Politics Fact check: Joe Biden misspoke about his campaign's voter protection efforts
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In the Senate, a poll found Doug Jones may not be doomed after all. And another found Lindsey Graham's race may not be as tight as believed.They have found Biden still holding a commanding lead nationally (though down slightly from last week) and leading in 10 of 12 swing states. But Trump regained a slight polling average lead in Ohio and ate a big chunk out of Biden's leads in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Trump also erased Biden's gains in Florida from last week, which some Democrats had hoped signaled their nominee was pulling away in the crucial Sunshine State.
Fact check: Biden said he created a large 'voter fraud organization'
Since the beginning of his campaign, Biden’s foot has been no stranger to his mouth. The self-described “” is under fire again as Republican leaders promote a recent quote as a confession of wide-scale voter fraud.
“We have put together, I think, the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics,” Biden said in a clipto Instagram Oct. 24.
“At least he’s telling the truth about something,” an Instagram user captioned the post.
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President Donald Trump's dishonesty is getting worse. © Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images US President Donald Trump gestures during a rally at Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville, Wisconsin on October 17, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) Trump has been reliably deceptive for his entire presidency, filling his speeches and tweets with lies and other false statements.
RNC Research quickly jumped on Biden’s mistake,the clip on Twitter that afternoon. , and tweeted about the short clip the same day.
“What a terrible thing for Biden to say!,” Trump added. “Rigged Election?”
What a terrible thing for Biden to say! Rigged Election?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
Trump alsothe 24-second clip on his YouTube channel, where it’s been viewed 500,000 times.
The Instagram user that posted the clip has not responded to USA TODAY's request for comment.
Biden was describing voter protections
Bidenwhile on the liberal podcast "Pod Save America." The Oct. 24 podcast, video recording and transcript show Biden was discussing countering voter suppression rather than encouraging voter fraud.
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When podcast host Dan Pfeiffer asked, “What’s your message to the folks who have not yet voted or do not yet have a plan to vote?” Biden responded:
“Republicans are doing everything they can to make it harder for people to vote. Particularly people of color to vote. So go to iwillvote.com. Secondly, we’re in a situation where we have put together, and you guys did it for President Obama’s administration before this, we have put together, I think, the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics. What the president is trying to do is discourage people from voting by implying that their vote won’t be counted. It can’t be counted. We’re going to challenge it and all these things.’
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A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on Sep 30, 2020 at 2:31pm PDT
is a voter information website where Americans can check their registration status, register to vote and learn about voting laws in every state. The site is run and paid for by the Democratic National Committee.
He then encouraged voters to help their friends, family and neighbors cast their ballots.
“And make the case to your friends, make your case to your friends that they can’t complain if they don’t vote,” he said. “And because I think the American people are going to show up, Dan, in such large numbers, there’s going to be no way to avoid the outcome."
Biden’s campaign says he misspoke
The Biden’s campaign confirmed in a statement sent tothat he was describing his campaign's efforts to fight voter suppression and counter Trump’s false accusations of widespread voter fraud.
“The President of the United States has already demonstrated he’s willing to lie and manipulate our country’s democratic process to help himself politically, which is why we have assembled the most robust and sophisticated team in presidential campaign history to confront voter suppression and fight voter fraud however it may present itself,”Biden’s national press secretary T.J. Ducklo.
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In October, USA TODAY, Columbia Journalism Investigations and PBS’s “Frontline” used the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database to. The investigation found claims that mail-in voter fraud could turn a major election were unfounded.
Biden’s campaign did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
Media outlets from both sides agree the claim is false
Snopes’ investigation of Biden's statementthe term “voter fraud organization” was his confusing shorthand for the campaign’s election protection program against false allegations of voter fraud.
Fox Newson Biden’s controversial statement and concluded it was likely that he misspoke. Fox concluded Biden was likely referring to his election protection program, which he’s discussed in many past interviews.
“Biden has a history of misstatements, including saying he was running for the Senate in mid-October and claiming 200 million Americans have died of coronavirus in mid-September,” wrote Fox.
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Thomas Balcerski takes a look at the one term presidencies of Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush and writes that each of the failed incumbents demonstrated a fatal character flaw during their reelection campaigns that didn't sit well with voters. Taken together, these embattled incumbents still provide a recipe for electoral disaster in American politics.With the 2020 presidential election less than a week away, the prospect once more looms of a challenger unseating an entrenched incumbent president.
“You should ask Joe Biden if he stands by the words he uttered, not us for sharing them,” the RNC’s rapid response director Steve Guest laterabout the clip. “It's not the RNC's responsibility to clarify for the Biden campaign their candidate’s repeated blunders."
Our ruling: Missing context
Joe Biden did say he had created a "voter fraud organization," however, the full interview shows the claim was a misstatement. Biden was referring to his campaign and the Democratic Party's election protection efforts to combat voter suppression. We rate this claim MISSING CONTEXT because our research shows the claim is not as it seems.
Our fact-check sources:
- USA TODAY, Sept. 6, 2019,
- YouTube, Fox News, Oct. 24,
- Crooked, Pod Saves America, Oct. 24,
- CNN, Oct, 27,
- Snopes, Oct. 26,
- PolitiFact, Oct. 27,
- USA TODAY, Oct. 20,
- Fox News, Oct. 25,
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