Research

Fact Checking Obama: 10 Lies And Counting

Obama Spends The Final Debate Stretching The Truth And Spinning His Record

LIE #1: OBAMA’S FAILED STATUS OF FORCES AGREEMENT

THE CLAIM: Obama Tried To Deny That He Proposed A Status Of Forces Agreement That Would Have Left Thousands Of Troops In Iraq. ROMNEY: “You didn’t want a status of forces agreement?” OBAMA: “What I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down. That certainly would not help us in the Middle East.” ROMNEY: “I’m sorry. You actually — there was an effort on the part of the president to have a status of forces against, and I concurred in that and said we should have a number of troops that stayed on. That was something I concurred with. That was your posture and mine as well. You thought it should have been 5,000 troops and I thought it should have been more troops.” OBAMA: “Governor, this was done a few weeks ago. A few weeks ago you indicated we should still have troops in Iraq.” ROMNEY: “No, I didn’t. Sorry, I indicated that you failed to put in place a status of forces agreement at the end of the conflict that existed.” (President Barack Obama, 2012 Presidential Debate, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, 10/22/12)

  • “Obama Suggested That Mr. Romney Was Mistaken In Seeking To Keep 10,000 American Troops In Iraq. But The Obama Administration Initially Sought To Do Just That.” “President Obama suggested that Mr. Romney was mistaken in seeking to keep 10,000 American troops in Iraq. But the Obama administration initially sought to do just that – and ultimately never managed to negotiate an agreement to allow any American troops in Iraq.” (Michael Gordon and Scott Shane, “Fact Check: A Status Of Forces Agreement?” The New York Times, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: “Obama Sought To Negotiate A Status Of Forces Agreement That Would Have Allowed United States Troops To Stay In Iraq After 2011.” “Mr. Obama sought to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement that would have allowed United States troops to stay in Iraq after 2011. Initially, the Obama administration was prepared to keep up to 10,000 troops in Iraq. Later, the Obama administration lowered the figure to about 5,000 troops – some 3,500 of which would be continuously based in the country while the remainder would periodically be rotated through. The role of the American forces would be to train Iraqi troops, patrol Iraq’s skies and help Iraqi commandos fight Al Qaeda.” (Michael Gordon and Scott Shane, “Fact Check: A Status Of Forces Agreement?” The New York Times, 10/22/12)

  • THE FACTS: “The Obama Administration Says That It Was Willing To Keep Some Troops In Iraq, But The Iraqis, Reflecting Their Concerns Over Sovereignty, Failed To Agree To The Necessary Immunities. “After the talks broke down, the Obama administration withdrew the remaining American troops in December 2011, the deadline set for withdrawing all American forces from Iraq under the Status of Forces Agreement that was concluded by George W. Bush and Mr. Mailiki in 2008.” (Michael Gordon and Scott Shane, “Fact Check: A Status Of Forces Agreement?” The New York Times, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: “Obama Wanted To Leave Several Thousand Troops In Iraq.” “FactCheck.org notes that Obama wanted to leave several thousand troops in Iraq, but the Iraqis would have none of it. Romney strongly criticized the Status of Forces agreement with the Iraqi government, saying at a roundtable discussion in November 2011, ‘It is my view that the withdrawal of all of our troops from Iraq by the end of this year is an enormous mistake.’ Romney told Fox News that Obama should have left ’10-, 20- 30- thousand personnel there.’” (Josh Smith, Sophie Quinton, and Olga Belogolova, “Debate Fact Check: The Third Presidential Debate Between Barack Obama And Mitt Romney,” National Journal, 10/22/12)

  • THE FACTS: “Obama Also Wanted To Leave Several Thousand U.S. Troops In Iraq.” “Obama also wanted to leave several thousand U.S. troops in Iraq. He tried to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government to allow a residual U.S. force there, but the Iraqi government refused to grant legal immunity to any remaining U.S. troops. The last troops pulled out in December 2011.” (Brooks Jackson, “Homestretch Fact-Stretchers,” FactCheck.Org, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: “Romney’s Right-Obama Did Try To Get A Status Of Forces Agreement, But Could Not Get An Agreement With The Government Of Iraq.” “ Romney’s right-Obama did try to get a status of forces agreement, but could not get an agreement with the government of Iraq. So now he stresses the fact that he has removed all troops from Iraq, while knocking Romney for supporting what he originally had hoped to achieve.” (Glenn Kessler, “Fact Check: Debate Over Iraq Withdrawal,” The Washington Post, 10/22/12)

