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

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FactCheck: VP Debate Violations

Friday, Oct 12, 2012  |  Updated 10:44 PM CDT
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It was no surprise that the candidates didn't always stick to the facts at the vice presidential debate, according to FactCheck.org.

Omar Villafranca, NBC 5 News & FactCheck.org

It was no surprise that the candidates didn't always stick to the facts at the vice presidential debate, according to FactCheck.org.

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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.


Fireworks were flying Thursday as Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Rep. Paul Ryan faced off in their one and only debate before the November election.

And, no surprise, the candidates didn't always stick to the facts.

First, there was this exchange on the nation's jobless rate:

Ryan: Joe and I are from similar towns. He's from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I'm from Janesville, Wisconsin. You know what the unemployment rate in Scranton is today?

Biden: I sure do.

Ryan: It's 10 percent.

Biden: Yeah.

Ryan: You know what it was the day you guys came in -- 8.5 percent.

Biden: Yeah.

Ryan: That's how it's going all around America. Look...

Biden: You don't read the statistics. That's not how it's going. It's going down.

FactCheck.org says this was misleading since the unemployment rate in our nation is 7.8 percent. That's exactly where it was when President Barack Obama took office.

“What Ryan did was he cherry-picked once city -- Scranton -- where Biden is from, where unemployment has gone from 8.5 percent to 10 percent," said FactCheck.org Deputy Director Robert Farley. "However, he also talked about his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. And there, the unemployment has actually come down more than 4 percentage points during Obama’s presidency."

Next up, Ryan on the Obama tax plan:

"The average tax rate on businesses in the industrialized world is 25 percent, and the president wants the top effective tax rate on successful small businesses to go above 40 percent. Two-thirds of our jobs come from small businesses. This one tax would actually tax about 53 percent of small-business income."

Farley weighs in.

“That 53 percent includes a lot of businesses that people would not consider small businesses," Farley said. "Biden was correct that it could include hedge funds that actually pull in 100s of millions of dollars a year."

On the topic of embassy security, Biden talks about how the House Republicans cut funding.

Biden said: "The congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for.”

FactCheck found this number a bit inflated. The figure is closer to $264 million. And that included money for building and maintenance, not just security.

Finally, Biden quotes Gov. Mitt Romney prior to the death of Osama bin Laden: "Governor Romney was asked the question about how he would proceed. He said, 'I wouldn't move heaven and earth to get bin Laden.' "

“This comes from a quote that Romney gave back in 2007," Farley said. "And there was more to it. He talked about not going just after Bin Laden, but going after the entire network of jihadist terrorists."

So there was no shortage of misleading and exaggerated claims in this latest debate.

For more factchecking of the vice presidential debate, click here.

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