Research

Fact Checking The Debate

An Assortment Of Obama’s Lies During The Second Debate In His Desperate Attempt To Resurge In The Polls

LIE #1: OBAMA MISLED ON HIS RESPONSE TO LIBYA

THE CLAIM: Obama Gave A Misleading Response About His Reaction To The Terrorist Attack In Libya. OBAMA: “Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. I’m the president. And I’m always responsible. And that’s why nobody is more interested in finding out exactly what happened than I did (sic). The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror. And I also said that we’re going to hunt down those who committed this crime. And then a few days later, I was there greeting the caskets coming into Andrews Air Force Base and grieving with the families.” (President Barack Obama, Presidential Debate, Hempstead, N.Y., 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: The Washington Post ‘s Fact Checker: Obama Did Not Say “Terrorism” In The Rose Garden And “It Took The Administration Days To Concede That That It Was An ‘Act Of Terrorism’” Unrelated To The Video. “What did Obama say in the Rose Garden a day after the attack in Libya? ‘No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this nation,’ he said. But he did not say ‘terrorism’-and it took the administration days to concede that that it was an ‘act of terrorism’ that appears unrelated to initial reports of anger at a video that defamed the prophet Muhammad.” (Glenn Kessler, “Fact Check: Libya Attack,” The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: Politico ‘s Mike Allen: In The Rose Garden, Obama Said “Very Generally, We Will Not Let Acts Of Terror Go Unpunished.” POLITICO’s MIKE ALLEN: “There’s going to be a bunch of fact checks, but just to do a fact check here. When Governor Romney said that Obama had been slow in calling the Libya attack terrorism and the President said ‘oh wait a minute, in the Rose Garden, the day after, I referred to an act of terror’, Candy Crowley stepped in and said that he was right. It’s actually arguable. And I’m looking at the transcript of that White House event the day after and he started by referring to them as selfless acts, which is casted very differently than the sort of very planned action that we now have. Later toward the end, he makes a reference to 9/11 and he says, very generally, we will not let acts of terror go unpunished. So that’s going to be an arguable point.” (Presidential Debate Wrap-Up, Politico Live, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: In Obama’s Rose Garden Remarks, “He Did Not Explicitly Refer To The Benghazi Attack As An ‘Act Of Terror,’ Though He Did Use Those Words.” “Romney said during Tuesday night’s debate that it took 14 days for Obama to acknowledge that the attack was a terrorist attack, while Obama and CNN’s Candy Crowley agreed that Obama said so Sept. 12 in remarks in the Rose Garden. In those remarks, journalists noticed, he did not explicitly refer to the Benghazi attack as an ‘act of terror,’ though he did use those words. ‘No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for,’ he said.” (Josh Rogin, “Obama Did Call Benghazi Attack ‘An Act Of Terror’ – In Colorado,” Foreign Policy ‘s The Cable, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: The Washington Post ‘s Fact Checker: “From Our Many Years Of Covering Diplomacy We Would Say There Is A World Of Difference” Between Acknowledging Terrorism And Referring To “Acts Of Terror.” “Note: we added this statement to the timeline after Josh Gerstein of Politico asserted that the phrasing ‘acts of terror’ showed Obama acknowledged ‘terrorism’ was behind the attack. From our many years of covering diplomacy we would say there is a world of difference, but readers can draw their own conclusions.” (Glenn Kessler, “From Video To Terrorist Attack: A Definitive Timeline Of Administration Statements On The Libya Attack,” The Washington Post ‘s Fact Checker, 9/27/12)

