FactChecking Debate No. 1

FactCheck.org is quickly becoming one of my favorite websites. Add it to the list of my favorite political stops: RealClear Politics, Project VoteSmart, and Frontline. This weekend they have a rundown on the debate.

  • Obama said McCain adviser Henry Kissinger backs talks with Iran “without preconditions,” but McCain disputed that. In fact, Kissinger did recently call for “high level” talks with Iran starting at the secretary of state level and said, “I do not believe that we can make conditions.” After the debate the McCain campaign issued a statement quoting Kissinger as saying he didn’t favor presidential talks with Iran.
  • Obama denied voting for a bill that called for increased taxes on “people” making as little as $42,000 a year, as McCain accused him of doing. McCain was right, though only for single taxpayers. A married couple would have had to make $83,000 to be affected by the vote, and anyway no such increase is in Obama’s tax plan.
  • McCain and Obama contradicted each other on what Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said about troop withdrawals. Mullen said a time line for withdrawal could be “very dangerous” but was not talking specifically about “Obama’s plan,” as McCain maintained.
  • McCain tripped up on one of his signature issues – special appropriation “earmarks.” He said they had “tripled in the last five years,” when in fact they have decreased sharply.
  • Obama claimed Iraq “has” a $79 billion surplus. It once was projected to be as high as that. It’s now down to less than $60 billion.
  • McCain repeated his overstated claim that the U.S. pays $700 billion a year for oil to hostile nations. Imports are running at about $536 billion this year, and a third of it comes from Canada, Mexico and the U.K.
  • Obama said 95 percent of “the American people” would see a tax cut under his proposal. The actual figure is 81 percent of households.
  • Obama mischaracterized an aspect of McCain’s health care plan, saying “employers” would be taxed on the value of health benefits provided to workers. Employers wouldn’t, but the workers would. McCain also would grant workers up to a $5,000 tax credit per family to cover health insurance.
  • McCain misrepresented Obama’s plan by claiming he’d be “handing the health care system over to the federal government.” Obama would expand some government programs but would allow people to keep their current plans or chose from private ones, as well.
  • McCain claimed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower had drafted a letter of resignation from the Army to be sent in case the 1944 D-Day landing at Normandy turned out to be a failure. Ike prepared a letter taking responsibility, but he didn’t mention resigning.

The Kissinger question was the most interesting, and apparently he made this statement after the debate:

Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain.

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7 thoughts on “FactChecking Debate No. 1

  1. Does anyone inclined to support Barack Obama even know who Henry Kissinger is?

    Obama made creamed spinach of his original “pre-conditions” comment, which did, in fact, call for American PRESIDENTS to meet with Ahmadinejad and similarly positioned leaders of other nations.

    I don’t understand what he is doing. He screwed the pooch in his original debate against Hillary by diverting from his talking points in a way that probably seems like common sense to someone who doesn’t know anything. Then, he decided to codify his blunder as a policy initiative, saying we need to “talk” to people in order to enact change.

    Confronted by McCain on his abject stupidity, he pretends that he meant something else. Why didn’t he just do that at the onset? It could have saved his having to resort to five minutes of unmitigated gibberish about his stance during his first debate.

    And yeah, there is no way in hell Henry Kissinger isn’t terrified by the prospect of an Obama presidency.

  2. don’t be an ass, kevin. last i checked, the most highly educated people in this country are more often than not inclined to vote democrat. let’s do a poll. i’d guess that more people inclined to vote republican would not recognize kissinger than the other way around.

    you are smart and know a lot of things. but you are being very snarky about all this, eh?

  3. Bob Sacamento says:

    Obama said 95 percent of “the American people” would see a tax cut under his proposal. The actual figure is 81 percent of households.

    In fact, one way or another, 100% of all taxpayers would have more of their money going to the government for the simple reason that Obama would have the government collect more taxes. He tells us that this money will come from taxes on businesses. But like Fred Thompson said, “Hey, that’s great! As long as you don’t own a business, work for a business, buy from a business, or sell to a business. Obama’s not going to draw water out of your side of the bucket! He’s going to draw water out of the other side of the bucket!”

    Obama would expand some government programs but would allow people to keep their current plans or chose from private ones, as well.

    “I do not want to take away from you your right to choose your own doctor.” –Bill Clinton, just a few months before Hillary’s health care plan, which would have done just that, was revealed to the public.

    Context is everything.

  4. Renee,

    I can assure you that those who know who Kissinger is (or, at least, why he is relevant) support McCain in large numbers. But yes, people with lots of masters degrees vote Democrat, almost by definition. Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach get internships. Those who can’t get internships go back to school.

  5. i thought McCain definitely showed strong when it got to the pre-condition comment. for the first 30 minutes or so, Obama looked good, but the debate definitely turned better for McCain when talking about foreign affairs, which is what the debate was originally supposed to be about.

    i’m not too good with that tax increase, guess i should get married!

  6. It’s too bad Factcheck.org can’t verify who is and who is not an ass, but I think we can all agree that getting married for tax purposes is by far the best idea to come out of this year’s presidential race. Go economy!

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