Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands and signs autographs during a rally at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Thursday, April 28, 2016 Wally Skalij Los Angeles Times
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands and signs autographs during a rally at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Thursday, April 28, 2016 Wally Skalij Los Angeles Times

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Capitol Alert

Were they lying? Fact-checking the California GOP convention

By David Siders and Christopher Cadelago

dsiders@sacbee.com

May 01, 2016 11:59 AM

UPDATED May 02, 2016 12:09 PM

PoliGRAPH is The Bee’s political fact checker, rating campaign advertisements and candidate claims as True, Iffy or False.

The Republican presidential candidates addressed California Republicans at their convention in Burlingame over the weekend. The Sacramento Bee’s David Siders and Christopher Cadelago analyze some of their claims.

Donald Trump’s big crowd

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Trump’s claim: Trump, the Republican frontrunner, said repeatedly last week that 31,000 people attended his rally on Thursday at Pacific Amphitheatre in Orange County, while criticizing the media for failing, in his view, to accurately describe attendance at his events.

Analysis: The venue on Thursday was packed, but it does not have the ability to hold anywhere near 31,000 people. Management lists capacity at 8,200 seats.

The amphitheater used to offer lawn seating, as well. But there were no crowds on the grass on Thursday, and a spokeswoman confirmed the venue no longer offers seating on the lawn.

Ted Cruz’s ‘Californian’ running mate

Cruz’s claim: Speaking to delegates on Saturday, Sen. Ted Cruz said Carly Fiorina, his newly announced running mate, will be “the first Californian on a national ticket since Ronald Reagan.”

Analysis: Though born in Austin, Texas, Fiorina has longstanding ties to California. Not only was she chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co., but she attended Stanford University as an undergraduate student.

But Fiorina is not a Californian. She moved from California to Mason Neck, Va., outside Washington, D.C., after losing the U.S. Senate race in 2010.

Kasich overstates tax-cutting claim

Kasich’s claim: “We’ve cut taxes on businesses and individuals, and we’re running a surplus.”

Analysis: His answer lacked some important qualifiers. Kasich, the Ohio governor, cut the personal income tax, created an earned-income tax credit, and ended the estate tax, according to a nonpartisan analysis. But he also raised the sales tax and boosted the tax on cigarettes.

Trump’s tall tale of bullets and pig blood

Trump’s claim: Speaking at a rally Thursday in Costa Mesa, Trump retold the story of Gen. John Pershing, whom he described as ruthless, solving a problem of “radical Islamic terrorism” in the Philippines by rounding up 50 suspected terrorists and shooting 49 of them with bullets dipped in the blood of pigs.

“The 50th person, they said, ‘Take this bullet and bring it back to all of the people causing the problem and tell them what happened tonight’ ... and for 42 years they didn’t have a problem with radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said.

Analysis: The story of Pershing is not true and has been debunked by experts since Trump first began telling it at campaign rallies.

Snopes, a website dedicated to myth-busting, concluded: “We haven’t yet found any references to this alleged incident in Pershing biographies, however, nor does it match the way Pershing is generally recorded as having dealt with the Moros in 1911.”

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders