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Politifact-Checking the First Debate

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Bill Adair, founder and editor of PolitiFact, provides a fact check of the first Obama-Romney debate, from claims about Romney's tax plan to Obama's health care proposal.

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Comments [46]

GBS from Oceanport, NJ

I think that Obama won because he was much for realistic and had the facts. Also, as soon as Romney said that he would fire Big Bird made him look ridiculous to me.

Oct. 04 2012 11:56 AM

Joseph from Manhattan
"just a proposal." yes, both sides are proposing. i'm glad that's cleared up.

Oct. 04 2012 11:52 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ Calls'em -

Funny, I disagree with your statement that Obama's "record is one of failure," since there are accomplishments like avoiding a Depression, the ACA, etc. Certainly I would have liked a more progressive, less corporatist/status quo agenda after the worst economic/financial crisis in 50 years - brought on by both Democratic and Republican party policies that have promoted a Neoliberal trickle-down, supply-side economic agenda - yet we are still mired in the muck of old ideas from both parties in the face of the new, concrete socio-political reality of our globalized world.

Of course, you are known to be one-sided with your facts, while clinging tightly to rightwing ideology. Bully for you!

Oct. 04 2012 11:32 AM
SALLY MORROW from Ottawa Canada

Ann Romney in her interview before the debate and while being shown during the introduction of the candidates really turned me off. She can't help it, I guess. but her every movement and expression led me to believe she sees herself as the First Lady and is mentally redecorating the White House. Both she and Mitt give the impression it is not just their hope and wish but their right. Not much has ever been refused this couple.

Oct. 04 2012 11:26 AM
Amy from Manhattan

It's not so much that Mitt Romney was engaging in circular reasoning as that he wants us to believe his budget will work because he says so. And he does that a lot. He'll create 12 million jobs? How? We're just supposed to believe it because he says so. Payments in his Medicare plan won't keep up w/expected inflation of medical costs, but he "believes" other changes will make up for it (as he said a couple of days ago). So we're supposed to believe it because he says so, even though he doesn't give any basis for his statement.

Heh--& Brian just said Romney came across as believing what he was saying. I'm glad he had Politifact on to check whether we should believe it.

Oct. 04 2012 11:11 AM
The Truth from Becky

The "real" romney??? who is that exactly?? romney read it just as his handlers wrote it, he has been practicing for weeks..clearly he didn't get to use all of his prepared "zingers" and the ones he used are not memorable today.

He didn't fool me with his used car salesman style...when you say things like each state should handle "their poor" it is insensitive!

He is not a man of the people, but a man of the very rich who have NO patience for poverty!

OBAMA 2012

Oct. 04 2012 11:07 AM

I see a couple of people here asking "Does Obama want a second term?". I've asked myself the same question.

Honestly, from what I've heard and seen over the past four years, I think Barack does but I have a feeling that Michelle doesn't.

