A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Obama Voted Against Troop Funding?

Palin repeated the claim that Obama “voted against funding our troops.” The claim refers to a single 2007 vote against a war funding bill. Obama voted for a version of the bill that included language calling for withdrawing troops from Iraq. President Bush vetoed it. (McCain supported that veto, but didn’t call it “vetoing support for our troops.”) What Obama voted against was the same bill without withdrawal language. And he had voted yes on at least 10 other war funding bills prior to that single 2007 no vote.

The Iraqi Surplus

Biden said that Iraq had an “$80 billion surplus.” Obama said the same — $79 billion — in the last debate, and we called him on it then. Seventy-nine billion is an out-of-date projection. The Iraqis currently have $29 billion in the bank, and could have $47 billion to $59 billion by the end of the year.
Update, Oct. 13: According to GAO, Iraq was unable to spend its entire budget in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

2005 Energy Bill Deja Vu

Palin threw out an old canard when she criticized Obama for voting for the 2005 Energy bill, saying, “that’s what gave those oil companies those big tax breaks.”
It’s a false attack Clinton used against Obama in the primary and McCain himself has hurled. It’s true that the bill gave some tax breaks to oil companies, but it also took away others. And according to the Congressional Research Service, the bill created a slight net increase in taxes for the oil industry.

Killing Afghan Civilians?

Obama did say that troops in Afghanistan were killing civilians, a claim that Palin calls “untrue.” Here’s the whole quote, from a campaign stop in New Hampshire:

Obama, August 2007: We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there.

The Associated Press fact-checked this one, and found that in fact U.S troops were killing more civilians at the time than insurgents: “As of Aug.

Troop Levels Off

Palin got her numbers wrong on troop levels when she said that troops were now down to “pre-surge” levels. The surge was announced in January 2007, at which point there were 132,000 troops in Iraq according to the Brookings Institute Iraq Index. As of September 2008, that number was 146,000. President Bush recently announced that another 8,000 would be coming home by February of next year. But that would still be 6,000 more than when the surge began.

More Social Security Spin

Summary
An Obama-Biden TV ad once again twists McCain’s position on Social Security.

It claims he backed a "plan to risk your Social Security in the stock market." In fact, the plan McCain endorsed in 2005 would have been voluntary, and workers could have put only one-third of their Social Security pension fund taxes into private accounts.

The new ad also asks viewers to imagine "your future retirement benefits" invested in Lehman Brothers, AIG or Merrill Lynch,

McCain Mentions Us

It wasn’t exactly in a favorable light, per se.
On NPR’s “Morning Edition” today, anchor Steve Inskeep asked Sen. John McCain about balancing honor and winning in a campaign that Inskeep called “brutal.” In their conversation, Inskeep asked about a particular ad that we found to be “false”:

Inskeep: Have you come back to your advisers at any point and said, “That ad,” like for example the ad that ran with your name on it saying that Barack Obama supported comprehensive sex education for primary school students,

Who Caused the Economic Crisis?

Summary
A MoveOn.org Political Action ad plays the partisan blame game with the economic crisis, charging that John McCain’s friend and former economic adviser Phil Gramm “stripped safeguards that would have protected us.” The claim is bogus. Gramm’s legislation had broad bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Clinton. Moreover, the bill had nothing to do with causing the crisis, and economists – not to mention President Clinton – praise it for having softened the crisis.