THE FACTS: CNN’s Candy Crowley Said Governor Romney Was “Right” That Obama Didn’t Call Libya A Terrorist Attack. CNN’s JOHN KING: “By misspeaking about exactly what the president said the day after, Governor Romney has now, he is in this fact check environment, this should be a problem for the president. This should not be a problem for what Governor Romney said in the debate. Because He was wrong about – the president did generically refer to an act of terror the day after. We are correcting – Candy corrected Governor Romney on the spot. And so we are having a question. What did Governor Romney say as opposed to what did the administration do. So Governor Romney’s choice of words there was a poor one. So he’s being fact checked, and that takes something away from him. I would make this argument. This is going to be done in studios like this in Washington and New York and we’re going to talk about it. Our undecided voters out there in the country and lots of undecided voters in the battleground states that are going to make their decisions based on what happened in Libya or based on who they think is going to have a better economic plan. I vote the latter.” CNN’s ANDERSON COOPER: “I totally agree. I mean this is a murky situation. I think Candy had it right. Romney clearly got it wrong. On one fact, but there’s a bigger story. Surely we’re not going to spend a lot of time on trying to start or litigate. “Let’s bring in Candy, though. Candy, because this was a moment which obviously now both campaigns are going to be focusing on. Tell us your thoughts during that moment.” CNN’s CANDY CROWLEY: “Well, you know, again, I heard the president’s speech at the time. I sort of re-read a lot of stuff about Libya, because I knew we’d probably get a Libya question, so I kind of wanted to be up on it. So I knew that the president had said, you know, ‘these acts of terror won’t stand’ or whatever the whole quote was. And I think actually, because right after that, I did turn around and say but you are totally correct that they spent two weeks telling us that this was about a tape and that there was this riot outside the Benghazi consulate, which there wasn’t. So he was right in the main, I just think he picked the wrong word. They’re going to parse and we all know what the definition of ‘is’ is, but, you know, in the end, I think John’s probably right.” (CNN’s “Debate Night In America,” 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: NBC’s Chuck Todd: “I Think That The Increased Coverage Of It Will Still Cause Questions, Right, The President Didn’t Answer Why Was The Film Being Used To Still , As Part Of The Blame Of What Happened In Benghazi.” NBC’s CHUCK TODD: “There is some perverse good news for Romney on this Libya topic. I think that the increased coverage of it will still cause questions, right, the president didn’t answer why was the film being used to still, as part of the blame of what happened in Benghazi, number one, and number two, guess what, the third debate is foreign policy. Romney has an opportunity to clean up, frankly, his mess, in the next debate since that’s the topic area and my guess is we know what the first 15 minutes of the next debate is going to be. It’s going to be on a back-and-forth on Libya.” (PBS, 10/16/12)

LIE #2: OBAMA DISTORTED ROMNEY’S POSITION ON THE AUTO BAILOUTS

THE CLAIM: Obama Attacks Romney Saying His Bankruptcy For Detroit Would Not Have Worked. OBAMA: “Candy, what Governor Romney said just isn’t true. You wanted to take them into bankruptcy without providing them any way to stay open. We would have lost a million jobs. Take the executives at GM and Chrysler, some of whom are republicans. They may even support Governor Romney. They will tell you that would not have worked.” (President Barack Obama, Presidential Debate, Hempstead, N.Y., 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: “Romney Called For A Managed Bankruptcy,” And “GM And Chrysler Did Go Through A Managed Bankruptcy.” “Although ‘bankrupt’ often conjures up images of liquidation, Romney 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: Letting Detroit Go Bankrupt,” The Washington Post’s Fact Check, 10/16/12)

LIE #3: OBAMA RESURFACED FAUX WAR SAVINGS LIES

THE CLAIM: Obama Said “Let’s Take The Money That We’ve Been Spending On War Over The Last Decade To Rebuild America, Roads, Bridges, Schools.” OBAMA: “Let’s take the money that we’ve been spending on war over the last decade to rebuild America, roads, bridges, schools. We do those things, not only is your future going to be bright, but America’s future is going to be bright as well.” (President Barack Obama, Presidential Debate, Hempstead, N.Y., 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: Using Money That Had Been Earmarked For Wars To Build Schools And Infrastructure Would Involve Even More Borrowing, Adding To The Federal Deficit.” “What Obama didn’t mention is that much of the money that has been paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was borrowed. In fact, the government borrows nearly 40 cents for every dollar it spends. Thus using money that had been earmarked for wars to build schools and infrastructure would involve even more borrowing, adding to the federal deficit.” (Calvin Woodward, “FACT CHECK: Stumbles In Latest Presidential Debate,” The Associated Press, 10/16/12)

LIE #4: OBAMA LIED ABOUT ENERGY PRODUCTION ON HIS WATCH

THE CLAIM: Obama Touts The Highest Levels Of Energy Production From Oil And Gas In Years. OBAMA: “The most important thing we can do is to make sure we control our own energy. Here is what I have done since I was president, we have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it has been in decades. (President Barack Obama, Presidential Debate, Hempstead, N.Y., 10/16/12)

