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December 19, 2011 9:24 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - December 18, 2011

This week on the Sunday political talk shows, topics of discussion ranged far and wide. On Fox News Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney advocated for block granting Medicaid despite the harm that would do to those who rely on the program. On This Week, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) distorted the content of a CBO report on income inequality. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), appearing on Meet the Press, shared several false claims: that employers are concerned about "uncertainty," and that the Keystone pipeline would create 20,000 jobs. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), also on Meet the Press, did the same, falsely asserting that there's no evidence the payroll tax holiday created jobs and that Iran has threatened the U.S. and Israel with nuclear weapons.

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December 12, 2011 12:11 pm ET

Republicans: Payroll Tax Holiday Isn't "Stimulating" Enough

A prominent group of Republican lawmakers are opposing Obama administration efforts to extend a payroll tax holiday — due to expire on December 31 — that would continue putting more money in the pockets of working Americans. Opponents lean heavily on the argument that the current payroll tax holiday has not had a sufficiently stimulative effect on the economy, but experts disagree, arguing that the holiday has helped bolster the recovering economy.

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December 12, 2011 9:59 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - December 11, 2011

This week's Sunday political talk shows saw a major focus on the debate over the payroll tax cut extension. On Face the Nation, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) attacked President Obama and "Newt Romney" — a name for Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney she came up with during Saturday's debate — over the payroll tax cut, saying there's no evidence the cut helped create jobs. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the tax cut an 'emergency measure' and said it wouldn't be necessary if President Obama's "failed" policies hadn't resulted in a higher deficit and jobless rates. McConnell, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), also pushed for the Keystone Pipeline using discredited job creation numbers.

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December 05, 2011 9:52 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - December 4, 2011

On the first Sunday of December, GOP presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus each brought their share of falsehoods to the table. On CNN's State of the Union, Bachmann dismissed the economic significance of the payroll tax holiday even though economists explain that putting more money in the hands of workers would give an appreciable boost to the economy. She also appeared on Fox News Sunday, where she falsely claimed that businesses aren't hiring because they don't have enough money. During his appearances, Priebus did his best to attack the Obama administration's record, distorting the reasons behind November's unemployment rate drop on Meet the Press. He also tried to blame President Obama for deficits that are a legacy of Bush-era Republican policies and for a rising poverty rate that's the result of the recession.

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November 14, 2011 10:29 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 13, 2011

The Penn State sexual abuse scandal headlined the political talk shows on Sunday, but Republican leaders still found plenty of time to air dishonest talking points about conservative policies. GOP super committee members Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) misled viewers about the root of the debt problem the committee is trying to solve and what Republicans have proposed to address it. In particular, both lawmakers severely distorted the impact of the failed Bush tax cuts. Elsewhere, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared that Republicans want to "reduce taxes on every single American," ignoring the party leaders demanding that the poor pay higher taxes, and struggling presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed that "what we need to win this war on terror" is the reinstatement of Bush-approved torture techniques.

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October 31, 2011 10:24 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 30, 2011

This week's Sunday talk shows included several GOP presidential contenders who have figured out that ignoring facts is a winning formula among their party's voters. While all the candidates who appeared on the shows parroted the same points they've been making for the past several months, there were also several new allegations. On Face the Nation, GOP frontrunner Herman Cain, after having adjusted his 9-9-9 tax plan to avoid tax hikes on those living in poverty, claimed that the exemption was there all along and that his critics simply misreported his plan. That's unlikely given that Cain has been on record defending taxing the income of those living in poverty. On This Week, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was called out for misrepresenting immigration statistics. Rather than acknowledge her mistake and move on, Bachmann claimed that she did not say what the video clearly showed her saying. And on Fox News Sunday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) repeated a slew of easily debunked economic talking points, including that President Obama had overseen the creation of "practically no jobs."

