AP FACT CHECK: Glossed-over realities in Democratic debate

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The Third Democratic Debate, In Under Two Minutes

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the latest Democratic presidential debate, oversimplification struck again.

Hillary Clinton spoke of fixing "glitches" in President Barack Obama's health care law to address rising costs, skimming over deeper issues on matters of affordability and the Affordable Care Act. And in education, fancy dorms and football stadiums aren't the big reason for higher college costs, as Bernie Sanders suggested.

A look at some of the statements Saturday night and how they compare with the facts:

CLINTON on rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs for the privately insured after enactment of Obama's health care law: "I would certainly build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and work to fix some of the glitches."

SANDERS on his proposed single-payer health care system: "The average middle-class family will be saving thousands of dollars a year."

THE FACTS: Obama's law was mainly about expanding coverage for the uninsured, and even former officials of his administration say major work still has to be done on cost control. In other words, rising costs are more than "glitches."

For more on the debate, scroll through the gallery below:

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12/19/2015: Third Democratic Debate
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AP FACT CHECK: Glossed-over realities in Democratic debate
MANCHESTER, NH - DECEMBER 19: Democratic president candidate Bernie Sanders takes the stage at the democratic debate at Saint Anselm College December 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. This is the third Democratic debate featuring Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, waves as she arrives to the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US Democratic Presidential hopefuls (L-R) Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley participate in the Democratic Presidential Debate hosted by ABC News at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on December 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders, left, Hillary Clinton, center, and Martin OâMalley, right, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. At the table are debate moderators Martha Raddatz, left, and David Muir, of ABC News. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Martin OâMalley, right, speaks alongside Bernie Sanders, left, and Hillary Clinton, center, during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bernie Sanders speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
US Democratic Presidential hopefuls (L-R) Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley participate in the Democratic Presidential Debate hosted by ABC News at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on December 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders, left, offers an apology to Hillary Clinton during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, arrives to the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US Democratic Presidential hopefuls (L-R) Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley participate in the Democratic Presidential Debate hosted by ABC News at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on December 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hillary Clinton speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, smiles after walking on stage following a break in the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, left, and Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, share a laugh during a break in the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, left, and Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, share a laugh during a break in the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MANCHESTER, NH - DECEMBER 19: Democratic president candidate Bernie Sanders waits as Hillary Clinton walks on stage at Saint Anselm College December 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. This is the third Democratic debate featuring Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - DECEMBER 19: Democratic president candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at the debate at Saint Anselm College December 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. This is the third Democratic debate featuring Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
2016 Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, from left, Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, and Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, participate in the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, right, speaks as Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, listens during the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton smiles as she walks past fellow candidate Bernie Sanders during a break of the Democratic Presidential Debate hosted by ABC News at the Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on December 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Martin OâMalley speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bernie Sanders speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
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One of the health care law's main brakes on costs — a tax on high-value workplace coverage — has been put on hold by the new federal budget deal. Clinton had called for complete repeal of that levy, known as the Cadillac tax. Many economists believe the tax would help keep costs in check by forcing people into leaner insurance plans.

Sanders says his plan for a government-run health care system along the lines of Canada's and Western Europe's would save money for families and taxpayers. But such a major transition would involve winners and losers, as well as new taxes in place of premiums.

When the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office looked at the concept back in the early 1990s, it concluded that a single-payer system had the potential to save money but that wasn't guaranteed. Moreover, individuals would have less freedom to choose their insurance packages, a trade-off that not everyone would accept.

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SANDERS: "The cost of college education is escalating a lot faster than the cost of inflation. There are a lot of factors involved in that. And that is that we have some colleges and universities that are spending a huge amount of money on fancy dormitories and on giant football stadiums."

CLINTON: "States have been disinvesting in higher education ... So states over a period of decades have put their money elsewhere; into prisons, into highways, into things other than higher education."

THE FACTS: Clinton comes closest to diagnosing the problem accurately. College expenses are unsustainably high, but luxurious dorms aren't the big driver that Sanders portrays. Public universities are charging more because they receive less in state government support.

Demos, a left-leaning think tank, said in a May study that the decline in state funding accounted for 79 percent of tuition hikes between 2001 and 2011. Just 6 percent was due to construction costs.

Sanders would make up that lost government money by providing free tuition, paid for with a tax on financial transactions. Clinton would offer federal dollars to encourage states to do more and keep students from having to borrow. It's unclear how either plan would control colleges' costs, though.