  • THE CLAIM: Obama Refuted The Claim That He Has Halved The Number Of Gas And Oil Permits On Federal Lands And Waters. ROMNEY: “As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production is down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands and in federal waters.” OBAMA: “Candy, there’s no doubt that world demand’s gone up. But our production is going up, and we’re using oil more efficiently. And very little of what Governor Romney just said is true. We’ve opened up public lands. We’re actually drilling more on public lands than in the previous administration.” (President Barack Obama, Presidential Debate, Hempstead, NY, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: Contrary To President Obama’s Assertions, “Production Of Oil On Public Land Is Down 14 Percent And Production Of Gas On Public Land Is Down 9 Percent.” “Is Gov. Mitt Romney telling the truth when he says oil and gas production is down on public land? Contrary to President Obama’s assertions, Romney’s telling the truth when he says, ‘Production of oil on public land is down 14 percent and production of gas on public land is down 9 percent.’ That’s because energy production on federal lands is down compared to 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration.” (Juliet Eilperin, “The Truth About Oil And Gas Production On Public Land,” The Washington Post’ s Fact Check, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: ABC’s Jonathan Karl: “It Is True That Those Drilling Leases And Permits Are Down Under President Obama.” ABC’s JOHNATHAN KARL: “But on this issue of oil and gas drilling, Governor Romney said that oil and gas drilling is down by 50% on public lands. That is not exactly true but it’s not far off. In fact, we looked at the numbers and oil drilling permits on public land dropped by 37% in the first two years of the Obama administration, 42% in terms of leases for natural gas. So the numbers weren’t exactly right, but it is true that those drilling leases and permits are down under President Obama.” (ABC’s Presidential Debate Coverage, 10/16/12)

LIE #5: OBAMA LIED ABOUT MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUTS

THE CLAIM: Obama Said He Had Kept His Promise To Cut Taxes For Middle Class Families, And Had Cut Them By $3,600. OBAMA: “I said I would cut taxes for middle-class families. That is what I have done. By $3,600.” (President Barack Obama, Presidential Debate, Hempstead, NY, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: Obama “Makes It Sound Like It Is One Big Tax Cut. The $3,600 Figure Is Over Four Years.” “But he makes it sound like it is one big tax cut. The $3,600 figure is over four years – $800 in each of 2009 and 2010 due to the Making Work Pay tax credit and $1,000 in each of 2011 and 2012 due to a Social Security payroll tax cut.” (Glenn Kessler, “Fact Check: Obama’s $3,600 Tax Credit,” The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: “The Making Work Pay Tax Credit Has Expired And Obama Has Not Promised To Extend The Payroll Tax Cut, Meaning That People’s Taxes Will Go Up Next Year.” “Obama makes it sounds as though workers got a $3,600 cut every year. But the Making Work Pay tax credit has expired and Obama has not promised to extend the payroll tax cut, meaning that people’s taxes will go up next year even if he succeeds in his effort to extend Bush-era tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000 a year.” (Glenn Kessler, “Fact Check: Obama’s $3,600 Tax Credit,” The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker, 10/16/12)

LIE #6: OBAMA CLAIMED GOVERNOR ROMNEY INVESTED IN COMPANIES THAT WERE PIONEERS OF OUTSOURCING

THE CLAIM: Obama: “Romney Invested In Companies That Were Pioneers Of Outsourcing.” OBAMA: “But when Governor Romney says that he has very different economic plan, the centerpiece of his economic plan are tax cuts. That’s what took us from surplus to deficit. When he talks about getting tough on China, keep in mind that Governor Romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing to China and is currently investing in countries — in — in companies that are building surveillance equipment for China to spy on its own folks.” (President Barack Obama, Presidential Debate, Hempstead, N.Y., 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: “Here, Obama Is Referencing An Article In The Washington Post That Has Been Frequently Exploited By His Campaign.” “Here, Obama is referencing an article in The Washington Post that has been frequently exploited by his campaign. The article used the word ‘pioneers’ but it does not say that transfers of U.S. jobs took place while Romney ran the private equity firm Bain Capital.” (Glenn Kessler, “Fact Check: Pioneers Of Outsourcing,” The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: “One Of The President’s Campaign Ads Attacking Romney On Outsourcing Earned Four Pinocchios.” (Glenn Kessler, “Fact Check: Pioneers Of Outsourcing,” The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: Obama “Has Not Been Able To Fulfill Many Of His Campaign Promises In 2008 To Stem The Outflow Of American Jobs To Other Countries.” “Obama never mentions another Washington Post article, one that detailed how he has not been able to fulfill many of his campaign promises in 2008 to stem the outflow of American jobs to other countries.” (Glenn Kessler, “Fact Check: Pioneers Of Outsourcing,” The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker, 10/16/12)