Oct. 04 2012 11:03 AM
Calls'em from McLean, VA

~~~ 0bama got beat. His eye was twitching, his face muscles flinching and at the end, he looked like he was going to cry. The real story is that people got to see Romney for the first time unfiltered by liars and shills in the media. They were shocked at how smart and nice he is. He is after all a Harvard MBA & JD. He has successfully worked with Dems as Gov of Mass, big businessmen & people from all over the world during the Olympics. Undecideds & moderates will be flocking to him in droves. 0bama's record is one of failure. 0bumer's fake issues of class & race baiting fell by the wayside. Even 0bamaCare which was instituted under the pretense of lowing health care costs has gone up from less than a trillion (a lie from the beginning) to $2.7 trillion. 0bama is bankrupting America to force it to socialism. The next debate will go worse for 0bama, because his foreign policy has been worse than domestic disaster. He ignored 13 requests for added security for our ambassador who was raped and murdered in Libya. He is going to lose in a landslide and America will be better for it. The liars in the media are on their last legs. Even MSNBC was back peddling yesterday and today and they are Barry's love slaves. Bye, bye Barry.

Oct. 04 2012 10:57 AM

@Ed...cant do write in here in Calif (don't ask!)...but will vote for Gary Johnson....the 2 major party sytem has failed us...Vanilla and French Vanilla

Oct. 04 2012 10:50 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

JoeCorrao, I expect you to write-in vote for your man, the guy who played as one of the backwoodsmen in "Deliverance" who attacked the character played by Ned Beatty, Ron Paul.

Oct. 04 2012 10:46 AM

They both have unverifable "facts"...its all smoke and mirrors...was anyone more vague than Obama 2008? Now we have NDAA, drone attacks gone wild, police state, tsa madness...

Oct. 04 2012 10:43 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Obama was ill. A cold, GI distress. Whatever. He didn't look well or perform well.

When a person is ill, they aren't at the top of their game.

Bottom line, Romney clearly won against a subdued opponent.

Oct. 04 2012 10:42 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Obama got 4 minutes more talk time at the debate than Romney.

What happened to the Green/Yellow/Red lights to let the debators know how much time they have left?

Stick to the ground rules.

Oct. 04 2012 10:36 AM
Jo from Jersey from NJ

What Danny said is really scary! So the Republican tactic is to LIE knowing that people do not pay attention after the debate and turn their attention to football..that is some Leader and party.

Oct. 04 2012 10:36 AM
Whittey from brooklyn

As a white man, I agree with your white caller from Brooklyn.

Romney represents me,

I'd just like to ask the Koch Pronounced (C'ock)Brothers to put a little more money onto poll taxes and suppress the non white vote.

Oct. 04 2012 10:36 AM
Joseph from Manhattan

@hjs
The gop doesnt have a budget, just a proposal. Tt may or may not pass or happen, it is an idea. We need to take a tougher look at the incumbent as well. We can talk about the potential for 5 trillion of deficits over ten years, but we know based on budget office projections that we WILL have 5 trillion of more debt in the next 4 years under Obama. We know that we cannot ignore medicare or it will collapse, so what else is Obama going to cut? nothing but silence here. I could go on, but you get the point.

Oct. 04 2012 10:35 AM
L.C. from Brooklyn Hts.

I think Obama threw the first debate on the advise of his handlers. He was so reluctant to engage that I was reminded of Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando in "On the Waterfront." "Not my night? " Let's hope the advisors
unleash his inner Rocky Balboa on the next few debates.

Oct. 04 2012 10:34 AM
MikeInBrklun from Clinton Hill

I too thought it was a draw. Though, it was perplexing that Obama never fought to discredit Romney's questionable assertions.

To a degree to me, the debate format might have gotten in the way. I think there were many moment Obama was going to address Romney's claims but was force to pivot to another issue by Lehrer -- who, by the way, I thought did a terrible job. Quite frankly, I have never like Lehrer as a debate moderator.

Obama's dislike for Romney was also shining through a bit.

Oct. 04 2012 10:31 AM

Lin from nyc
“750 # taken out of Medicare” in the democratic budget it’s moved to preventive healthcare and prescriptions. In the GOP budget it’s just a cut.

Oct. 04 2012 10:30 AM
Phyllis from Brooklyn

My husband and I felt as thought we were in an alternate universe!
I thought Romney was the empty suit he always is and that the prez was thoughtful and articulate.
We watched the debate and thought Obama was clear and calm. That's who he is.

MSNBC has some of the smartest and most articulate news hosts on television, but they eviscerated the president immediately after the debate!
They came down on the president like a ton of bricks. We were stunned!

The MSNBC hosts all have hours and hours of programming to delve into issues with great focus.
This was a 90 minute debate moderated by someone. There just wasn't the time or opportunity to be as expansive as they would like.
I think they should all watch it again.
No, he couldn't say everything they would have wanted him to say, but he was very good...and Romney came off as a phony and a liar. Really.

Oct. 04 2012 10:28 AM
Bill from at his desk

When Romney cites the decline of middle-income (not "class") wages in the last four years, why didn't Obama pounce by pointing out that their declining wages are part of a 30 year trend under just the kind of policies Romney is advocating?

And isn't it significant that Romney has suddenly emerged as a liberal anti-federalist? Health care and regulations are great! Just let the states do them! If he could do that consistently and honestly, if anyone could, it seems to me that that could be a new, galvanizing political centrism.

