Factchecking the Candidates

with the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform measures. He sounded that warning bell.”


THE FACTS: Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska led an effort in 2005 to tighten regulation on the mortgage underwriters — McCain joined as a co-sponsor a year later. The legislation was never taken up by the full Senate, then under Republican control.


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BIDEN: Said McCain supports tax breaks for oil companies, and “wants to give them another $4 billion tax cut.”


THE FACTS: Biden is repeating a favorite saw of the Obama campaign, and it’s misleading. McCain supports a cut in income taxes for all corporations, and doesn’t single out any one industry for that benefit.


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PALIN: Said the U.S. has reduced its troop level in Iraq to a number below where it was when the troop increase began in early 2007.


THE FACTS: Not correct. The Pentagon says there are currently 152,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, about 17,000 more than there were before the 2007 military buildup began.


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BIDEN: “As a matter of fact, John recently wrote an article in a major magazine saying that he wants to do for the healthcare industry — deregulate it and let the free market move — like he did for the banking industry.”


THE FACTS: Biden and Obama have been perpetuating this distortion of what McCain wrote in an article for the American Academy of Actuaries. McCain, laying out his health plan, only referred to deregulation when saying people should be allowed to buy health insurance across state lines. In that context, he wrote: “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”


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PALIN: Said Alaska is “building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline, which is North America’s largest and most expensive infrastructure project ever to flow those sources of energy into hungry markets.”


THE FACTS: Not quite. Construction is at least six years away. So far the state has only awarded a license to Trans Canada Corp., that comes with $500 million in seed money in exchange for commitments toward a lengthy and costly process to getting a federal certificate. At an August news conference after the state Legislature approved the license, Palin said, “It’s not a done deal.”


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PALIN: “Barack Obama even supported increasing taxes as late as last year for those families making only $42,000 a year.”


BIDEN: “The charge is absolutely not true. Barack Obama did not vote to raise taxes.”


THE FACTS: The vote was on a nonbinding budget resolution that assumed that President Bush’s tax cuts would expire, as scheduled, in 2011. If that actually happened, it could mean higher taxes for people making as little as about $42,000. But Obama is

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