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FactCheck: Romney's RNC Speech



    FactCheck: Romney's RNC Speech

    FactCheck.org's Deputy Managing Editor Robert Farley takes a closer look at Mitt Romney's speech at the Republican National Convention. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012)

    This report is based on work by our partners at FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan project of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.

    It's a theme heard at both political conventions, and a question that will be asked repeated until Americans cast their votes in November: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

    "This president can tell us it was someone else's fault," Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said at the Republican National Convention. "This president can tell us that the next four years he'll get it right. But this president cannot tell us that you're better off today than when he took office."

    As Romney took center stage at last week's RNC, he made some claims about how life in America has changed for the worse under President Barack Obama's leadership. Our partners at FactCheck.org found some of those claims a bit exaggerated.

    Romney's statement: "In the richest country in the history of the world, this Obama economy has crushed the middle class. Family income has fallen by $4,000 ..."

    FactCheck.org's Deputy Editor Robert Farley: "That's a statistic that begins at the start of the recession in December 2007. That's 13 months before Obama took office. So a portion of that didn't happen while he was president."

    Romney continued to point out how the Obama Administration has hurt your wallet.

    Romney: "...But health insurance premiums are higher, food prices are higher, utility bills are higher, and gasoline prices have doubled."

    FactCheck.org's Farley: "It's true that gas prices have doubled. They were about $1.89 when Obama took office. And they're about $3.84 last week. That $1.89 price was significantly depressed, unusually depressed, because of the recession and financial crisis."

    Back in 2008, that average price -- for all grades of gasoline -- was over $4 a gallon for seven weeks. It bounced back to that level for three weeks last year, but hasn't been that high since.

    Here's what Romney had to say at the RNC about the state of poverty in the U.S.

    Romney: "Today more Americans wake up in poverty than ever before. Nearly one out of six Americans is living in poverty. Look around you. These are not strangers. These are our brothers and sisters, our fellow Americans."

    Putting this into context, the number of people in poverty is very high at 46 million. But there are also more Americans.

    Farley: "The more relevant data is the poverty rate. And the poverty rate of 15.1% -- that's high -- but it's certainly not the highest ever."

    In fact, the rate was seven points higher in 1959, when the government started keeping track.

    Our partners at FactCheck are closely monitoring this week's Democratic National Convention, and we will bring you a full report on the accuracy of President Obama's speech.

    For more of FactCheck's analysis of Romney's RNC speech, click here.