To all the policy wonks tuning in to the start of Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate looking for robust discussions of Medicare for All, income inequality, or criminal justice policy, sorry.

Factual claims were often obstructed over shouting, cross-talk, and scripted soundbites from the seven candidates in Charleston, S.C.

But the facts — or fact-checks — became clearer as the two-hour debate wore on. Sen. Amy Klobuchar even asked for a fact-check live from the stage.

Klobuchar and Biden on domestic violence

“You didn’t write that bill. I wrote that bill. … We’ll have a fact-check look at this.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.)
“I wrote the bill, the Violence Against Women Act. … Let’s look at the fact-check.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden

Our verdict? Klobuchar and Biden were talking past each other and about different bills they wrote to protect women against violent crime.

Klobuchar said she authored a bill "to close the boyfriend loophole that says that domestic abusers can't go out and get an AK-47."

Biden interjected, "I wrote that law." Klobuchar dismissed him, saying she was the one who wrote it. But Biden said that he wrote the Violence Against Women Act, that the "boyfriend loophole" was not covered, and that Klobuchar was working on that: "I couldn’t get that covered. You in fact as a senator tried to get it covered and Mitch McConnell is holding it up on his desk right now."

Klobuchar in January 2019 introduced a bill "to protect victims of stalking from gun violence." In a news release, Klobuchar said her proposal would help close what’s known as the "boyfriend loophole" and prevent people who have abused dating partners from buying or owning firearms.

As we have reported, the gun prohibition in federal law does not apply to a boyfriend who is or was simply dating the victim, but not sharing a residence or children. But it does apply to boyfriends who have a child in common with the domestic-violence victim; live or lived with the victim; or who are “similarly situated to a spouse.”

For his part, Biden championed the Violence Against Women Act as a Democratic senator from Delaware in 1994. The act increased funding and provided additional legal tools for combating violent crimes committed against women.

Biden on Sanders and Obama’s reelection

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) “said we should primary Barack Obama [in 2012] — someone should.”

In 2011, Sanders publicly suggested that a primary challenge to Obama would be a positive development.

In March 2011 on WNYC radio, Sanders said: “I think, you know, if a Democrat, a progressive Democrat, wants to run, I think it would enliven the debate, raise some issues, and people have a right to do that. I’ve been asked whether I am going to be doing that, and I’m not. I don’t know who is, but in a democracy, it’s not a bad idea to have different voices out there.”

Then, in July 2011, Sanders appeared on the progressive radio show hosted by Thom Hartmann and criticized Obama’s willingness to compromise with Republicans on deficit reduction.

"My suggestion is, I think, you know, one of the reasons the president has been able to move so far to the right is that there is no primary opposition to him," Sanders said to a caller. "And I think it would do this country a good deal of service if people started thinking about candidates out there to begin contrasting what is a progressive agenda, as opposed to what Obama is doing."

Asked by a caller to Hartmann’s show whether he was encouraging anyone specifically to run, Sanders said: “At this point I have not. But I am now giving thought to doing it.”

Warren on Bloomberg’s record with women

“At least I didn’t have a boss who said to me, ‘kill it,’ the way that Mayor Bloomberg is alleged to have said to one of his pregnant employees.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.)

We can’t independently confirm this. Warren is referring to news reports that say a former saleswoman sued Mike Bloomberg alleging workplace discrimination in the 1990s. The woman, who was pregnant, claimed Bloomberg told her to “kill it” after he found out that she was pregnant.

Bloomberg during the debate, and before it, has denied the allegation. “I never said it, period. End of story,” the former New York mayor said on stage. The case ended in a confidential financial settlement.

Biden on Sanders and gun control

“150 million people have been killed since 2007 when Bernie voted to exempt the gun manufacturers from liability.”

This is wrong. Biden’s team said he misspoke.

Reports on firearm deaths gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 413,403 deaths between 2007 and 2018. That is all deaths related to firearms, both intentional and accidental fatalities. Biden’s press team said he meant to say 150,000, the number of firearm homicides. That number checks out with the CDC data.

Steyer on reparations

“I believe I’m the only person on this stage who believes in reparations for slavery.”
Tom Steyer

That’s inaccurate. Other candidates on stage, like Steyer, support studying reparations. The senators on stage — Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren — cosponsored a bill to establish a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans.

The Washington Post sent the Democratic candidates questionnaires asking where they stood on issues, including reparations. Biden and Pete Buttigieg, like the senators, said they support studying the issue.

Bloomberg did not answer the Post's question. But in January, the Post separately reported that Bloomberg’s campaign said he supports studying the concept of federal reparations.

As for Steyer, he said it was uncertain what form a reparations program would take, who would benefit from it, or how it would be paid for. But he supported creating a Slavery Reconciliation Commission “to analyze the lasting effects of slavery and how to provide redress for the centuries of oppression, rape, torture, and murder inflicted upon generations of African Americans.”

Biden on CDC funding

President Donald Trump “cut the funding for CDC.”

Trump has consistently proposed funding cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Congress has consistently overruled him.

Because the comment came during a discussion of the United States’ preparedness for emerging global infections like the new coronavirus, COVID-19, we looked at the budgets for emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases at CDC, rather than for the CDC as a whole.

The Trump administration’s initial budget proposal has consistently been lower than what was spent the previous year. The administration proposed $61.7 million less in 2018 than 2017; $96.4 million less in 2019 than in 2018; $114.4 million less in 2020 than in 2019; and $85.3 million less in 2021 than 2020.

However, Congress usually treats any president’s budget proposal as an opening volley, with lawmakers reshaping the federal budget as they see fit when they craft final spending bills.

Every year since Trump has been president, lawmakers have passed bills — bills that were eventually signed by the president — that not only exceeded what Trump had asked for on emerging infections but also exceeded what had been spent the previous year. Funding increased every year from fiscal year 2017 to fiscal year 2020.

Trump asked Congress this week for a $2.5 billion supplemental budget to help combat the emergence of this coronavirus. House Democrats quickly said the amount was insufficient to meet current threats.

PolitiFact is a nonpartisan, fact-checking website operated by the nonprofit Poynter Institute for Media Studies.