So, Who Told the Truth?

Fact-checkers pore over last night's debate

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 4, 2012 7:31 AM CDT | Updated Oct 4, 2012 7:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – Facts and numbers were flying in last night's debate, and President Obama and Mitt Romney agreed on so few of them that "the two men seemed to be inhabiting two parallel universes," Politico observes. Thankfully, a swarm of fact-checkers have been poring over the candidates' statements to sort things out. Here are some of the more egregious fibs:

  • Romney: "I won't put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit." Independent analysis indicates that Romney's tax plan would add $5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. Romney says he'll pay for that by reducing deductions and credits, but the Tax Policy Center concluded that was "mathematically impossible."
  • Obama: "We've made some adjustments" to Simpson-Bowles. Obama's plan is not, as he implied, comparable to Simpson-Bowles. It's much less aggressive, doesn't touch Social Security, and, while it too reduces the deficit by $4 trillion, it takes an extra year to do it.

  • Romney on green energy loan recipients: "I think about half have gone out of business." Try three out of 26.
  • Romney: Dodd-Frank "designates a number of banks as too big to fail." The law designates some banks for special treatment, but that treatment involves extra regulation and a way to liquidate them if they run into trouble; they are not, as Romney argued "effectively guaranteed by the federal government."
  • Romney: "Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan." Romney's health care plan only covers people with pre-existing conditions if they "maintain continuous coverage," which was more or less the situation before ObamaCare.
  • Obama: "Under Governor Romney's definition … Donald Trump is a small business." Romney's plan doesn't actually define small businesses. But the federal government does, and under its guidelines, Trump is a small business, because he owns some businesses with fewer than 500 employees, according to CNN.
  • Obama: "I've put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan." True, but that plan counts savings already agreed on during the debt ceiling debate.
  • Romney: "The president said he'd cut the deficit in half. Unfortunately, he doubled it." When Obama took office, the projected deficit for 2009 was $1.2 trillion. For fiscal 2012, the deficit is expected to be $1.1 trillion, the New York Times reports.

Mitt Romney, left, and President Barack Obama, right, talk at the end of their first debate at the University of Denver, Oct. 3, 2012.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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