Let’s FACT CHECK the fact checker…
This concerns a story released shortly after the debate. – By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer:
The story- WASHINGTON – Republican Sarah Palin criticized a version of a Barack Obama health care plan that doesn’t exist and Democrat Joe Biden clung to a misleading charge about Republicans and big oil when the two clashed in the vice presidential debate Thursday.
*Did she? Did he? LETS CHECK THE CHECKER
PALIN: Said of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama: “94 times he voted to increase taxes or not support a tax reduction.”
THE FACTS: The dubious count includes repetitive votes as well as votes to cut taxes for the middle class while raising them on the rich. An analysis by factcheck.org found that 23 of the votes were for measures that would have produced no tax increase at all, seven were in favor of measures that would have lowered taxes for many, 11 would have increased taxes on only those making more than $1 million a year.
*CHECK THE CHECKER: Dubious is the best they can come up with – no “bad facts” here, just parsing words by the “checker”. She said “to increase taxes or not support”. Nowhere do they said this number is incorrect.
BIDEN: Complained about “economic policies of the last eight years” that led to “excessive deregulation.”
THE FACTS: Biden voted for 1999 deregulation that liberal groups are blaming for part of the financial crisis today. The law allowed Wall Street investment banks to create the kind of mortgage-related securities at the core of the problem now. The law was widely backed by Republicans as well as by Democratic President Clinton, who argues it has stopped the crisis today from being worse.
*CHECK THE CHECKER: Right for the most part. The programs and policies that lead to today’s financial problems go back much further than eight years, and rest solely on the democrats.
PALIN: Criticized Obama’s “plan to mandate health care coverage and have universal government run program” for health care, and added: “I don’t think it’s going to be real pleasing for Americans to consider health care being taken over by the Feds.”
THE FACTS: Wrong on several counts. Obama’s plan does not provide for universal coverage, only mandates insurance for children and doesn’t turn the system over to the government. Most people would still get private insurance through their work. Obama proposes that the government subsidize the cost of health coverage for millions who have trouble affording it and he’d set up an exchange to negotiate prices and benefits with private insurers — with one option being a government-run plan.
*CHECKING THE CHECKER: No several counts wrong here. “Universal Healthcare” is a term the democrats have used themselves for several years, though it has never been ‘universal’. The whole plan is more government control of healthcare, and would mandate the scope and amount of coverage for millions.
BIDEN: Warned that Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s $5,000 tax credit to help families buy health coverage “will go straight to the insurance company.”
THE FACTS: Of course it would, because it’s meant to pay for insurance. That’s like saying money for a car loan will go straight to the car dealer.
*CHECK THE CHECKER: Got this one pretty much right.
PALIN: “Two years ago, remember, it was John McCain who pushed so hard 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.
*CHECKING THE CHECKER: Palin is correct. Here is just one small part of the proof:
FEDERAL HOUSING ENTERPRISE REGULATORY REFORM ACT OF 2005 — (Senate – May 25, 2006)[Page: S5217]
Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.
The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.
The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.
For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.
I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.
I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation.
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.
*CHECK THE CHECKER: True. The democrats often misrepresent what things are, how they work, and what they actually do.
PALIN: Said the United States 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.
*CHECK THE CHECKER: True… and possibly not so true. Troop levels were reported by some commentators last night as being at 142,000, which is still a few thousand above pre-surge levels. In checking various websites this morning I saw levels ranging from 132,000 up with the 152,000 being total coalition numbers.
BIDEN: “As a matter of fact, John recently wrote an article in a major magazine saying that he wants to do for the health care 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.”
*CHECKING THE CHECKER: True. Once again, the democrats often misrepresent what things are, how they work, and what they actually do.
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.”
*CHECKING THE CHECKER: Palin is CORRECT. Agreements have been signed starting the process to build the pipeline. No untruths here.
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 vote she’s referring to, John McCain voted the exact same way.”
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 proposing tax increases only on the wealthy, and would cut taxes for most others. In the March 14 budget resolution supported by Obama and Biden, McCain actually did not vote.
*CHECKING THE CHECKER: Palin is correct, Biden is not, the CHECKER got this one right.
PALIN: Said a McCain-Palin administration “will support Israel,” including “building our embassy … in Jerusalem.”
THE FACTS: Moving the U.S. Embassy from its present location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a perennial promise of presidential candidates courting the Jewish-American vote. In fact, moving the embassy is actually required by U.S. law. But successive administrations of both parties, including George W. Bush’s, have made the same pledge only to find that the realities of Middle East peacemaking have forced them to invoke a waiver to delay it. Jerusalem is claimed as a capital by both Israel and the Palestinians and Israel’s occupation of east Jerusalem is not internationally recognized. The city’s status is one of the key issues of disagreement in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
*CHECKING THE CHECKER: Nothing in Palin’s statement is untrue, and the CHECKER actually never disputes it, only giving some history behind our countries past relations within the issue, so why was it included here? Maybe they just need one more something on Sarah Palin.
Associated Press writers Tom Raum, Steve Quinn, Jim Kuhnhenn, Lolita Baldor and Matthew Lee contributed to this report.
And now so has Big Al.