Oct. 04 2012 10:28 AM
Eddie from nyc

Is it me or did Romney do another 180 on his position?

He seems to be getting pointer from his running mate Ryan, who exagerates misrepresents the facts and what happened.

Oct. 04 2012 10:26 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I actually felt bad for Obama.

I agree with Robert, Obama seemed to have given up, doesn't want the second term, and wants to go back to his wife and kids.

I also thought that Obama may have been ill. He wasn't up to his normal level.

Maybe Obama took a dive.

I can't wait for the Ryan/Biden debate. It's going to be a slaughter. Biden is the crazy uncle who everyone just shakes their head after hearing another crazy rant.

Oct. 04 2012 10:25 AM
LINDA H

I think Obama was rattled by Romney speaking directly at him. Usually the debaters direct their speech to the camera or moderator. Obama tried looking back at him but then had to acknowleadge the comments. Or if he looked down, he seemed detached.

Oct. 04 2012 10:25 AM
bbg from nyc

Romney did better because the President is over his head and can't work with others. Are the Republicans tough? Sure, but that doesn't give him a pass to excuse his failures on the other side or (yawn) the big mess he was handed. Buck up and do your job! Furthermore, could he please forgo all the messages to Michelle in public (pandering to the woman vote). Didn't they drive over together?

Oct. 04 2012 10:25 AM
Dan S from NJ

The 'debate' was a game of Three Card Romney, and the public is the mark.

Oct. 04 2012 10:24 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

Besides Romney being a better skilled, better prepared debater last night, it looks like his style over policy substance might change his campaign trajectory.

Here are some examples of Romney's lack of substance in misleading statements:

> About $5 billion in tax cuts without (ever) identifying the almost UNBELIEVABLE secret cuts (even with his recent $17k cap claim);
> claims of one-year $90 billion clean energy funding when it was around $30 billion over 3 years in the Stimulus;
> The repeated claims of oft-debunked "Death Panels";
> etc.

It's great to be Romney, running an admittedly fact-free, etch-a-sketch campaign of style over substance...plus amazing hair!

(Plenty more: http://www.npr.org/2012/10/04/162272404/npr-reporters-fact-check-denver-debate;
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/04/us/politics/a-closer-look-at-what-the-presidential-candidates-said-in-the-debate.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1349360332-/SP1FumBgVKbVodbfzfIxg)

Oct. 04 2012 10:22 AM

WNYC's partisanship is getting silly

Oct. 04 2012 10:21 AM

Perhaps Bill Adair can tell us what he thinks a _lie_ is, since Politifact steadfastly refuses to say that any candidate ever lies.

Oct. 04 2012 10:20 AM
The Truth from Becky

Day after the debate and my question to Gov romney is still "how"? I still have no idea "how" he plans to make all of the changes he proposes without spending new money or raising taxes?

Oct. 04 2012 10:17 AM

As usual, Politifact has almost as trouble with the truth as the politicians it claims to scrutinize.

It isn't irony that Romney and Ryan keep harping on a mythical $716 billion cut — it's _lying_.

And god knows, Republicans have never played on fear to win votes — no endless demonization of all Muslims and all Arabs everywhere.

Oct. 04 2012 10:17 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

The President's debate performance was fine. He did not need to hang Romney on every goofy thing he's said up to this point.

Romney's debate performance was stronger than I expected but he did lie at least once, "I would not put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit." What a whopper.

Romney: Passionate but not moving.

Obama: Practiced, polite and a little too blood-less. Needs to remember he is a candidate during these things.

Oct. 04 2012 10:15 AM
Ben from Westchester

Brian,

Your audience is being atypically naive here. Obama didn't "lose" the debate at all. That is just horse race pundit nonsense.

Obama's handlers clearly did some audience research and figured out that he would keep the female vote, or whichever demographic he is focused on, by not being confrontational.

So you didn't hear Obama talk about 47%, or about GM, because he is saving them for later. For now, he wanted to seem Presidential, not shrill, and let the fact-checkers take Romney down a notch this week. Plus Romney seemed like a good debater, but continued to mention no facts or figures.

That will become the meme over the week -- Romney is still giving no numbers, not releasing his taxes, not letting us know etc.

#listenerelite

Oct. 04 2012 10:14 AM
Seth Pickenstiff

Martin, how much of the deficeit will be balanced by cutting PBS?

Oct. 04 2012 10:13 AM
Deborah from NYC

They should have addressed the Alternative Miniumum Tax - residents of NY State and other "blue states" with high real estate taxes are unable to take deductions due to the AMT which falls mainly on the middle class!

Oct. 04 2012 10:13 AM
Wen from Manhattan

why do you guys give obama a pass on specifics? He still does not have a passable budget to show us. What we do know is even based on his current projections he will give us 5 trillion more in debt inhis last 4 years! Please analyze the person who is actually in control as well.

Oct. 04 2012 10:13 AM
Thomas Pinch

Romney just says whatever he wants, and doesn't have to worry if it doesn't all add up. And it doesn't. But the guy in office is held to a higher bar because his record is factual. Romney can't cut taxes, fund programs AND balance the budget. The math is just not there. But if you're presidency is a fantasy, you can say anything. And Romney did.

Oct. 04 2012 10:12 AM
Lin from nyc

I wanted President Obama to have explained the 750 # taken out of Medicare.
Is this correct? If so what does it affect?

Oct. 04 2012 10:11 AM

Jim Lehrer is NOT the problem

Oct. 04 2012 10:09 AM
Calls'em from McLean, VA

