2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

Complete coverage of the 2012 election

FactCheck: False Debate Claims

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    NEWSLETTERS

    FactCheck.org takes a look at exaggerations and false claims in the first presidential debate. (Published Thursday, Oct 4, 2012)

    This report is based on work by our partners at FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan project of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.


    Millions watch the first presidential debate Thursday night as President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney talked about how they could improve health care and the economy.

    But FactCheck.org found that both sides were guilty of exaggeration and false claims and that there were many repeated claims that stretched the truth.

    Obama's take on Romney's tax plan: “And this is where there's a difference, because Governor Romney's central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut.”

    “When President Obama says that Governor Romney is going to provide a $5 trillion tax cut, he’s really only telling half the story," said FactCheck.org Deputy Director Rob Farley. "Governor Romney proposes a 20 percent across the board income tax cut and to abolish the state taxes.”

    But Romney still hasn't described in detail how he's going to accomplish his revenue-neutral plan without raising taxes on the middle class or without increasing the deficit.

    Obama's claim that he'd only raise taxes on upper income people to where they were under Bill Clinton: "But I have said that for incomes over $250,000 a year, that we should go back to the rates that we had when Bill Clinton was president.”

    Farley said: “What President Obama is leaving out there is there are new taxes in the healthcare law specifically that would target high-income earners. So in fact, they would be paying a higher rate than they did under President Clinton.”

    Romney on the deficit under the Obama administration: “The president said he'd cut the deficit in half. Unfortunately, he doubled it.”

    Farley said: "When Romney accuses the president of doubling the deficit, he’s stretching the truth a bit. Obama inherited a $1.2 trillion deficit when he came into office. Now, the president increased that to a $1.4 trillion deficit. So he hasn’t doubled it.”

    These were just a few of the misleading claims flagged by FactCheck.org. And they may have sounded familiar.

    “As fact checkers, we’ve heard these claims over and over again," Farley said. "So there wasn’t a whole lot new in last night’s debate. And we’re hearing these things over and over again in speeches and in ads.”

    So don't be surprised when you hear similar claims in the remaining debates.

    For more on the claims made during the first presidential debate, click here.