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October 24, 2011 9:40 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 23, 2011

This week's Sunday political talk shows focused primarily on national security, with the shows' Republican guests universally condemning the administration's announcement late last week that the remaining American troops would withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011. In the process of trashing President Obama's record on foreign policy on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) found time to suggest that trying terrorist suspects in civilian courts was unprecedented and dangerous, even though the Bush administration successfully prosecuted a number of prominent terrorists in federal courts, which tend to hand down stricter sentences than military commissions. Later on the same show, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) misrepresented President Ronald Reagan's legacy when she explained that her economic policy proposal "takes a page out of Ronald Reagan's blueprint," which she claimed created an "economic miracle" in the 1980s. On State of the Union, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) focused on economic falsehoods, attacking proposals to tax income over $1 million by inflating the number of small businesses affected and suggesting falsely that the American people don't support such a plan. He continued misinforming the audience, suggesting their biggest concern is over-reguation despite strong evidence that lack of demand is a much more pressing issue.

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October 06, 2011 2:01 pm ET

The House GOP's Crusade Against Reproductive Rights

In September, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, initiated an investigation of Planned Parenthood's financial records looking for misappropriated federal funds and requesting paperwork going back over 13 years. This Republican vendetta against Planned Parenthood is part of a larger fight in which Republicans are trying to prevent women from being in control of their reproductive health. To that end, House Republicans introduced a multitude of bills and amendments since January that would chip away at women's reproductive rights by eliminating Title X funding, defunding Planned Parenthood, imposing harsh restrictions on funding for abortions, replacing sexual education programs with abstinence-only programs, redefining rape to limit abortion exceptions, reinstating the global gag rule, supporting crisis pregnancy centers and imposing harsher parental notification laws.

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September 12, 2011 9:53 am ET

Meet The Woman Rep. Bachmann 'Hopes To Be Someday'

GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) recently praised anti-feminist crusader Phyllis Schlafly as her "lifeline to what was happening in the world" when she was "a young bride and a young mother." Calling the woman who says paper diapers did more for women than feminism "the mother of the modern conservative movement," Bachmann insisted Schlafly is "there on every issue, on every front." Schlafly's major claim to fame is her role in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment; today she warns against encroaching socialism as a result of President Obama's policies. A closer look at the woman Bachmann calls "my dear mentor and the person that I hope to be some day" reveals the type of president Bachmann intends to be.

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September 06, 2011 9:59 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 4, 2011

The Labor Day editions of the Sunday political shows featured a would-be president lying about energy policy and a so-called "Tea Party kingmaker" lying about safety net programs. On CBS, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) defended her promise that as president she would bring gas prices below $2 per gallon by claiming that President Obama has put American energy resources "off limits." Actual energy experts have said repeatedly that government policies aren't behind rising gas prices, which were "inevitable" in light of the artificially low prices brought about by the economic collapse. And the statistics don't back up Bachmann's accusations about Obama's policies. Meanwhile, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) told ABC viewers that Social Security is bankrupt (even though it isn't) and claimed on CNN that unemployment benefits don't create jobs (even though they do).

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September 01, 2011 2:00 pm ET

Botch-mann Watch

Long before she entered the presidential race, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was known as an outspoken ideologue with a propensity for making embarrassing misstatements. When Bachmann recently accused President Obama of having "a lot of chutzpah" and mangled the pronunciation, it was fitting because her rendition of Yiddish applied to her own name would result in "Botch-mann" — an apt description of her error-prone ways. Since then, Bachmann has wished Elvis Presley a "happy birthday" on the anniversary of his death and fretted about the rise of the Soviet Union, among other misstatements. Bachmann's gaffes are likely to mount as long as she remains a candidate for the Republican nomination, so Political Correction decided to collect them all in one place. We'll update the list as the race moves forward.  

