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Fact check

Are Carly Fiorina’s claims about female job losses true?

Top moments from the Republican presidential debate
Republicans will remember the media’s role in Wednesday’s CNBC presidential debate more than anything that might change the direction of the Republican contest.

If Carly Fiorina’s claim that 92 percent of job losses during President Obama’s first term came from women sounded familiar, it’s because Mitt Romney made the same assertion in 2012. And just like when Romney said it three-and-a-half years ago, the statement appears to be misleading.

The former Hewlett Packard CEO delivered the line in response to a question from CNBC moderator Becky Quick about the gender pay gap during Wednesday night’s Republican primary debate.

“Becky, it is the height of hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to talk about being the first woman president when every single policy she espouses and every single policy of President Obama has been demonstrably bad for women,” Fiorina said during the debate. “Ninety-two percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women.”


The “92 percent” statistic was reviewed “mostly false” by Politifact a few days after Mitt Romney used it in 2012.

Politifact explained that although the numbers the campaign cited were accurate, the reading of them was not:

“First, Obama cannot be held entirely accountable for the employment picture on the day he took office, just as he could not be given credit if times had been booming. Second, by choosing figures from January 2009, months into the recession, the statement ignored the millions of jobs lost before then, when most of the job loss fell on men,” Politifact said.

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein also weighed in on the job loss claim in 2012, arguing the recession was actually harder on men.

“The crisis began in industries that men dominate, like construction and manufacturing. That was where we saw the bulk of the job losses,” Klein wrote.

It’s not the first time Fiorina has been questioned about claims she made during a debate. During the candidates’ second meeting in September, Fiorina said controversial Planned Parenthood videos showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”


She was challenged on the claim by FactCheck.org, Politifact, and others.

Fiorina wasn’t alone in making dubious assertions during Wednesday’s debate. The Associated Press reports Donald Trump, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and George Pataki all made exaggerated or false claims during Wednesday’s forum.