Truth Check: Hickenlooper ad claims Gardner has been on vacation

Truth Check

DENVER (KDVR) — The Truth Check team continues to look at the candidates and their commercials in the 2020 election. Every advertisement that claims something — we will research and determine if the ads are actually telling the truth.

You can watch our previous “Truth Check” segments here and you can read our criteria and standards here.

The latest Truth Check involves the highly competitive race for one of Colorado’s United States Senate seats. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper is challenging incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner, who’s defending the seat for the first time.

Hickenlooper’s latest ad takes on a different tone and criticizes Gardner and Washington politics, in general.

CLAIM #1 

Sen. Cory Gardner has been on vacation for a month

Exact quote in ad: “Cory Gardner’s on vacation for a month”

Verdict: Misleading

Reason: The Senate is in its August recess for about a month. But that does not necessarily mean Gardner is spending the whole time fishing. He does have a new ad that shows him fishing and he has been campaigning. But Gardner has also been working as a senator. He has been all over Colorado, from the Pine Gulch Fire near Grand Junction to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden. And Gardner said he has been on numerous calls with Republican leadership about a new COVID-19 stimulus bill.

CLAIM #2

Since the August recess began, Congress has not passed bills that give help the unemployed, expand COVID-19 testing or help ranchers and small businesses

Exact quote in ad: “No relief passed for the unemployed. No expansion of COVID testing. No more help for struggling ranchers and small businesses.”

Verdict: True

Reason: Truth Check is looking at the claim in the context of the ad – that during the August recess, Congress has not passed any bills that address unemployment, COVID-19 testing or help ranchers and small businesses. This is true for both Republicans and Democrats and in the House of Representatives and Senate. (The House was recalled and passed a bill to help the Postal Service.) That said, Gardner challenged Senate leadership back in May when it came to a recess:

Gardner also voted for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. And since the pandemic started, Gardner has helped Colorado secure hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 tests, masks and more.

CLAIM #3

Gardner has not talked about what the ad claims are President Trump’s failures regarding COVID-19

Exact quote in ad: “Cory Gardner is on vacation. Still silent about Donald Trump’s failures on COVID.”

Verdict: ???

Reason: Truth Check cannot fairly evaluate this claim, because it’s not for the Problem Solvers to say what is and is not a failure on COVID. For perspective, in May and July CNN asked Gardner if he had confidence in the president’s response to the coronavirus. Gardner did not give a yes or no answer. One time he said, “what we have to do, is do better.” But in April, Gardner was critical of the federal government. He wrote to the inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department and demanded an investigation into the reported mismanagement of ventilators.

CLAIM #4

When Hickenlooper was governor after the Great Recession, he made Colorado the No. 1 economy in the country

Exact quote in ad: “When John Hickenlooper faced an economic crisis, he made Colorado the No. 1 economy in the country.”

Verdict: True

Reason: After the Great Recession, Colorado ended up having the No. 1 economy in the country in 20172018 and 2019, according to U.S. News and World Report. How much Hickenlooper did to help Colorado’s economy grow can be debated. However, this much is true: Colorado’s unemployment rate plummeted, from 8.8 percent to 3.2 percent, while Hickenlooper was in office. During that time, the state eliminated or streamlined 11,000 business regulations. However, other publications said Colorado’s economy was good, but not that good. For example, WalletHub ranked the economy as fifth in the U.S. From 2016 to 2018, Colorado’s real Gross Domestic Product growth ranked third to 13th.

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