Statement: “Soy … el único official estatal quién es un hombre de negocios.”
That’s Spanish for “I am … the only state official who is a businessman” — a phrase uttered often by the lieutenant governor, including in a recent interview in Spanish. Dewhurst’s camp said he was referring to the other five statewide elected executive officeholders. But even under that narrow definition, Dewhurst’s claim falls short: Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples describes himself as a businessman, too, having started and owned a real-estate firm, being part owner of a plant nursery and running a cattle-raising operation. And we think it’s reasonable to consider members of the Legislature to be state officials as well; dozens of them come from the business world. In any language, this one doesn’t hold up.
Statement: According to an article in the Economist magazine, Americans are “guaranteed” to live above the poverty line if they graduate from high school, keep their first job for over a year and get and stay married.
The Railroad Commission chairman and candidate for attorney general made this statement in a speech to the Texas Alliance for Life. We didn’t pinpoint exactly what Smitherman saw in the Economist. But we did find some research supporting most, but not all, of his points — for instance, that having a full-time job or graduating from high school significantly reduces one’s likelihood of living in poverty. But the authors of that research said the economy would need to be strong for their hypothetical to fully work; that is, no roaring economy, no guarantee.
Statement: The unemployment rate in Texas has risen over two percentage points with Rick Perry as governor.
This statement by the New Jersey Democratic Party chairman is based on an accurate statistic. The unemployment rate in Texas was 4.2 percent just after Perry took office in late 2000 and is 6.5 percent now. But that’s a simplistic and misleading approach. First, the national economic woes are a more likely culprit than Perry for Texas’ unemployment rate increase. Texas’ unemployment rate has been in better shape than the national rate for six years. Also, we noted that the Texas rate has gone up and down several times during Perry’s tenure; it hasn’t just increased, as Currie implied.