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August 15, 2011 10:18 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - August 14, 2011

Following Saturday's straw poll in Ames, Iowa, this week's Sunday political talk shows had a whole lot of straw poll winner Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Bachmann was on all five shows misrepresenting the rationale behind Standard & Poor's decision to lower the United States' credit rating and repeating the false claim that no Republicans had been "threatening default." She also pushed the debunked claim that the stimulus caused government to grow while the private sector lost jobs. With Bachmann dominating the bulk of time on all the shows, few others got time to speak, leaving Bachmann the sole focus of this week's fact check.

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June 27, 2011 11:28 am ET

Seriously Extreme: Rep. Bachmann's Journey To GOP Presidential Candidate

Today, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) formally announced that she is seeking the Republican presidential nomination at an event in Iowa. In a field of lackluster candidates, Bachmann is an unabashedly polarizing figure whose statements, agenda, and policy positions are not only often factually inaccurate but are also frequently imbued with extreme, hateful, homophobic and even violent rhetoric. The fact that she is considered a viable representation of the Republican party sends a stark message about the toxicity of the GOP in 2012. Often the Affordable Care Act's most apoplectic opponent, Bachmann has suggested that health care reform will result in "death panels" as well as "school-based sex clinics," and that it could allow a 13-year-old girl can be taken to an abortion clinic during a school day to "have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus that and dad are never the wiser." She has rallied those against the Affordable Care Act to stand together, saying, "What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing." She has used such extreme rhetoric to oppose other policies as well, calling the federal tax code a "weapon of mass destruction" and referring to Wall Street reform as "thuggish." Additionally, Bachmann has proposed eliminating the minimum wage and cutting billions from veterans' benefits. She also voted against a bill providing for 9/11 first responders' health care and then bragged about it, calling it "new spending." Michele Bachmann's increasing legitimacy as a presidential contender speaks volumes about the atmosphere within the Republican party today.

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June 27, 2011 10:39 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - June 26, 2011

The last Sunday of June saw GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) dominate the airwaves, making the rounds on Fox News Sunday and Face the Nation. On both, Bachmann repeated lies about health care reform's effect on jobs and Medicare, sentiments echoed by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on This Week. Bachmann and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) falsely stated that even if the debt ceiling weren't raised, the country would not go into default, something most economists disagree with. On Face The Nation Bachmann falsely called the stimulus a failure and continued to baselessly blame President Obama for high gas prices. Lastly, Sen.  Jon Kyl (R-AZ), fresh off his departure from the debt ceiling talks, was on Fox News Sunday to falsely claim that tax increases would hurt the economy, a claim that the previous decade proves false.

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May 26, 2011 9:37 am ET

Slew Of House Republicans Falsely Claim President Obama Called For Israel To Return To "1967 Borders"

Since his speech on the Middle East last Thursday, President Obama's opponents have falsely attacked him for calling on Israel to return to its "1967 borders." In reality, Obama repeated the ordinary belief that an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace deal should result in two states with secure borders "based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps," which will allow Israel to retain large settlements in the West Bank. Addressing the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the president explained very clearly that his original statement meant that the final border negotiated between the parties "will be different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967." However, that hasn't stopped many House Republicans from perpetuating a smear against Obama for something he never actually said.

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May 02, 2011 10:03 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - May 1, 2011

Hours before President Obama announced U.S. Special Forces had killed Osama bin Laden, more pedestrian and partisan news ruled the Sunday morning airwaves. On Fox, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) falsely blamed $4 trillion of debt on President Obama and then incorrectly claimed that failing to raise the debt ceiling wouldn't be a big deal. On ABC, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) tried to defend his budget by claiming people don't like it because there is "misinformation" swirling around and not because it dismantles the social safety net. Elsewhere on Sunday, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) each claimed that the U.S. needs a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, an idea rejected by experts on both sides of the aisle. And on NBC, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) dishonestly claimed that the Ryan Budget would increase funding to Medicare, while criticizing the Affordable Care Act for cutting Medicare, a claim which is also untrue.