  • THE FACTS: “Mitt Romney Claimed President Obama Was Looking To Keep Some Troops There As Well. … Our Verdict From What Mitt Romney Says Is Mostly True.” CNN’s JON BERMAN: “Coming up, this is the important context, on Iraq. Mitt Romney claimed that President Obama was looking to keep some troops there as well, which the president denied. …So what are the facts here? Well, Leon Panetta – the Secretary Of Defense – was negotiated to keep 3,000 to 5,000 troops in Iraq, within a so-called ‘Status of Forces’ agreement. This fell apart over the issue of whether U.S. troops would have certain immunity from prosecution. So our verdict here from what Mitt Romney says here is mostly true. The president did seem willing to leave some troops in Iraq under certain conditions, the deal just fell apart. ” CNN’s WOLF BLITZER: “That ‘Status of Forces’ agreement negotiation collapsed, as a result, all U.S. troops out of Iraq.” (CNN’s “Reality Check,” 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: “Actually, The Obama Administration Tried For Many Months To Win Iraqi Agreement To Keeping Several Thousand American Troops There Beyond 2011 To Continue Training And Advising The Iraqi Armed Forces.” “Obama was suggesting that he had never favored keeping U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the December 2011 withdrawal deadline that the Bush administration had negotiated with the Iraqi government. Actually, the Obama administration tried for many months to win Iraqi agreement to keeping several thousand American troops there beyond 2011 to continue training and advising the Iraqi armed forces. The talks broke down over a disagreement on legal immunity for U.S. troops.” (Calvin Woodward, “FACT CHECK: Missteps In Final Presidential Debate,” The Associated Press, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “So Governor Romney is right, that the administration has tried and failed to get an agreement called Status of Forces Agreement that, in fact, would have allowed a small force of troops to remain for several years in Iraq.” (NBC, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: Fox News’ Chris Wallace: “I Think You Have To Give The Points To Mitt Romney On That… Romney Was Right, Obama Was Wrong. Obama Wanted And Failed To Get A Status Of Forces Agreement.” FOX NEWS’ CHRIS WALLACE: “Well, in fact, I think you have to give the points to Mitt Romney on that, provided as part of the troop withdrawal by George W. Bush and in a deal with the Iraqi Prime Minister is that there would be a status of forces agreement and that there would be a residual force there was talk of it as little as 5,000. The military wanted closer to 20,000. The person put in charge of it was Joe Biden, the Vice President, and at one point he said I will bet you my Vice Presidency, Malaki, the Iraqi prime minister will extend the status of forces agreement. But it all fell apart. They never got it, but it’s clear Romney was right, Obama was wrong. Obama wanted and failed to get a status of forces agreement.” (Fox News, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: NBC’s Richard Haass: “Even The Administration I Think Has Kept Open The Possibility Of A So Called Residual Force There.” NBC’s RICHARD HAASS: “Even the administration I think has kept open the possibility of a so called residual force there, and that was an odd counterpoint to the conversation about Iraq, where it was almost confusing. Governor Romney was saying we should have kept some forces there, and the president was talking about how good it was we had gotten all of our forces out when in fact, the United States did try to negotiate some sort of an arrangement with the Iraqis where some forces could stay. So I found all of this somewhat, somewhat odd. But again, to me the larger, the larger bottom line of the night was that on foreign policy issues actually, there was much more agreement than disagreement.” (NBC’s ” 2012 Presidential Debate,” 10/22/12)

LIE #2: OBAMA CLAIMED HE DID NOT PROPOSE THE SEQUESTER

THE CLAIM: Obama Claimed That The Sequester Was Not Something That He Proposed. OBAMA: “First of all, the sequester is not something I proposed, it’s something that Congress proposed. It will not happen.” (President Barack Obama, 2012 Presidential Debate, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: “In Fact, The Idea May Have Come In Part From Obama’s Current Chief Of Staff, Jack Lew.” “In fact, the idea may have come in part from Obama’s current chief of staff, Jack Lew. The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward reported in his book ‘The Price of Politics’ that Lew, then-Office of Management and Budget director, and White House Legislative Affairs Director Rob Nabors broached the idea of a defense sequester as a threat to Republicans during negotiations over raising the debt ceiling.” (Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn, “Fact-Checking The Third Presidential Debate,” Politico, 10/22/12)

