Factcheck.org has the skinny:
- 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.
- Biden incorrectly said “John McCain voted the exact same way” as Obama on a controversial troop funding bill. The two were actually on opposite sides.
- 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, but a family of four would not have been affected unless they made at least $90,000 a year.
- Biden wrongly claimed that McCain “voted the exact same way” as Obama on the budget bill that contained an increase on singles making as little as $42,000 a year. McCain voted against it. Biden was referring to an amendment that didn’t address taxes at that income level.
- Palin claimed McCain’s health care plan would be “budget neutral,” costing the government nothing. Independent budget experts estimate McCain’s plan would cost tens of billions each year, though details are too fuzzy to allow for exact estimates.
- Biden wrongly claimed that McCain had said “he wouldn’t even sit down” with the president of Spain. Actually, McCain didn’t reject a meeting, but simply refused to commit himself one way or the other during an interview.
- Palin wrongly claimed that “millions of small businesses” would see tax increases under Obama’s tax proposals. At most, several hundred thousand business owners would see increases.
The debate was good. If debates are more about “getting to know” the candidates rather than getting to the truth behind the issues, I’d say Biden did pretty well. I knew next to nothing about Biden except that he has run for President a bunch of times and doesn’t like the latest SCOTUS Justices nominated by the Bush Administration. The fact that he hasn’t been paid much attention to until now helps him a good deal. Obviously, he is no stiff. He also had an edge when it came to offering up answers that sounded substantial, but he did seem to lapse into lecturing a bit after being needled.
Palin exceeded the low expectations everyone, including me, had for her. That moral victory in itself plays to her favor in a significant way. The first few minutes she seemed nervous, but as time wore on she found her personality and charmed a few smiles out of her opponent. Her answers tended to dodge and “go back” to things already addressed, but she wasn’t always on the defensive either. In the “who would I like to have for a neighbor?” category, I think she scored a lot of points.
The moderator asked a lot of good questions that didn’t get answered, of course. That’s the way it goes, but this debate was far more enjoyable than the first Presidential one.
What did you think?