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PolitiFact Fl. On Marco Rubio's Stance On Cap And Trade; And Fatal Dentistry?

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Sen. Marco Rubio during the last Iowa debate in Des Moines on Jan. 28

What's Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's stance on cap and trade - and has it changed over the years? Rubio says no, but some of his opponents aren't so sure. To do some fact-checking on that claim - and whether a lack of dentistry can prove fatal - WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Katie Sanders of PolitiFact Florida.

During last week's presidential debate in Iowa, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was asked about his record on cap and trade. That would create an economic incentive for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Fox News moderator Bret Baier said Rubio had "wanted Florida to get ahead of other states and establish a cap-and-trade system" while he was House speaker in 2008, and asked why Rubio had changed his mind.

Rubio denied he backed a popular plan supported by then-Gov. Charlie Crist, claiming he was looking to insulate Florida from restrictions a future president might impose.

"I have never supported cap and trade, and I never thought it was a good idea, and I was clear about that at the time," Rubio said.

Here's PolitiFact Florida's ruling on that: 


Crist used a portion of this clip during his 2010 Senate primary campaign against Rubio in an attempt to show Rubio favored a cap-and-trade program. WFSU, which operates The Florida Channel covering state government, demanded Crist stop using footage of the show because of a law barring use of its footage in political campaigns. This limited portion of the show has been resurrected online during the presidential primary, leading some conservative sites to question Rubio’s stance on the issue. But wait, as they say, there’s more. Rubio’s campaign had complained the clip was out of context, and it appears it really was. They have pointed to a longer edit of the footage that shows Rubio going on to say: Our Ruling: Rubio said, "I have never supported cap and trade." As House speaker in Florida, Rubio did preside over the unanimous passage of an energy bill that allowed the state to develop a cap-and-trade plan for electric utility emissions. But it appears his comments on the bill have been taken out of context, and that there may have been some legislative craftiness afoot. Rubio said he wanted Florida to cook up a plan of its own before federal regulations were imposed on the state. He also voiced opposition to government mandates and inserted a roadblock to letting any plan actually be implemented, details that get left out when Rubio is accused of supporting the measure. He now is much more vocal in his opposition of cap and trade, but it looks as if he has always favored a largely hands-off approach from government. We rate Rubio’s statement Mostly True.

Next up, recently, State Rep. John Cortes, D-Kissimmee,  made a claim about the consequences of poor dental care. That came up during debate on a bill that would change the rules for Medicaid coverage.

Did he really say "Anyone can die of a toothache?"

Here's PolitFact Florida's ruling:


"Yes, it is possible to die from complications with an infected tooth," Thomas Porter, a faculty member at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, told PolitiFact Florida. "Every year there are cases where the patient did not receive appropriate and timely treatment of an infected tooth. In most cases, the infected tooth starts as a localized site with pain and infection." Obviously you’re not going to die of the physical pain, but these problems can start from some form of periodontal issue or, as is most often the case, cavities. The decay leads to abscesses, which are usually infections between the tooth and the gums. "Not treated, the problem progresses and the patient becomes septic, which can lead to death," Porter said. Our ruling Cortes said, "Anyone can die of a toothache." It’s not so much that you’ll die of pain, of course, but dentists and research confirm that an untreated abscess can infect other parts of the body, either through the bones or the bloodstream. Most people won’t die from a toothache, but it’s a condition that if left untreated can lead to the worst: a fatal result. We rate the statement True.


Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.