LIE #7: OBAMA CLAIMED HE CAN CUT THE DEFICIT BY HIKING TAXES ON THE WEALTHY

THE CLAIM: Obama Claimed That “We’ve Got To Make Sure That The Wealthy Do A Little Bit More” To Make Sure We Are Serious About Reducing The Deficit. OBAMA: “But what I’ve also said is if we’re serious about reducing the deficit, if this is genuinely a moral obligation to the next generation, then in addition to some tough spending cuts, we’ve also got to make sure that the wealthy do a little bit more.” (President Barack Obama, Presidential Debate, Hempstead, N.Y., 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: CNN’s Tom Foreman: The White House Tax Plan Is “A Level They Are Not Willing To Talk About.” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: What about President Obama’s plan? Does it hold up to scrutiny, Tom, any better than Mitt Romney’s plan? FOREMAN: Well, let’s look at that. He has the same thing. He’s got a plan of spending, things that he would like to do. He would like to have all of this money to cover it; he won’t. He’ll also have a deficit. How does he want to deal with it? He said it again tonight. Let’s tax the wealthy more. This is a popular idea in polls, but look at the problem that it has. There aren’t that many wealthy people in the country if you talk about people making $250,000 individually, every one person that makes that much money, this is how many there are who don’t make that much. You would actually have to tax this person at a much higher level than what the White House is suggesting if you really wanted to make up much difference in this pile over here. The truth is, that’s a level they are not willing to talk about, and the president said the math doesn’t add up in Mitt Romney’s plan; the math doesn’t add up in either one of the plans based on the details we have so far. We need many, many more. So this basic claim from both sides, I can reduce the deficit, we’re going to give a big grade of “I” for incomplete. Neither one has given enough answers to give us much faith in that, Wolf.”(CNN’s “Debate Night In America,” 10/16/12)

LIE #8: OBAMA CLAIMED HE CUT BUSINESS TAXES 18 TIMES

THE CLAIM: Obama Claimed He Cut Small Business Taxes Eighteen Times. OBAMA: “My philosophy on taxes has been simple, and that is, I want to give middle-class families, and folks who are striving to get in the middle class, some relief, because they have been hit hard over the last decade, over the last 15, over the last 20 years. So four years ago I stood on a stage just like this one — actually, it was a town hall — and I said I would cut taxes for middle-class families, and that’s what I’ve done by $3,600. I said I would cut taxes for small businesses, who are the drivers and engines of growth, and we’ve cut them 18 times. And I want to continue those tax cuts for middle-class families and for small businesses.” (President Barack Obama, Presidential Debate, Hempstead, N.Y., 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: Many Of Obama’s Oft-Repeated 18 Small Business Tax Cuts Are Simply “Renewals Of Tax Breaks That Already Existed.” President Obama often touts his 18 small business tax cuts, but there’s some confusion as to what they really are. Many are renewals of tax breaks that already existed.” (John Pagliery, “Obama’s 18 Small Business Tax Cuts – Explained,” CNN Money, 9/24/12)

  • “Others Are Expansions Of Previous Breaks. And Every Time A Measure Gets Renewed, The Obama Administration Is Counting It As Yet Another Tax Cut.” (John Pagliery, “Obama’s 18 Small Business Tax Cuts – Explained,” CNN Money, 9/24/12)

THE FACTS: “If Extensions Or Expansions Aren’t Double Counted, The List Comes Out To 14 Tax Breaks — And Only Five Are Still Around.” (John Pagliery, “Obama’s 18 Small Business Tax Cuts – Explained,” CNN Money, 9/24/12)

  • “When It Comes To Job Creation, They Don’t Add Up To Much.” “President Obama has passed 17 tax breaks and credits for small businesses. But when it comes to job creation, they don’t add up to much.” (Catherine Clifford, “Obama’s 17 Tax Breaks For Small Business: Big Whoop!,” CNN Money, 9/8/11)
  • “The Scope Of The Tax Breaks And Credits Is Too Narrow, The Requirements Too Specific, And — In Some Cases — The Process Too Onerous To Get Firms Off The Sidelines And Onto The Hiring Battlefield.” (Catherine Clifford, “Obama’s 17 Tax Breaks For Small Business: Big Whoop!,” CNN Money, 9/8/11)