Factchecking the Candidates

During and after the one and only vice presidential debate the McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden campaigns were sending out lots and lots and lots of emails factchecking statements made by Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin in an effort to set the record straight. Of course, the if the fact-check is coming from the opposite camp, you’ve still got to be skeptical.


In that spirit, we went with a completely different source. Here’s what the Associated Press had to say about some of the “facts” presented last night by the vice presidential candidates:


GOV. SARAH PALIN: Said of Democratic presidential candidate Obama: “94 times he voted to increase taxes or not support a tax reduction.”


THE FACTS: The dubious count includes repetitive votes as well as votes to cut taxes for the middle class while raising them on the rich. An analysis by factcheck.org found that 23 of the votes were for measures that would have produced no tax increase at all, seven were in favor of measures that would have lowered taxes for many, 11 would have increased taxes on only those making more than $1 million a year.


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SEN. JOE BIDEN: Complained about “economic policies of the last eight years” that led to “excessive deregulation.”


THE FACTS: Biden voted for 1999 deregulation that liberal groups are blaming for part of the financial crisis today. The law allowed Wall Street investment banks to create the kind of mortgage-related securities at the core of the problem now. The law was widely backed by Republicans as well as by Democratic President Clinton, who argues it has stopped the crisis today from being worse.


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PALIN: Criticized Obama’s “plan to mandate health care coverage and have universal government run program” for health care, and added: “I don’t think it’s going to be real pleasing for Americans to consider health care being taken over by the Feds.”


THE FACTS: Wrong on several counts. Obama’s plan does not provide for universal coverage, only mandates insurance for children and doesn’t turn the system over to the government. Most people would still get private insurance through their work. Obama proposes that the government subsidize the cost of health coverage for millions who have trouble affording it and he’d set up an exchange to negotiate prices and benefits with private insurers — with one option being a government-run plan.


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BIDEN: Warned that Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s $5,000 tax credit to help families buy health coverage “will go straight to the insurance company.”


THE FACTS: That’s not surprising – the money is meant to pay for health insurance. The Obama campaign tried to capitalize on the candidates’ healthcare exchange by issuing an ad Friday contending that the Republicans can’t explain “the McCain health tax.”


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PALIN: “Two years ago, remember, it was John McCain who pushed so hard

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