Fact-Checking Last Night's Debate

Obama, Romney both played a little loose with the truth

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 17, 2012 7:14 AM CDT | Updated Oct 17, 2012 7:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – As usual, the truth took a bit of a beating in last night's presidential debate. At least one fact was checked during the debate—Obama's assertion that he did, indeed, use the term "act of terror" to describe the attack on the US consulate in Libya the day after it occurred. A look at the post-debate fact-checking by the AP, ABC, the Washington Post, and Politico:

  • Obama: "Let's take the money that we've been spending on war over the last decade to rebuild America, roads, bridges, schools." Actually, most of the money spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is borrowed. And if we used that money for schools, it would mean yet more borrowing.
  • Romney: "When the president took office, the price of gasoline here in Nassau County was about $1.86 a gallon. Now, it's $4 a gallon. The price of electricity is up. If the president's energy policies are working, you're going to see the cost of energy come down." Not necessarily, because in truth presidents have nearly zero effect on energy prices, since global financial exchanges set most of them. Additionally, other energy costs, like the price of natural gas, have fallen since Obama took office.

  • Obama: "He called the Arizona law a model for the nation." No, what Romney was referring to was a federal electronic system used to verify the immigration status of new employees—not, as Obama said, the controversial Arizona immigration law.
  • Romney: "He said … he would cut the deficit in half; instead he has doubled it." False, say numerous fact-checking outlets. But, while Obama has not doubled the deficit, neither has he cut it in half—more like 8%.
  • Obama: "What I've also said is, for [those earning] above $250,000, we can go back to the tax rates we had when Bill Clinton was president." Yes, Obama would put the top rate back at 39.6%, as it was during Clinton's presidency. But since ObamaCare includes a new 0.9% Medicare surcharge and a 3.8% tax on investment income for those same households, tax rates would actually be higher for them than they were during the Clinton era.

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shakes hands at the conclusion of the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Hempstead, NY.
President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shakes hands at the conclusion of the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Hempstead, NY.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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