LIE #3: OBAMA MISCHARACTERIZED HIS POSITION ON CHINA

THE CLAIM: “President Barack Obama Called China An ‘Adversary’ Of The United States For The First Time During Tonight’s Debate, Changing His Own Administration’s Messaging On The U.S.-China Relationship And Contradicting His Own Secretary Of State.” “President Barack Obama called China an ‘adversary’ of the United States for the first time during tonight’s debate, changing his own administration’s messaging on the U.S.-China relationship and contradicting his own secretary of state. ‘China is both an adversary, but also a potential partner,’ Obama said during the debate. ‘China is doesn’t have to be an adversary,’ Romney responded.” (Josh Rogin, “Obama Contradicts Clinton, Calls China An ‘Adversary,’” Foreign Policy‘s The Cable, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: “Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton Appears To Agree With Romney, Not Her Boss. She’s Said On Several Occasions That China Is Not An Adversary And Doesn’t Have To Become One.” “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to agree with Romney, not her boss. She’s said on several occasions that China is not an adversary and doesn’t have to become one. ‘Now, some believe that China on the rise is, by definition, an adversary. To the contrary, we believe that the United States and China can benefit from and contribute to each other’s successes,’ Clinton said in one her first speeches in office in 2009.” (Josh Rogin, “Obama Contradicts Clinton, Calls China An ‘Adversary,’” Foreign Policy‘s The Cable, 10/22/12)

LIE #4: OBAMA MISREPRESENTED ROMNEY’S RECORD ON THE AUTO BAILOUT

THE CLAIM: Obama Claimed That Romney Would Not “Provide Government Assistance To The U.S. Auto Industry.” OBAMA: “You were very clear that you would not provide government assistance to the U.S. auto companies even if they went through bankruptcy. You said that they could get it in the private marketplace. That wasn’t true. They would have gone through.” (President Barack Obama, 2012 Presidential Debate, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: “Romney Is Correct In That He Called For A ‘Managed Bankruptcy.’” “Although ‘bankrupt’ often conjures up images of liquidation, Romney is correct in that he called for a ‘managed bankruptcy.’ This is a process in which the company uses the bankruptcy code to discharge its debts, but emerges from the process a leaner, less leveraged company. Ultimately, along with getting nearly $80 billion in loans and other assistance from the Bush and Obama administrations, GM and Chrysler did go through a managed bankruptcy.” (Glenn Kessler, “Fact Check: The Auto Industry Bailout,” The Washington Post, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: Time’s Michael Scherer: “Obama is wrong. Romney supported guarantees in bankruptcy. ‘The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing’” (Michael Scherer, Twitter Feed, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: Romney Argued “The Federal Government Should Provide Guarantees For Post-Bankruptcy Financing And Assure Car Buyers That Their Warranties Are Not At Risk. So At Least On That Point, Again, Romney Seems To Have Had The Record Straight.” FOX NEWS’ CHRIS WALLACE: “Finally, very briefly on the auto bailout, in an editorial that Romney wrote in November of 2008, which had the headline he didn’t write it, let Detroit go bankrupt. He did argue for bankruptcy, a managed bankruptcy but at the end he said: the federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk. So at least on that point, again, Romney seems to have had the record straight.” (Fox News, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: FactCheck.org: “Obama says Romney wouldn’t have provide any gov’t assistance for automakers. But Romney did propose loan guarantees.” (FactCheck.org, Twitter Feed, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: CNBC’s Scott Cohn: “Mitt Romney Did Not Write In That 2008 Op-Ed That He Wanted To Liquidate The Auto Industry. He Did Say He Wanted It Restructured Through Bankruptcy.” CNBC’s SCOTT COHN: “Well, Mitt Romney did not write in that 2008 op-ed that he wanted to liquidate the auto industry. He did say he wanted it restructured through bankruptcy with government guarantees after bankruptcy. That is a key difference from what happened, with the government providing financing for bankruptcy.” (CNBC, 10/22/12)

