Fact-Checking The Debate
The Associated Press set straight some of the claims in Saturday night’s debate:
When Michele Bachmann accused Newt Gingrich in the latest Republican debate of once supporting a cap-and-trade program to curb global warming, he huffily denied it and told her she should get her facts straight.
Actually, she did.
As recently as 2007, Gingrich “strongly supported” the idea.
Some other misstatements:
ROMNEY: “Let’s not forget, only one president has ever cut Medicare for seniors in this country and it’s Barack Obama. We’re going to remind him of that time and time again.”
THE FACTS: Obama is at least the third president to sign cuts in Medicare that were passed by Congress.
The 1990 budget law signed by Republican President George H.W. Bush raised premiums paid by Medicare beneficiaries and cut payments to hospitals, doctors and other providers…
Obama is cutting about 6 percent of spending from Medicare over 10 years. Clinton and a Republican Congress came up with cuts of 12 percent…
PERRY: “I’m listening to you, Mitt, and I’m hearing you say all the right things. But I read your first book, and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts – which should be the model for the country – and I know it came out of the reprint of the book, but, you know, I’m just saying, you were for individual mandates, my friend.”
THE FACTS: At issue is a modification Romney made to his 2010 book, “No Apology,” when it came out in paperback this year…
There is little question Romney altered the words to dissociate himself more clearly from Obama’s plan. But the book and its excised passage did not call for Romney’s plan to go national. At most, it held out the Massachusetts plan as a possible model for some states, not the federal government, while emphasizing that states should find their own solutions.
(Romney did say, in 2007, that his plan would be “a model for the nation.”)
GINGRICH: “In 1993, in fighting Hillarycare, virtually every conservative saw the mandate as a less dangerous future than what Hillary was trying to do. … After Hillarycare disappeared, it became more and more obvious that mandates have all sorts of problems built into them. People gradually tried to find other techniques. I, frankly, was floundering, trying to find a way to make sure that people who could afford it were paying their hospital bills, while still leaving it out for libertarians to not buy insurance. And that’s what we were wrestling with. It’s now clear that the mandate, I think, is clearly unconstitutional.”
THE FACTS: Gingrich is right that some conservatives, himself included, once supported the idea of requiring everyone to have health insurance, and that they held this view when Hillary Rodham Clinton was leading the White House effort to overhaul the health care system even more broadly.
But his suggestion that he dropped the idea after the Clinton health care overhaul failed is misleading. In recent years, including in his 2008 book, Gingrich endorsed the idea of making people buy health insurance or posting a bond if they wanted to go without coverage, and he contended this year that “all of us have a responsibility to help pay for health care.”…
ROMNEY: “One, make sure that our employer tax rates are competitive with other nations. They’re not now. We’re the highest in the world.”
THE FACTS: Japan’s corporate tax rate is the highest in the world. The U.S. top rate of 35 percent would be second, except that few companies pay the full rate because of a variety of loopholes and tax breaks not available in many other countries…
GINGRICH: “It starts very simply, taxes – lower taxes, less regulation…The opposite of the Obama plan, which is higher taxes, more regulation…
THE FACTS:…On taxes, the record is more complex than Gingrich suggests in asserting that Obama plots merely to raise them. He is not the only GOP candidate to ignore the hefty tax cuts that Obama has pushed for and achieved, as well as some tax increases.
Overall, as a share of the nation’s economy, federal tax revenues are the lowest they’ve been since 1950.
For the third straight year, U.S. families will pay less in federal taxes than they did under Bush. Much of this is due both to recent tax breaks and the weak economy. Obama has called for extending Bush-era tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans, and for extending and expanding the 2011 tax cut in the federal payroll tax, which finances Social Security and Medicare.Click here for reuse options!
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