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SANDERS, apologizing for his campaign improperly gaining access to Clinton campaign data, raised the possibility that Clinton's campaign may have done the same thing. "I am not convinced that information from our campaign may not have ended up in her campaign," he said.

THE FACTS: Sanders is speculating, at best. There's no evidence so far that Clinton's campaign has accessed Sanders' voter lists.

During a conference call with reporters on Friday, Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, said he could "unequivocally tell you that no member of our staff stole data from theirs." And the contractor that manages the campaign data for the Democratic Party, NGP-VAN, issued a statement Friday saying "our team removed access to the affected data, and determined that only one campaign took actions that could possibly have led to it retaining data to which it should not have had access."

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CLINTON: "Assad has killed 250,000 Syrians."

THE FACTS: Clinton appears to be blaming the entire estimated death toll of the Syrian civil war on just one side: the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Yet no matter how vicious his forces have been, deaths have come at the hands of all sides in the nearly 5-year-old multi-front civil war.

The Syrian conflict began with anti-government protests before spiraling into a war with many groups emerging in opposition to the brutal regime crackdown. Rebels in some of these groups are fighting and killing each other, in some cases with no involvement by Assad-backed troops.

The United Nations has estimated a death toll of 220,000 since 2011; other estimates are higher, and Clinton's figure is roughly in line with them. But the death toll is attributable to all parties, not just to Assad.

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SANDERS: "Middle class in this country for the last 40 years has been disappearing."

THE FACTS: It's no secret that the middle class is struggling. The costs of college, health care and housing continue to rise, while wages have barely budged for two decades. The Pew Research Center reported earlier this month that the majority of Americans are no longer "middle income."

Things are not quite as dire as Sanders suggests.

Pew found the share of Americans that it defines as middle income — a family of three earning $73,392 — has slipped. It's down to 50 percent of households from 61 percent in 1971.

More Americans are low income, but more are also upper income. "The closer look at the shift out of the middle reveals that a deeper polarization is under way in the American economy," Pew concluded.

Pew defines the median upper income as starting at $174,625 — a lot of money, but hardly the billionaire class attacked by Sanders.

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SANDERS: "One of the heroes who we should recognize in the Middle East is King Abdul II of Jordan. This small country has welcomed in many refugees."

THE FACTS: With each new debate, the presidential candidates come closer to getting the Jordanian king's name right.

Among Republican and Democratic contenders alike, King Abdullah II is considered an important figure in the struggle for stability in the Middle East. But darned if they can nail down his name.

Sanders said Abdul instead of Abdullah. Invoking the king again, he mumbled the name.

Still, that was an improvement from the Republican debate earlier in the week, when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vowed: "When I stand across from King Hussein of Jordan and I say to him, 'You have a friend again sir, who will stand with you to fight this fight,' he'll change his mind."

King Hussein died in 1999.

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For more from the previous debates, scroll through the gallery below:

26 PHOTOS
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton duking it out during Democratic debates
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AP FACT CHECK: Glossed-over realities in Democratic debate
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton interrupt each other during the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton argues a point as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Michigan-Flint, Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Flint, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton makes a point as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, reatcs during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 11: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and Hillary Clinton participate in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for February 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gestures towards Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, left, speaks at the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. To the right is Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speak during a break at the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
DURHAM, NH - FEBRUARY 04: Democratic presidential candidates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during their MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire on February 4, 2016 in Durham, New Hampshire. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the New Hampshire primaries. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton, right, speaks to Bernie Sanders during a break at the Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bernie Sanders, left, offers an apology to Hillary Clinton during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bernie Sanders, left, speaks to Hillary Clinton after a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bernie Sanders, left, makes a point as Hillary Rodham Clinton listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, walks by Bernie Sanders during a commercial break at a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2015, file photo, Bernie Sanders makes a point during a Democratic presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa. The Democratic presidential candidates are meeting for their third debate on Dec. 19, with tensions suddenly boiling between Hillary Clinton and her chief rival, Sanders. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley appear before a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, speak during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidates from left, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee take the stage before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, left, and Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, participate in the first Democratic presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. While tonight's first Democratic presidential debate will probably lack the name-calling and sharp jabs of the Republican face-offs, there's still potential for strong disagreements between the party's leading contenders. Photographer: Josh Haner/Pool via Bloomberg
Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont,, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton laugh during the CNN Democratic presidential debate, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton shake hands at the end of a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - October 13: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton pictured at the 2015 CNN Democratic Presidential Debate at Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, NV on October 13, 2015. Credit: Erik Kabik Photography/ MediaPunch/IPX
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