LIE #5: OBAMA CLAIMED IT COST LESS TO LIBERATE LIBYA THAN AMOUNT SPENT FOR TWO WEEKS IN IRAQ

THE CLAIM: Obama: It Cost Less To Liberate Libya Than What The U.S. Spent In Two Weeks In Iraq. OBAMA: “We were able to, without putting troops on the ground, at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in Iraq, liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years. Got rid of a despot who had killed Americans.” (President Barack Obama, 2012 Presidential Debate, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: CNN’s John Berman: “Our Verdict Here Is False On The Math.” BERMAN: “So, what are the facts here? The total cost for the first five years of the war in Iraq was 646 Billion. Which breaks down to about 700 Million for two weeks which is less than the 896 million the U.S. spent on military intervention in Libya. Our verdict here is false on the math. Obama was right that Libya is cheap compared to Iraq overall, but he exaggerated by about 200 million dollars when he compared it to two weeks in Iraq.” (CNN, 10/22/12)

LIE #6: OBAMA CLAIMED ROMNEY’S JOBS PLAN WOULD CREAT JOBS OVERSEAS

THE CLAIM: Obama Claimed Gov. Romney’s Plan Will Create 800,000 Jobs Overseas. OBAMA: “If we take your advice with respect to how we change our tax codes so that companies that are in profits overseas don’t pay U.S. taxes compared to companies here that are paying taxes, now, that’s estimated to create 800,000 jobs. The problem is they won’t be here; they’ll be in places like China.” (President Barack Obama, 2012 Presidential Debate, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: FactCheck.org: “Obama says Romney’s plan would create 800 k jobs overseas. But study says foreign jobs could grow without costing US jobs…” (FactCheck.org, Twitter Feed, 10/22/12)

LIE #7: OBAMA CLAIMED ROMNEY SAID RUSSIA WAS AMERICA’S GREATEST GEOPOLITICAL THREAT

THE CLAIM: Obama Claimed Gov. Romney Has Said That Russia Was The U.S.’ Greatest Geopolitical Threat. OBAMA: “Governor Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that al-Qaida’s a threat because a few months ago when you were asked, what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia — not al-Qaida, you said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” (President Barack Obama, 2012 Presidential Debate, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: “Romney Has Never Called Russia The No. 1 ‘Enemy’ Or ‘Threat’ To The United States, Despite Obama’s Claims On Multiple Occasions, Including Monday’s Debate.” (Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn, “Fact-Checking The Third Presidential Debate,” Politico, 10/22/12)

LIE #8: OBAMA LIED ABOUT ROMNEY’S EDUCATION RECORD

THE CLAIM: Obama Claimed That The Massachusetts Scholarship Program Happened Before Romney Became Governor Of Massachusetts. OBAMA: “That happened – that happened before you came into office.” (President Barack Obama, 2012 Presidential Debate, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: Obama Was “Incorrect.” “Also, Obama was incorrect when he said the Adams scholarships predated Romney.” (Josh Smith, Sophie Quinton, and Olga Belogolova, “Debate Fact Check: The Third Presidential Debate Between Barack Obama And Mitt Romney,” National Journal, 10/22/12)

LIE #9: OBAMA WAS WRONG ABOUT EGYPTIANS’ OPINIONS ABOUT AMERICA

THE CLAIM: Obama Claimed Opinions About The U.S. Have Improved In Egypt Under His Presidency. OBAMA: “In Egypt we stood on the side of democracy. In Libya we stood on the side of the people. And as a consequence there is no doubt that attitudes about Americans have changed.” (President Barack Obama, 2012 Presidential Debate, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: FactCheck.org: “Obama said attitudes of US have changed, mentioning Egypt. In Egypt, only 19% view U.S. favorably, down 3 pts since 08.” (FactCheck.org, Twitter Feed, 10/22/12)

LIE #10: OBAMA CLAIMED THE MILITARY DOESN’T USE BAYONETS

THE CLAIM: Obama: “Governor, We Also Have Fewer Horses And Bayonets Because The Nature Of Our Military Has Changed.” OBAMA: “I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916 well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have the ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.” (President Barack Obama, 2012 Presidential Debate, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, 10/22/12)

THE FACTS: Fox News’ Chris Wallace: “The Marines Still Use Bayonets, So It May Not Be Clear Who Doesn’t Understand What The Military Currently Uses.” FOX NEWS’ CHRIS WALLACE: “Well, as it turns out, in the middle of the debate, after he heard this, a marine tweeted Fox News and said: the Marines still use bayonets, so it may not be clear who doesn’t understand what the Military currently uses.” (Fox News, 10/22/12)