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April 28, 2011 9:46 am ET

Despite Republican Claims, President Obama Has Not Loaned Money To Brazil For Oil Production

Two years ago, the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed complaining about President Obama's decision to "finance oil exploration off Brazil." Although the article noted that it was only a "preliminary commitment," conservatives expressed outrage over Obama's supposed decision to finance drilling in Brazil and not at home instead. The issue resurfaced when gas prices spiked in March, prompting a round of attacks against the president. In reality, however, President Obama has not financed drilling in Brazil. The loan given was issued to Brazil by The Export Import Bank, an independent, non-taxpayer funded organization, and requires that the money be used to purchase American products, stimulating America's economy and creating American jobs.

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March 15, 2011 11:07 am ET

Rep. Bachmann's Biggest Blunders

Thanks to her charged rhetoric and enthusiastic embrace of the Tea Party mantle, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has become such a political star that she's now considered a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination. However, in addition to her over-the-top criticism of President Obama, Bachmann has a long record of blatantly untrue statements that go far beyond the standard partisan talking points. From abortion clinics and death panels to slavery and the American Revolution, Bachmann just can't seem to get her facts straight. Political Correction has compiled some of Bachmann's biggest blunders below. 

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March 07, 2011 10:06 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - March 6, 2011

For the first time in weeks, the Sunday political shows didn't touch on GOP union-busting efforts in Wisconsin and elsewhere, choosing instead to focus on national economic issues. That meant a series of tired talking points from familiar Republican faces. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) implied Democrats have raised taxes, when in fact they've cut taxes by hundreds of billions. Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) ignored economic growth and 1.5 million new private sector jobs in the past year to attack President Obama's economic policies. Bachmann also misled NBC viewers about the Affordable Care Act and the partisan nature of the Tea Party. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claimed the administration has protected government workers at the expense of private sector jobs. On less familiar topics, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) dishonestly insisted American Muslims don't cooperate with law enforcement despite much evidence to the contrary, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) foolishly claimed that Apple electronics are manufactured in America. Somebody should tell that to the Chinese factory workers who built your iPhone.

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January 25, 2011 11:45 pm ET

Fact Checking Rep. Bachmann's "Tea Party Response" To The State Of The Union

Insisting that she was not upstaging the official GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) offered a combative and highly misleading speech of her own following the president's address. In her "Tea Party Response," Bachmann repeated a litany of false right-wing talking points about everything from the Recovery Act and job losses to the debt and "16,500 IRS agents."

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January 25, 2011 7:06 pm ET

The Other State Of The Union Responder: The Best (Or Worst) Of Rep. Michele Bachmann

Although House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is delivering the official GOP response to the State of the Union tonight, Tea Party Caucus founder Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is also delivering a separate, competing address. Many Republicans have publicly approved of Bachmann's speech, but they might want to think twice about elevating her voice. Indeed, Bachmann has a long record of using overheated rhetoric, embracing conspiracy theories, and offering bizarre policy proposals.

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January 07, 2011 11:11 am ET

Rep. Bachmann Trots Out Chart Blaming Obama For Bush's Debt

On several television programs over the last few days, including NBC's Today Show and Fox News' Hannity and On the Record, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has brought out a chart purporting to show that the deficit has exploded as a result of President Obama's policies. While the deficit is indeed higher under the Obama administration than it was during the Bush administration, that's an effect of a global recession and of Bush-era policies like the Bush tax cuts and the war in Iraq.

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January 03, 2011 9:55 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - January 2, 2011

The first Sunday political shows of 2011 continued the grand tradition of conservatives casually tossing off fact-free, up-is-down talking points in order to demonize Democrats. On CNN, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) brazenly claimed the Recovery Act didn't actually create any jobs, and the Affordable Care Act didn't really reform the health care system. On Fox News, anti-tax Senator-elect Mike Lee (R-UT) was chagrined that cutting taxes by $800 billion over the next two years will cost approximately $800 billion. In a similarly fact-averse appearance on CBS, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act is increasing health care costs. Meanwhile on NBC, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) claimed that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the sub-prime mortgage meltdown that sabotaged the economy in 2007. That's a more complicated issue, but even experts who despise Fannie and Freddie say that private lenders, and not the government-backed mortgage giants, are responsible for the bad-mortgage bubble.

