Santorum's shot from the hip about the Old West goes awry

One-time presidential candidate Rick Santorum asserted that gun crimes were low in the Old West because people had the right to carry guns. He actually has the story backward.

"Carrying of guns within the city limits of a frontier town was generally prohibited. Laws barring people from carrying weapons were commonplace, from Dodge City to Tombstone," said professor Adam Winkler, a at UCLA's School of Law.

The result was that, by contemporary standards, gun homicides were relatively rare. In cattle towns such as Tombstone or Dodge City, the average number of homicides was only 1.5 or 2 a year. In towns without such limits, the murder rate (or, as Santorum put it, "gun crimes") was significantly higher.

Cheney misses this time

In an interview on Fox News, former Vice President Dick Cheney went too far with his claim that President Barack Obama "has stated repeatedly the terrorist threat is gone." Obama has declared al-Qaida to be "on the run," "decimated" and "on their heels" - all phrases used by Cheney or, President George W. Bush, to describe al-Qaida. But Obama and Bush typically followed up those declarations with warnings that terrorism remains a threat, not only from al-Qaida but its affiliates and other extremists.

Factcheck found no evidence of Obama saying the threat of terrorism is "gone"- let alone "repeatedly" saying it. Obama warned in his speech announcing the killing of Osama bin Laden, that the U.S. needs to "remain vigilant" because "al-Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us."

Hits and misses in 'Hard Choices'

Politifact has checked parts of Hard Choices, Clinton's memoir of her time as Secretary of State. Clinton correctly wrote, "the U.S. military footprint in Africa is nearly nonexistent."

There is a military presence in Africa, but it's limited to one base with little combat infrastructure, and it's commanded from a location that is not even located on the continent in response Republican criticism of the administrations response to the Benghazi incident.

Clinton said that "dozens of senior terrorists had been taken off the battlefield" by drones. While it's difficult to find a definitive number just using publicly available evidence, even a conservative estimate using credible accounts is enough to rate her claim True.

Hillary Clinton said she and Bill were in debt and dead broke when they left the White House. The public record shows that they possibly had more liabilities than assets, but it doesn't show that conclusively.

More important, a balance sheet does not tell the full story, and the experts Politifact reached said the Clintons' earning potential had a real economic value that the financial sector traditionally acknowledges and is willing to bank on. Politifact rates her claim Mostly False.

Coal fires EPA debate

Sen. Mitch McConnell said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy "conceded that a war on coal is quote 'exactly what it is.'" The EPA administrator said a war on coal is quote "exactly what this is." McCarthy conversation was "Bill Maher: Last week (the administration) announced, I think it was called the 'Clean Power Program.' Some people called it a war on coal. I hope it is a war on coal. Is it? McCarthy: Actually, EPA is all about fighting against pollution and fighting for public health. That's exactly what this is."McCarthy certainly would have made things easier with a declarative "no."

The failure to say those words let people interpret her comments as they wanted. While her remarks are open to interpretation, McConnell (and others) were too quick to assume the most extreme interpretation.

Now that she has firmly denied it, yet again, this so-called gaffe should be relegated to the dustbin of history.

Chip Tuthill lives in Mancos. Websites used: www.politifact.com