Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fact Check the Presidential Debate

Here is just a little fact checking in relationship to last night's Presidential Debate.  I apologize in advance for those persons not interested in politics.  This seems very important to me lately.  This is from the Washington Post.

"Comment is free, but facts are sacred." -- C.P. Scott, editor Manchester Guardian, 1921

Our goal is to shed as much light as possible on controversial claims and counter-claims involving important national issues and the records of the various presidential candidates. 

Second Presidential Debate: Nashville

10:01 p.m.
Obama claimed that the government had invented the computer in order to encourage scientists to communicate. He probably meant the Internet. The personal computer was invented by Apple and other private companies. IBM pioneered the mechanical punch card tabulating machines which formed the basis for the large mainframe computers.
--Michael Dobbs

9:57 p.m.
Once again, McCain said that Obama raised taxes 94 times. This came up in the vice presidential debate, and it is a bogus charge.

Fact, a non-partisan watchdog, has analyzed the charge.

Of the 94, 23 of those votes were indeed votes against proposed tax cuts. Eleven of them were increases on families earning over $1 million to help fund programs such as Head Start and school nutrition. And 53 were on non-binding budget resolutions that foresaw allowing tax cuts to expire as scheduled. Such out-year projections are meaningless, since non-binding budgets are passed each year. ruled the claim misleading.
--Glenn Kessler

Health Care
9:46 p.m.
In outlining his tax policy, John McCain boasted that he would give all American families a $5,000 tax credit to allow them to go out and buy their own health insurance. This is true but it is only part of the story. The other part, which McCain rarely mentions on the campaign trail, is that the Republican candidate has also proposed taxing employer-provided health benefits, which will wipe out most of extra income from the tax credit.
--Michael Dobbs

9:43 p.m.
Sen. McCain talked about the U.S sending "$700 billion, some of it to countries that don't like us very much." And he said, "My friends, some of this $700 billion ends up in the hands of terrorists organizations." He's talking about the U.S. imports of oil, for which the U.S. consumers send money to the countries that produce the oil.

In fact, according to the Energy Information Administration, which bills itself as offering the "official energy statistics from the U.S. government," the top producer of crude oil for import into the U.S. is Canada, not exactly a country that doesn't like us. The second largest is Saudia Arabia, another ally. And then Mexico, also a key ally.

But McCain is right that the list also includes countries like Venezuela, whose leader, Hugo Chavez, can accurately be proclaimed to be "no friend" of the U.S. And the list includes Nigeria, Iraq, Angola, Brazil, Algeria, Ecuador, Russa, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Kuwait and Chad.

It is not possible to know how much of the money that flows into some of those countries ends up in the hands of terrorists organizations.
--Michael D. Shear

Boeing Contract
9:33 p.m.
McCain took credit for his crusade to block a new contract for Boeing for a new fleet of midair refueling tankers. He said he saved taxpayers more than $6 billion while launching a Senate probe that found cozy relations between Pentagon officials and Boeing executives.

But the GAO found significant problems in the rebidding of the new contract, which had awarded the contract to a partnership between Northrup Grumman and the European firm EADS.

"This shows how a sort of naive crusade for good government can actually backfire," Loren Thompson, of the Lexington Institute, a defense think tank, told Newsweek.
--Glenn Kessler

9:28 p.m.
McCain continues to make an issue out of earmarks, which are only a small part of the overall federal budget. The big ticket items are entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and defense spending, which together represent much of the federal budget; earmarks are just $16 billion out of a more than a $2 trillion budget.
--Glenn Kessler

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
9:24 p.m.
Sen. McCain claimed that Sen. Obama was the second-highest recipient of money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "in history." In fact, according to the OpenSecrets.Org site, which tracks political contributions, Obama was third among senators in receiving contributions from the two mortgage giants during the period of 1989 to 2008.

Having received $105,849, he falls behind Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Christoper Dodd (D-Conn.) in third place, not second. And it's unclear where McCain bases his claim that Obama is second "in history" since the sites that track these contributions don't use that kind of duration.
--Michael D. Shear


  1. Lisa,
    Thank you so much for this!

  2. The deception and lies never cease...sit and spin (a kid's toy) should have been invented for politicians!

    Linda D. in Seattle

  3. Sit and Spin - Politicians

    Too funny!!!