~~~ The real story is that people got to see Romney for the first time unfiltered by liars and shills in the media. They were shocked at how smart and nice he is. He is after all a Harvard MBA & JD. He has successfully worked with Dems as Gov of Mass, big businessmen & people from all over the world during the Olympics. Undecideds & moderates will be flocking to him in droves. 0bama's record is one of failure. 0bumer's fake issues of class & race baiting fell by the wayside. Even 0bamaCare which was instituted under the pretense of lowing health care costs has gone up from less than a trillion (a lie from the beginning) to $2.7 trillion. 0bama is bankrupting America to force it to socialism. The next debate will go worse for 0bama, because his foreign policy has been worse than domestic disaster. He ignored 13 requests for added security for our ambassador who was raped and murdered in Libya. He is going to lose in a landslide and America will be better for it. The liars in the media are on their last legs. Even MSNBC was back peddling yesterday and today and they are Barry's love slaves. Bye, bye Barry.

Oct. 04 2012 10:06 AM
ebun from Bk

This is frustrating. I don't understand why people keep saying we have "a stark contrast" between the candidates. In order to be able to contrast, you have to know what the other candidate stands for (Gov Romney is Liberal, Moderate and Conservative, the man has no core). I am a political junkie (left leaning, but MBA business owner so pragmatic) and found myself so annoyed at the lack of specifics from Gov Romney, the fuzzy math, aspirational statements masked as campaign promises and this silly notion that substance does not matter - If I can scream loud and appear confident, then I win, it does not matter that I just blew smoke for 90mins. Silly

Oct. 04 2012 09:59 AM
Robert from NYC

Actually the way to REALLY fact check is to read the actual words put out by the candidates and understand what they actually say.

Oct. 04 2012 09:17 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

“Fact Checking the Fact Checkers”

The Weekly Standard had a wonderful article last week (link below) on the on the blatant dishonesty and lack of integrity of “Politifact”. You’ll never accept it again in any way as an objective arbiter of the truth .....just another lapdog for Obama.

Brian ....please ask Adair about these doubts by critics concerning HIS “facts” in his so-called truth-o-meter.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/fact-checking-fact-checkers-cont_652907.html

Oct. 04 2012 09:05 AM
Robert from NYC

Fact check all you like, Obama looked bad.<PERIOD> Frankly, I've been asking myself for the past few weeks, "does Obama really want a second term?" I just have a strong feeling that he does not and is doing what he can to look like he wants one but somehow, maybe unconsciously maybe not, he doesn't really want a second term. Call be nuts, and you'd be right but somehow this is a strong feeling I have just by watching him. He seems to have just lost it.
Romney had it wrong for the most part but he looked and sounded good and that's what counts to these folks. It's ok, in the end they will pay if he wins. Y'all should have watched Democracy Now's expanded debate with the candidates from the Green and Justice parties. Amy interspersed the two other candidates within the regular debate. Well done Amy as always.

Oct. 04 2012 08:38 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Barry the Boy Wonder would have been better off sending in Clint Eastwood's empty chair for the evening.

Here's your guy, the Empty Suit, without a teleprompter......
the way Putin and Hu Jintao interact with him.....
and it's why they neither fear nor respect him.

Oct. 04 2012 08:34 AM
Joe from nearby

Next debate, Obama needs to open up a big can of whoopazz on that slick liar.

And Lehrer needs to retire.....soon.
Check out "Lehrer meme" on googleImages. Lol.

Oct. 04 2012 07:52 AM

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