks out of context, leaving the false impression that she didn’t care about the deaths of four Americans.

Cruz: Theirs is the party … that responds to the death of Americans in Benghazi by asking, “What difference does it make?”

Pence: And it was Hillary Clinton who left Americans in harm’s way in Benghazi and after four Americans fell said, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

We wrote about this claim on Day 2 of the convention, when Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and former U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey made similar claims.

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Jan. 23, 2013, Clinton did say, “What difference at this point does it make?” But she did so when Johnson asked if the attack on the diplomatic facilities in Benghazi was a “spontaneous” response to an anti-Muslim internet video, as initially claimed by the Obama administration, or, as the administration later admitted, a terrorist attack. (See our latest Benghazi timeline.)

Johnson asked, “But, Madame Secretary, do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn’t have ascertained immediately that there was no protest?”

Clinton said she didn’t want to “interfere” with the FBI or State Department investigations. After some back-and-forth, she made the “what difference does it make” comment, which was a reference to his line of questioning — not the deaths of Americans.

Clinton, Jan. 23, 2013: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.

Cruz and Pence have every right to take issue with her answer, but they twist her words by claiming she said something that she did not.

Minority Unemployment

Pastor Darrell Scott was incorrect when he said that minority unemployment had increased under President Obama. In fact, unemployment for African Americans, Hispanics and Asians, the nation’s three largest minority groups, has declined significantly since Obama took office in January 2009.

Darrell Scott: … our government, which over the last eight years, has brought the rhetoric of hope, but the reality of higher minority unemployment.


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis chart, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the chart above shows, African American unemployment has fallen from 12.7 percent in January 2009 to 8.6 percent in June 2016, the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over that same time period, the unemployment rate for Hispanic Americans has dropped from 10.1 percent to 5.8 percent, and the rate for Asian Americans has declined from 6.2 percent to 3.7 percent.

Minority unemployment has fallen in absolute terms as well. The total number of unemployed African Americans was 1.68 million in June, down from 2.26 million in January 2009. And unemployment among Hispanics is also down from 2.22 million in January 2009 to 1.54 million in June.

Asian unemployment is down too, from 435,000 in January 2009 to 358,000 in June, based on non-seasonally adjusted figures.

It is true that Hispanics and African Americans continue to be unemployed at higher rates than all Americans. As of June, the unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanics, 8.6 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively, were above the national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.

— Lori Robertson, with Eugene Kiely, Brooks Jackson, Robert Farley, D’Angelo Gore, Zachary Gross and Ilana Nathans


Bureau of Labor Statistics. State and Area Employment, Hours and Earnings. accessed 20 Jul 2016.

Kiely, Eugene. “Trump Oversells Pence’s Record.” FactCheck.org. 17 Jul 2016.

Fitch Ratings Reaffirms Indiana’s AAA Credit Rating.” Press release. Office of the Indiana Governor. 30 Jun 2016.

Doman, Linda. “United States remains largest producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons.” Energy Information Administration. 23 May 2016.

U.S. Energy Information Administration. Production of Crude Oil including Lease Condensate (Thousand Barrels Per Day). Accessed 20 Jul 2016.

U.S. Energy Information Administration. Total Petroleum and Other Liquids Production, 2015. Accessed 20 Jul 2016.

U.S. Energy Information Administration. Crude Oil Proved Reserves (Billion Barrels). Accessed 20 Jul 2016.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Civilian Unemployment Rate, retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Accessed 20 Jul 2016.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment Rate: Black or African American, retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Accessed 20 Jul 2016.

US. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment Rate: Hispanic or Latino, retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Accessed 20 Jul 2016.

US. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment Rate: Asian, retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Accessed 20 Jul 2016.

Selby, W. Gardner. “Ted Cruz says Iran annually has Death to America holiday.” PolitiFact.com. 13 Mar 2015.

CNN.com. “‘Death to Israel’ chanted at al-Quds day in Iran.” 10 Jul 2015.

AlJazeera.com. “Thousands rally in Iran on al-Quds day.” 1 Jul 2016.

Farley, Robert. “Romney’s Sorry ‘Apology’ Dig.” FactCheck.org. 31 Aug 2012.

White House website. “Remarks by the President at Cairo University.” 4 Jun 2009.

Drobnic Holan, Angie. “Obama’s remarks never a true ‘apology,’” PolitiFact. 15 Mar 2010.

Kessler, Glenn. “Obama’s ‘Apology Tour.’” Washington Post. 22 Feb 2011.

Jackson, Brooks. “Obama’s Numbers July 2016 Update.” FactCheck.org. 11 Jul 2016.

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “Promises and Price Tags: A Fiscal Guide to the 2016 Election.” 27 Jun 2016.

Goldwein, Marc. “Both Clinton and Trump Would Grow National Debt.” Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. 7 Jul 2016.

FactCheck.org. “FactChecking the 10th GOP Debate.” 26 Feb 2016.

Mintz, Jack and Chen, Duanjie. “U.S. Corporate Taxation: Prime for Reform.” Tax Foundation. 4 Feb 2015.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. “Revenue Statistics – OECD countries: Comparative tables.”

Categories: Articles and Featured Posts

Tags: Presidential Election 2016

Locations: National

People: Mike Pence, Rick Scott, and Ted Cruz

Issues: debt, jobs, oil, spending, Taxes, and Unemployment

author: Lori Robertson

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Navy Vet Held Captive for Pension


A New York man held an 81-year-old Navy veteran captive for four years, starving and beating him, in order to steal his pension checks for drugs, authorities say. 

Perry Coniglio, 43, was arrested in Orange County Wednesday on multiple charges, including unlawful imprisonment, endangerment of an incompetent person, grand larceny and criminal possession of a weapon. 

Highland Falls police said Coniglio, a motel handyman, held former U.S. Navy veteran David McClellan captive for four years at the U.S. Academy Motel, near West Point. 

Police said they had gotten complaints for years that Coniglio, who was posing as the victim's caretaker, was verbally abusing the elderly man. But when video surfaced that it turned more physical, they raided the motel Tuesday night. 

"That of course elevated our concern for the well-being of the victim yesterday, so last night we moved in and took Coniglio into custody," said Highlands Police Det. Joseph Cornetta. 

McClellan was taken to the hospital and is in the care of adult protective services.

Coniglio allegedly cashed the victim's pension checks and cleared out his bank accounts over the years.

Attorney information for Coniglio wasn't immediately available. 

Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy Highland Falls Police

Motorcyclist in Critical Condition After Stamford Crash


A man is in critical condition after he was thrown from a motorcycle in Stamford on Wednesday night.

Police said Jose Chacon-Valverde, 30, of Stamford, was driving a 2005 Harley Davidson motorcycle westbound in the right lane of West Main Street and lost control of the bike while approaching Myano Lane at 7:01 p.m. and was thrown from the motorcycle

He sustained serious head injuries, police said, and was transported to Stamford Hospital, where he is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.

Police said they do not believe speed was a factor. They also do not suspect alcohol or drugs.

Any witnesses are asked to call the Stamford Police Department’s Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Squad at (203) 977-4712 and ask for Officer Drain or Officer Dabrowski.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Part of Nott Street in Wethersfield Closed


Part of Nott Street Wethersfield is closed after a car hit a pole and it will be closed until around 4 p.m., police said.

Nott Street is closed between Cedar Street and Ridge Road.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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