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November 30, 2010 2:34 pm ET

Bachmann Twists The Truth About Federal Pay Levels

On America's Newsroom, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) argued for a federal pay freeze, justifying her position by claiming that federal employees' salaries are double the salaries of their private sector counterparts. However, this comparison is not accurate. A larger number of jobs in the federal government require high levels of education and experience, and thus command higher salaries. When education and experience are taken into account, the federal-private pay gap disappears. 

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November 23, 2010 5:49 pm ET

Republican Criticism Of Quantitative Easing Impedes Economic Growth

One of the many policies Republicans have attacked of late is that of quantitative easing (QE) — a monetary policy used by central banks, such as the Federal Reserve, to increase the money supply by increasing excess reserves. QE is often used as a policy of last resort when normal methods of monetary expansion are no longer effective as a result of near-zero interest rates. Since the onset of the economic crisis, the Fed has introduced two rounds of quantitative easing, as economic growth remains sluggish. Republicans have repeatedly voiced their opposition to the policy, stoking fears of long-term inflation that will stunt economic growth. In doing so, they have effectively manipulated the market's reaction to the policy, thereby preventing potential benefits from taking effect. Moreover, Republican skepticism ignores the belief of many economists that monetary easing is integral to supporting economic growth and limiting the risk of deflation. 

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October 14, 2010 6:47 pm ET

The Real Republican Pledge To America

The Republicans' real agenda can be found in the positions of their candidates. Republican candidates for federal and statewide office have publicly taken all of the positions listed below.  Herein lies the real Republican pledge to America.

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April 12, 2010 11:49 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - April 11, 2010

Sunday's political talk shows focused squarely on the newest opening on the Supreme Court, but guests also discussed the Nuclear Posture Review and its impact on foreign policy. Sen. Lamar Alexander appeared on Fox News Sunday to continue the Republican misrepresentation of President Obama's criteria for Supreme Court nominees, ignoring the fact that "empathy" has been seen in the past as a qualification for the high court by Republicans and Democrats alike. Later, Sen. Alexander claimed that last week's Nuclear Posture Review "takes away the ambiguity about our use of nuclear power" and implied it will prevent America from using nuclear weapons against Iran and North Korea. Neither statement is true. Finally, Rep. Michele Bachmann used her appearance on Fox News Sunday to repeat her misleading claim that the health care reform package passed last month is a "government takeover" of the medical and student loan industries.

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March 29, 2010 9:56 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - March 28, 2010

On yesterday's political talk shows, Sen. Jim DeMint and Rep. Michele Bachmann used their respective appearances on Face the Nation not only to continue spreading misinformation about health care reform but to also distance themselves from recent violence from the Tea Party movement.

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March 04, 2010 11:56 am ET

Rep. Bachmann Accuses Obama Of Trading Judicial Nomination For Health Care Support

During an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live" last night, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) accused President Obama of trading judicial nominations for votes in favor of health care reform. Specifically, Bachmann suggested that Obama nominated Rep. Jim Matheson's (D-UT) brother to the U.S. Court of Appeals in order to win the congressman's support for reform.  However, Bachmann's allegation is undermined by the fact that prominent conservatives from Utah have praised the nomination.

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February 23, 2010 10:37 am ET

Rep. Bachmann Repeats Lie, Claims Health Reform Will Kill Jobs

During a February 22, 2010 floor speech, Rep. Michele Bachmann falsely claimed President Obama economic adviser Christina Romer stated that health care reform would kill 5.5 million American jobs. In reality, Romer never said such a thing.  Data shows health care reform would create up to 400,000 jobs AND reduce the deficit.

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