A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactChecking Biden-Palin Debate

Summary
Biden and Palin debated, and both mangled some facts.

Palin mistakenly claimed that troop levels in Iraq had returned to “pre-surge” levels. Levels are gradually coming down but current plans would have levels higher than pre-surge numbers through early next year, at least.
Palin repeated a false claim that Obama once voted in favor of higher taxes on “families” making as little as $42,000 a year. He did not. The budget bill in question called for an increase only on singles making that amount,

Health Care Deregulation?

Biden said that McCain wrote in a magazine article that he wanted to do for the health care industry what deregulation had done for Wall Street. That’s taking McCain’s words out of context, as we’ve written before.
Biden is referring to a phrase from a journal article under McCain’s name that said he would reduce regulation of health insurance “as we have done over the last decade in banking.” But the full context shows McCain was talking specifically about a proposal to allow the sale and purchase of health insurance across state lines.

Tax Cuts for Oil Companies?

McCain isn’t proposing a special tax break for oil companies, despite Joe Biden’s mention (more than once) of the $4 billion cut they’d get. As we’ve noted previously, McCain’s plan would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent — for ALL corporations, not just oil companies. It also would allow for immediate write-offs for companies buying new equipment and technology, and a tax credit of 10 percent of the amount companies spend on wages devoted to research and development.

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 Seventy-nine billion is an out-of-date projection.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.

Not Coming Clean on Coal

Summary
The McCain-Palin campaign is airing radio ads in four states claiming that the Obama-Biden ticket "oppose[s] clean coal." That's false:

Obama's energy plan, which he began promoting well over a year ago, calls for investing in "low emissions coal plants" and creating "5 'first-of-a-kind' commercial scale coal-fired plants with carbon capture and sequestration." His position in support of clean coal has been clear.
The ad's claim rests solely on a remark Biden made when questioned while shaking hands on a rope line in Ohio.

Why We’re Not Called FutureCheck

We’ve received countless e-mails about a rumor that Joe Biden is planning to step down from the Democratic race, to be replaced by Hillary Clinton. Here’s the chain e-mail in question:

Anonymous chain e-mail: Let me share some info with you that I have gotten from excellent sources within the DNC:

On or about October 5th, Biden will excuse himself from the ticket, citing health problems, and he will be replaced by Hillary. This is timed to occur after the VP debate on 10/2.

McCain Ad “Promise”: Promises Same Falsehood

The McCain-Palin campaign released a new ad called “Promise,” which the campaign says will air nationally. But it contains a whopper we’ve addressed a few times:

The ad claims Sen. Barack Obama “voted to cut off funding for our troops.” But a McCain campaign press release announcing the ad cites the same vote we addressed in an earlier article on this misleading claim. The fact is, while it’s true Obama voted against a GOP-backed troop funding bill once,

The Whoppers of 2008

Summary
Normally we post a “Whoppers” compilation the week before Election Day. This time we’ve already seen such a large number of twisted facts, misleading claims and outright falsehoods that we are doing that now.
It’s not just Sarah Palin’s claim about killing the bridge project that she had supported until it became a national laughingstock and Congress turned against it. That’s just the whopper that got the attention of many news organizations earlier this month.

Jon Stewart: Joe Biden “Crazy Reckless?” Oops!

 Comedian Jon Stewart had a nice riff going on “The Daily Show” Wednesday night (Sept. 24) until he scolded Joe Biden as being “crazy reckless” about his gun facts. But in this case, Biden knew what he was talking about, and Stewart didn’t. (You can view Stewart's comments on the Comedy Channel website, if you don't mind watching the commercial that precedes it.)
Stewart starts off making fun of Biden’s remark about FDR “going on television,”

Biden, FDR and the Invention of Television

In a sit-down interview with CBS Evening News’ Katie Couric that aired Sept. 22, Sen. Joe Biden tried to make a historical comparison between political leadership during the trying economic times of today and yesterday. But he got some of his history wrong. Biden told Couric: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed.”

There are several things wrong with that statement.