Debate fact-check

Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 5:44pm

The first 2012 Presidential Debate is in the archives, and it’s time to see how accurate they were.
We all expect candidates to exaggerate their virtues and their opponents negatives.
And we got it.
It was a lively and fairly detailed debate, but both candidates had some trouble with the facts.
On balancing the budget…
"I like PBS. I love Big Bird. Actually I like you too. But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for."

In fact -BIG BIRD - and PBS's parent - the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - gets only ONE one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget.

“A specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan.”

The president is counting money saved by letting the Bush tax cuts expire for people making more than $250,000 a year.

But he's also counting $1 trillion in savings by drawing down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then we come to tax cuts…

“I'm not in favor of a five trillion dollar tax cut, that's not my plan. My plan is not to put in place any tax cut that will add to the deficit.”

Romney has proposed making the bush tax cuts permanent for everyone... then cutting all rates an additional 20%. He would repeal the alternative minimum tax, and  the estate tax.

The nonpartisan tax policy center concluded that Romney's tax plan would cost $4.8 trillion dollars over 10 years.

Romney said again his plan would be paid for …by closing loopholes and getting rid of deductions

The President claimed that social security is structurally sound. but according to the congressional budget office - social security will run into financial trouble too.

Romney challenged Obama's statement that companies can take a tax deduction for shipping jobs overseas.
What Obama was actually describing was a tax break for ordinary business expense, including deductions allowed for a company if it closes its plant in the United States and moves it to another country.
The candidates sparred over the deficit reduction panel - known as Simpson-Bowles.
Romney and Obama both praised the plan as a deficit reduction framework.
But the Simpson-Bowles plan called for about $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in revenue raising.
Romney said he would "absolutely" not support  increasing taxes - as a way to reduce the deficit.
Obama, said his $4 trillion deficit reduction plan was based on Simpson-Bowles.
But The Simpson-Bowles proposal cuts tax rates substantially for all income groups significantly, while Obama has called for boosting rates for the richest Americans.
Obama oversold his health care law, claiming that health care premiums have “gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years.” That’s true of health care spending, but not premiums.
Romney accused Obama of doubling the federal deficit. not true. The annual deficit was already running at $1.2 trillion when Obama took office.
But even with the occasional exaggeration, most experts felt that it was a substantial discussion that, as a political event, Governor Romney won.


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