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 Seventy-nine billion is an out-of-date projection.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

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,

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.

But That’s Not the Campaign’s Position

The two new articles we posted today at FactCheck.org have a common theme: saying the other candidate for president doesn’t support something he actual does.
Check out the full articles to see how radio ads on clean coal and stem cell research are false:
Not Coming Clean on Coal
September 30, 2008 
A McCain-Palin ad claims the Obama-Biden ticket opposes clean coal. Not true.
Obama’s Stem Cell Spinning
September 30, 2008
His radio ad is wrong: McCain still supports federal funding for stem cell research.

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,

About that live debate coverage…

You might have noticed that there wasn’t so much of it. Technical problems kept us offline for most of the night. We apologize for that.
The good news? You can read our full debate wrap-up over at our main site.

Chummy with Chavez?

If it’s loud, profanity-laced, anti-American vitriol from a foreign leader you’re looking for, Hugo Chavez is your man. And a new McCain-Palin ad, running in Florida, tries to make it appear that Obama would begin cuddling up to the Venezuelan leader first thing after testing out his Oval Office desk chair. According to the McCain-Palin campaign, the ad is running in Florida. Here it is in English, but there’s a Spanish version as well.

The facts cited by the announcer in this ad are all correct.