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Fact Checking the Fifth Republican Debate

Republican presidential candidates spewed statistics and positions throughout the two-hour debate Tuesday night. Not everything that they said is true.
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Republican presidential candidates spewed statistics and positions throughout the two-hour debate Tuesday night, but not everything that they said was true.

NBC News’ partner Politifact highlights some of those statements.

Fact check 1. Rand Paul says Marco Rubio "is the one for an open border."

Paul tried to hit Rubio’s vulnerable spot: immigration. Rubio was a leader in the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill and as part of that Paul said Rubio “is the one for an open border that is leaving us defenseless.”

Fact check 2. Jeb Bush said: “Two months ago Donald Trump said that ISIS was not our fight."

Trump responded, “Never said that.”

Who’s right? Jeb Bush.

Fact check 3. Ted Cruz said the head of the FBI “told Congress they cannot vet those (Syrian) refugees.”

Cruz is conflating scenarios. James Comey never said the FBI couldn’t vet the 10,000 Syrian refugees allowed admittance into the U.S. Comey said he couldn’t personally certify each refugee.

Fact check 4. Carly Fiorina said top military officials, including Gen. David Petraeus, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Gen John Keane, Gen. James Mattis, and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn retired because “they told President Obama things that he didn’t want to hear.”

Politifact says Fiorina “is on solid ground with only two of her examples" but Obama involvement “is not proven.”

Fact check 5: Rubio said Cruz “legalizing people who are in this country illegally.”

Cruz has never supported citizenship for people in living in the U.S. illegally. As for giving them legal status, Politifact looks at an amendment he offered to the Senate’s comprehensive bill that gave undocumented residents legal status, which they say “appeared to be a legislative tactic.”

Ruling: Mostly False

Fact check 6: Cruz’s description of “carpet bombing” ISIS

Cruz said, "You would carpet bomb where ISIS is -- not a city, but the location of the troops. You use air power directed -- and you have embedded special forces to direction the air power. But the object isn't to level a city. The object is to kill the ISIS terrorists."

Politifact noticed that Cruz used the word carpet bomb, which means indiscriminate, but then described the exact opposite of what carpet bombing is by saying he would target “the location of the troops.”

Ruling: False